- Completely redesigned last year, with two new engines and new styling
- Up to 37 mpg on the highway
- Also available as a hatchback or a coupe (coupe covered separately)
After undergoing a complete redesign last year that delivered new styling and a new engine, the 2015 Kia Forte marches on into the new model year virtually unchanged.
The versatile Forte is offered in three bodystyles: sedan, hatchback, and coupe. The sedan and hatchback are covered here, while the coupe is sold as the Forte Koup and is covered separately on this site. Last year’s exterior updates completely changed the character of the Forte, transforming it from a blocky, anonymous compact into something sleeker and more in line with the styling found across Kia’s lineup. The front is highlighted by Kia’s signature pinched grille, flanked by large headlight clusters that sweep back over part of the front fenders. LED daytime running lights for added flair are optional, as is a power sunroof and, surprisingly, puddle lamps mounted on the underside of each side mirror.
The redesign also two new engines including a new base engine found in LX models. The 1.8-liter four-cylinder is good for 145-hp and is mated to a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. EX models feature a 173-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder that features direct injection and is only offered with the automatic. The Forte5 hatchback is only offered in EX and SX trims, with the SX getting the second new engine from last year’s redesign, a 201-hp, turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder with the same transmission options as the LX.
Inside, the Forte’s new interior design took a page from the Optima with a driver-centric dashboard that includes a center console that is slight canted towards the driver, making controls easier to read and reach. Standard interior features include Bluetooth connectivity, USB port, air conditioning, steering wheel audio controls, and power windows and locks are standard, a good amount of kit for a car that starts at under $16,000. The EX trim adds upgraded seat cloth, a leather wrapped steering wheel, cooled glove box, and remote keyless entry. Optional are Kia’s UVO infotainment system with an LCD display for the audio system, a voice-command navigation system which also adds HD radio, dual-zone automatic climate control with rear vents, and a few luxury features not normally found in this segment like a powered driver’s seat with seat memory and heated rear seats.
Standard safety features include six airbags, all-disc antilock brakes, and an electronic stability system. The Forte got a four-star overall crash test rating from the NHTSA and also has an optional rearview camera for safer reversing.