KBB Logo Expert review written by the Kelley Blue Book vehicle review editorial team.

Editor's Overview

Kia doesn't skimp on the 2016 Forte, whether you're choosing the everyday sedan, sporty 2-door Koup, or the European-inspired Forte hatchback. With nearly enough cars to be its own brand, the Forte lineup offers sporty styling inside and out, two engines to choose from, and a surprising amount of high-end features, all with excellent refinement and quality.

You'll Like The 2016 Kia Forte If...

Whether you pick the practical 4-door, European-feeling 5-door hatchback or the sporty 2-door Koup, the 2016 Forte offers a generous warranty, lots of features even on base models, and a decent starting price.

You May Not Like The 2016 Kia Forte If...

Looks can be deceiving, and while the 2016 Kia Forte family looks sporty, there are quicker and sharper-handling options out there for the true enthusiast. Additionally, while the base prices are good, they escalate quickly when you start adding options, making them less than a bargain than you might think.

What's New

The 2016 Kia Forte lineup expands this year with the addition of a new lower-end LX model for the 2016 Forte5 hatchback. Additionally, all LX models get standard keyless entry. Other changes include navigation available on the EX Premium Package, upgraded audio and a few new colors and wheels.

Interior Features

The 2016 Kia Forte interior mixes tech, comfort and even a little whimsy with the ripples on the passenger-side dash. That dash is soft-touch, by the way, an example of the overall quality of materials you'll find inside. The comfortable driver's seat is available with heating and cooling, and there's also an available heated steering wheel. The rear seat is roomy for the class, and also offers optional heating for the outboard positions, a rarity at this price point. If you need more cargo room than the standard 15-cubic-foot trunk, the Forte5 hatchback offers 23 cubic feet.

Exterior Features

It's hard to believe that the 2016 Kia Forte and the Hyundai Elantra are cousins under the skin. However, despite being not quite as flashy as the Hyundai, we think the 2016 Forte will look fresh longer than the Elantra has. The LED headlight accents are a nice touch, and the 2-door Forte Koup and hatchback Forte5 manage to add more style to the lineup without undermining the conservative aesthetic. Here, Kia's healthy addiction to category-first features manifests itself in power-folding exterior mirrors, puddle lamps and illuminated door-handle pockets.

Driving Impressions

The 2016 Kia Forte lineup is a great choice if you're looking for a comfortable, feature-filled and sporty-looking sedan, coupe, or hatchback. Note we said sporty-looking; despite the 201-horsepower 4-cylinder available in the Forte Koup 2-door and Forte5 hatchback, enthusiasts will still prefer driving the Mazda3, Honda Civic Si, or Volkswagen Jetta or GTI. Still, we like the added power, and if you're among the 99 percent of buyers who just want a solid daily driver, it won't matter. Around town and on the highway, the Forte sedan, coupe and hatchback are all excellent choices. Multiple creature comforts coddle driver and passenger alike, and even the base engine feels plenty of power; the turbo is just gravy. Regardless, the Forte lineup is a solidly economical choice as a daily driver.

Pricing Notes

The least expensive 2016 Kia Forte is the LX sedan with a manual transmission, which has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting about $16,800, including the $825 destination charge, with an automatic adding $1,700. We prefer the Forte EX, which for just under $21,000 comes with a bigger engine and automatic transmission. The 2016 Forte5 LX hatchback starts at about $20,000, and comes with the 2.0-liter engine. Add about $1,600 if you want the Forte5 SX with the turbo engine and an extra $1,000 to that if you want an automatic. Forte Koup prices haven't been set yet, but will probably stay close to last year's $19,400 for the EX, and $21,400 for the SX. Be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying. On the resale front, the Forte models are expected to have below-average residual values.

Notable Equipment

The 2016 Kia Forte LX sedan and Forte5 hatchback both come with keyless entry this year, in addition to standard features like Bluetooth and USB smartphone connectivity, air conditioning and a split-folding rear seat. Note that the base model lacks many of the class-leading features that distinguish the Forte, and even comes with steel wheels and a manual transmission. A better bet is the EX trim level, available on all three body styles, that includes things like aluminum-alloy wheels, at a higher price, of course. A full complement of active and passive safety features are standard on every Forte.

