Electric may be the future, but there’s still a place for small, affordable, and fuel-efficient gas-powered cars. Kia, the brand whose early fortunes were directly tied to budget-friendly cars, understands this better than almost anyone. That’s why the brand’s catalog offers four small cars with value and efficiency. The middle child of Kia’s small-car lineup is the recently facelifted Forte, which is back for 2023 with more available tech and driver assistance systems.
Kia offers the 2023 Forte in four trims: LX, LXS, GT-Line, and GT. Pricing for the line, including a $1,095 destination fee, starts at $20,585 and reaches $25,985 for the top GT model with a manual transmission. The LX, LXS, and GT-Line trims get a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque. There’s a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder that produces 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque, but it’s reserved for the top GT model.
The Forte returns its best fuel economy in the base LX trim, which offers an EPA-estimated 30/41/34 mpg city/highway/ combined. The worst Forte for fuel economy is the GT trim with a manual transmission, rated at 22/31/26 mpg. Those numbers are better than the fuel economy ratings for the Mazda 3, but fall short of the Forte’s other competitors, including the Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, and Toyota Corolla.
Inside, a new available 10.25-inch touchscreen offers navigation, and Kia delivers a substantial list of standard safety features, including forward collision avoidance with pedestrian detection, lane keeping assist, and lane following assist. Available features include blind spot monitoring, Highway Driving Assist, navigation-based smart cruise control, parking distance sensors, rear cross-traffic alerts, and safe exit warnings.