- Adds a few new features for 2016 and four new color options
- Up to 37 mpg on the highway
- Also available as a hatchback or a coupe (coupe covered separately)
The 2016 Kia Forte is the Korean automaker’s entry into a crowded compact field and is notable for its flexibility, with three distinct bodystyles to choose from.
We will cover two of those (sedan and hatchback) in this overview, while the coupe is covered as a separate model. For 2016 changes to the Forte are small. Remote keyless entry is now standard, there are four new exterior colors to choose from, and several options packages have been shuffled to contain more popular equipment.
The Forte’s styling is very familiar to what is found across Kia’s lineup, with the signature pinched grille up front, 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.
Under the hood, the base engine found in LX models is a 145-hp, 1.8-liter four-cylinder that 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 a 201-hp, turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder with the same transmission options as the LX.
Inside, the Forte’s has 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 five-star overall crash test rating from the NHTSA, their highest score, and also offers aan optional rearview camera for safer reversing.