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Trims and Powertrains

Kia sells four versions of the front-wheel-drive 2023 Forte. Starting things off is the base LX, which wore the FE badge in previous model years. The LXS, GT-Line, and GT are the remaining trims. All but the GT get a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine; it makes 147 horsepower and 132 lb.-ft. of torque and is teamed with a continuously variable transmission. Kia dials up performance with the Forte GT, giving it a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder powerplant. This 201-horsepower engine (195 lb.-ft. of torque) is paired with either a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic or an optional six-speed manual gearbox.

The best fuel economy comes from the LX, which returns 30 mpg around town and 41 mpg on the highway. The LXS and GT-Line are rated for 28 city/39 highway. The EPA-estimated ratings for the GT are 27 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the open road (22 city/31 highway for the GT with the manual transmission).

Standard Features and Upgrades

The LX is packaged with everything a cost-conscious buyer will want, plus a few extras. Its standard equipment includes projector-style headlights with automatic off/on, remote keyless entry, cloth seats, six-way manually adjustable front seats, a 4.2-inch driver information display, high-beam assist, 15-inch steel wheels with full covers, dual 12-volt outlets, and body-color side mirrors. Every Forte also gets Kia Drive Wise, a collection of advanced safety features (detailed below). The LXS adds 16-inch alloy wheels, a 60/40-split folding rear seat, and option package access.

The GT-Line stands out visually with its trim-specific bumpers, decklid spoiler, cloth- and Syntex-trimmed seats, heated side mirrors with integrated turn signals, and LED taillights and fog lights. It also has dual-zone automatic climate control, proximity keyless entry with push-button start, alloy sport pedals, remote start, a hands-free trunk opener, a leather-wrapped sport steering wheel, 17-inch alloy wheels, and a USB port. As far as options, it’s eligible for the GT-Line Technology Package, which contains adaptive cruise control, an electronic parking brake, and additional safety features. The GT-Line Premium Package will add a power sunroof, LED cabin lighting, wireless device charging, and premium audio equipment. The Premium Package can be enhanced with the GT-Line Sport Premium Package for a ten-way power driver’s seat, heated and ventilated front seats, Syntex upholstery, plus air-conditioning vents and a center console USB port for the back seat.

Besides the larger engine, the 2023 Forte GT gets most features from the GT-Line plus a sport-tuned suspension with a multi-link independent rear setup, dual exhaust, larger ventilated front disc brakes, adaptive cruise control (automatic transmission only), 18-inch alloy wheels, wireless device charging, and a rear USB port. GTs equipped with the dual-clutch transmission can be upgraded with the Technology Package and the GT2 Package, which includes everything from the GT-Line Premium and Sport Premium Packages plus sport seats and rear parking sensors (rear parking sensors are standard on the GT with the manual transmission).

Driver Safety Systems

Kia Drive Wise is standard across the Forte lineup, providing forward collision-avoidance assist with pedestrian detection, lane following assist, lane keeping assist, driver attention warning, and rear occupant alert. Blind-spot collision-avoidance assist, rear cross-traffic collision-avoidance assist, and safe exit warning are part of the available LXS Technology Package and come standard on the GT-Line and GT (GTs with manual transmission only get blind-spot collision warning). Upgraded automatic emergency braking with cyclist detection is included on the GT (with automatic transmission) and comes within the optional GT-Line Technology or GT-Line Premium Packages.

Infotainment and Connectivity Technology

Fortes in the LX and LXS trims have an 8-inch touchscreen display to control the four-speaker audio system, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and Bluetooth. The GT-Line and GT are upgraded with a 10.25-inch display (which calls for a plug-in connection for the smartphone integration), navigation, a six-speaker sound system, SiriusXM satellite radio, and access to Kia Connect. An eight-speaker Harman Kardon audio system is included in the GT-Line Premium and GT2 Packages; the GT with the manual gearbox gets this as standard equipment.

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