2018 Kia Forte5 Review

Forte5

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2018 Kia Forte5 Overview

The Kia Forte5 is an affordable, well-equipped hatchback. After a comprehensive refresh last year that updated styling and mechanicals, Kia makes few changes to the 2018 model.

With its roof raked toward the back hatch, the Forte5 stands apart from its sedan brethren. The front features a larger grille, sculpted hood, and large projector headlights. The top-line SX adds new bumpers with sporty red accent trim and 18-inch alloy wheels. Kia retained changes made in the last model year’s refresh. Automotive writers have praised the Forte5 for having a solidly-built cabin with high-quality materials, well laid out dash, and adequate passenger space. Cargo capacity is average with 23.2 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 56.4 cubic feet when folded. The base LX comes with a 6-speaker audio system with Bluetooth connectivity. A 7-inch touchscreen with Kia’s UVO infotainment system is standard on the EX and SX, and optional for the LX.

Two engines are available for the Forte5. The LX and EX come with a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder with 164 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. A 6-speed automatic transmission is the only option for the 2.0-liter. The SX uses a turbocharged 1.6-liter 4-cylinder with 201 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. A 7-speed dual-clutch automatic is standard, while a 6-speed manual is an option. The 2.0-liter is adequate for around-town driving but labors when passing slower traffic. The turbo 1.6-liter delivers zippy acceleration that continues as speeds increase. For fuel economy, the 2.0-liter is rated by the EPA at 25 mpg city, 34 highway, and 28 combined. The turbo 1.6-liter returns fuel economy figures of 25, 30, and 27 for the dual-clutch and 23, 29, and 25 for the manual.

The Forte5’s firm ride is noticeable on rougher roads. Around corners, the Forte5 feels composed with body lean kept in check and steering responding quickly to inputs. Writers do wish the SX was sportier to match its aggressive exterior. Wind noise is kept to minimum levels, but a small amount of tire roar is noticeable.

Kia upgraded the Forte5’s safety credentials last year by adding blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and lane change assist as options for the EX and SX. All models come with a full set of airbags, traction and stability control, antilock brakes, and tire pressure monitoring. A reversing camera is standard on the EX and SX, and optional for the LX. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has tested the Forte5 in side crash and rollover tests only, where it earned 5-star and 4-star ratings respectively.

The 2018 Kia Forte5 begins at $18,300 for the base LX and climbs to $23,900 for the SX.

Updated

Ask William Maley how he started as an automotive writer and he would say he just fell into it. Based in Michigan, William has driven vehicles of all sizes and shapes. His work has appeared on Autobytel, CARFAX, Cheers & Gears, and U.S. News Best Cars.

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