2020 Kia Forte Review


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2020 Kia Forte Overview

Last year marked the debut of the third-generation Kia Forte, which offered enhanced levels of visual and mechanical refinement. For 2020, Kia introduces a set of performance trims.

Inside and out, the Forte is simple with sporty design elements. This two-row sedan has room for five people and 15.3 cubic feet of cargo room, which is among the best in the segment; the optional 60/40 split-folding backseat lets you expand that space even further.

The base engine for the 2020 Forte is a 2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder engine, making 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque. It pairs to a standard 6-speed manual transmission or optional continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). But the big news is the return of the old Forte SX’s powertrain, in the form of a turbocharged 1.6-liter inline 4-cylinder engine making a much healthier 201 hp and 195 lb-ft. You can choose from a 6-speed manual transmission or a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (DCT). Units equipped with the latter engine also get a unique exhaust system, larger front disc brakes, and enhanced tuning. All Forte trims are front-wheel drive (FWD). Fuel-economy figures for the 2020 Forte aren’t yet available.

The FE, LXS, S, and EX trims all return for 2020. Standard features on the base FE trim include projector-beam automatic headlights, an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth, steering-wheel-mounted audio and phone controls, and dual-zone automatic temperature control. The LXS trim comes standard with the CVT and adds 16-inch alloy wheels, a 60/40 split-folding rear seat, black bumper accents, and a drive-mode selector. Opt for the S, and you’ll get 17-inch alloy wheels, front fog lights, LED daytime-running lights and taillights, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, voice recognition, and satellite radio. The EX bundles a 10-way power driver’s seat, keyless access and start, leatherette upholstery, and USB charging ports. There’s also a GT Line trim with cosmetic enhancements: gloss black for the grille, mirrors, rocker panels, red exterior accents, and a spoiler. Inside, you’ll find aluminum sport pedals, a flat-bottom steering wheel, and sporty seats with aggressive bolstering and contrast stitching.

Meanwhile, the GT trim gets you not only the GT Line looks, but the turbocharged engine. From there, Kia lets you enhance the car’s interior with the GT1 and GT2 packages. The GT1 package tacks on LED interior lighting, a power sunroof, wireless charging, a 320-watt Harman Kardon audio system, and a 4.2-inch color instrument panel LCD. Meanwhile, the GT2 package comes with heated and cooled Sofino GT sport seats and 10-way power adjustment for the driver’s seat.

In the way of safety, every Forte comes standard with a reversing camera with forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and lane-keeping assist. Automatic high-beams, pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and adaptive cruise control are all extra-cost features. Neither the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) nor the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has evaluated the 2020 Forte for crash safety, however the 2019 Forte received a Top Safety Pick+ rating from IIHS.

The 2020 Kia Forte continues to pair understated styling with competitive features. The addition of the new GT trim is just icing on the cake. Look for official pricing closer to mid-2019, when the 2020 models will hit dealerships.


Kyree is new to the automotive journalism scene, but has voiced snarky public opinions about cars for quite some time. When he's not drooling over the latest European luxury sled, he's designing web experiences or writing backend code.

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