2019 Kia Forte
Gone are the days when affordably priced compact cars were meant just to get you from point A to B without much personality to speak of. A good example of a modern-day sedan that gives a lot at a low cost is the 2019 Kia Forte. It’s sharp, engaging, decked out with useful and intuitive tech, and priced incredibly well – plus it gets up to 41 miles per gallon. There are four available trim levels: FE, LXS, S, and EX, each powered by a 2.0-liter 147 horsepower four-cylinder engine paired to a six-speed manual transmission on the FE trim and Kia’s Intelligent Variable Transmission on the other three (buyers of the base trim can upgrade to this IVT).
Comfort and Convenience
The base FE trim is well outfitted with technology and safety features (see the next two sections for details), plus dual-zone automatic climate control and a rearview camera. The LXS comes with selectable drive modes, a 60/40-split folding rear seat, and soft-touch interior surfaces on the dash and doors. The S trim gets upgrades in the form of a rear-seat armrest and a leather-wrapped steering wheel; if you want a sunroof, you can upgrade to the S Premium Package. The EX trim is where the comfort level clearly rises, with heated side mirrors, a windshield wiper deicer, push-button ignition, a keyless trunk opener, simulated-leather upholstery, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, heated and ventilated front seats, and a sliding armrest with USB ports. There is also an optional EX Launch Edition package that includes a sunroof, a rear decklid spoiler, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and a wireless smartphone charger.
Both the FE and LSX trims have a good slate of safety features for the compact sedan class, including forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and lane keeping assist. The S adds to the safety with its LED daytime running lights and fog lights, while the S Premium Package mentioned above provides LED headlights and automatic high beams in addition to the sunroof. Peace of mind increases with the EX trim, which adds a standard blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, as well as a lane change assist system. Rounding out the safety features is the EX Launch Edition package with its standard adaptive cruise control, pedestrian detection for the automatic emergency braking system, rear parking sensors, and automatic high beams.
Standard Technology Features
The FE offers a lot in this category, with a standard 8-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth hands-free capability, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a four-speaker sound system with USB and auxiliary audio jacks. The LXS gets the same tech features, but the S upgrades to a six-speaker audio system with satellite radio, along with Kia’s Uvo communication services. On the EX trim, you’ll get two additional USB ports, while the EX Launch Edition Package adds a larger gauge cluster, a navigation system with voice controls, and a premium eight-speaker Harman Kardon audio system with HD radio.