Notable Options

There are a lot of options available for the 2016 Kia Forte: navigation, leather upholstery, dual-zone climate control and Kia's UVO infotainment system. It's all included in the Forte's Premium Plus package. Forte Koup and Forte5 models offer an even higher trim level than EX called SX that adds the 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder with 201 horsepower, as well as 18-inch wheels. The Technology Package on this model adds navigation, heated and cooled seats, and other niceties like a power moonroof. However, that loaded Forte5 also costs more than $27,000, stretching the definition of affordable nearly to the breaking point.

Favorite Features


Like many Kia vehicles, its integrated telematics system UVO is one of the highlights. Among its many capabilities, it will use your connected phone to automatically call 911 if an airbag deploys. You can also send directions from your phone to the navigation system.


You can count the number of affordable compact hatchbacks on one hand – if you skip crossover SUVs – and we're happy that Kia remains committed to serving this small but fanatical niche of the market.

Under the Hood

The base model 2016 Forte LX sedan has a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder putting out 148 horsepower. It's a good reason to start your Forte Sedan shopping at the EX level, where you get the more robust 173-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder that's standard in the Koup and Forte5 hatchback, including the Forte5 LX. Available on the Forte Koup SX and Forte5 SX is a 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder with 201 horsepower. All 2016 Forte models are front-wheel drive, with power transmitted through either a 6-speed automatic transmission, or in some models, a 6-speed manual. The little 1.8-liter 4-cylinder gets 39 mpg on the highway, and that good number may be its saving grace. For the most part, though, the Forte's fuel economy trails many of today's compact cars.

1.8-liter 4-cylinder (Kia Forte Sedan LX)

148 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm

131 lb-ft of torque @ 4,700 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/37 mpg (manual), 26/39 mpg (automatic)

2.0-liter 4-cylinder (Kia Forte Sedan EX, Koup EX, Forte5 EX)

173 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm

154 lb-ft of torque @ 4,700 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/33 mpg (manual Koup), 25/34 mpg (automatic Koup), 25/36 mpg (Sedan), 25/33 mpg (Forte5)

1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder (Kia Forte Koup SX, Forte5 SX)

201 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm

195 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750-4,500 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/29 mpg (manual Koup), 22/30 mpg (automatic Koup), 21/29 mpg (Forte5)

Editors' Notes

The 2016 Kia Forte is one of the most comprehensive compact-car lineups you'll find. With 4-door sedan, 2-door coupe or 5-door hatchback body styles, a surprising amount of features, and an available 201-horsepower turbocharged engine, the 2016 Forte comes in almost any flavor you want. There's the inexpensive Forte LX 4-door sedan, which won't leave you feeling shortchanged. The sporty Forte Koup is a 2-door model available with a turbocharged 1.6-liter 4-cylinder that makes 201 horsepower. The Forte5 hatchback offers a cargo-friendly, Euro-look hatchback, and is available with the turbocharged engine. It's a strong lineup when pitted against the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla and Ford Focus, and it makes picking a good compact car that much harder.

Road Test Video Reviews

2016 Kia Forte Owner Reviews

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A reliable daily driver and beyond.

2016 Kia Forte LX

I bought my car used, and it is now 3 years old and has had no performance or maintenance issues so far. I would consider it reliable. I have driven it on a seven hour road trip as well as through downtown Atlanta on a few occasions, and it has gotten me through both types of conditions successfully. It gets good gas mileage, but I do wish it held a little more fuel. I think the tank is about 12 gallons, and I have to fill up once every 1.5 weeks or so. For being a relatively small sedan, the back seat is pretty comfortable. The trunk is adequate, not huge. My particular model has electric driver seat adjustment and a ~4 inch display for the backup camera. It is also Bluetooth compatible and has steering controls for volume, picking up, hanging up, making voice call commands, and changing track/station. There is also steering wheel cruise control. The car itself sits a little low and is probably better suited for people of short to average height. Overall, I think this model is a great value. I feel like I got a nice quality vehicle for a reasonable price.

- Becky D

Kia Forte: Affordable Reliability

2016 Kia Forte LX

Very reliable. Handles great. It has a 6 speed manual transmission. I feel very safe on the road especially in bad weather The clutch is very smooth. Good acceleration. I get great mileage that usually averages 41 mpg on the highway. It easily fits 5 people. It came with Sirius XM and I really enjoy that. The sound of the radio and CD player are exceptional. My only complaints with the vehicle are the paint which seems to be applied thinly. I do a lot of highway driving and I have numerous paint chips in the hood. My car also has an engine 'rumble '. I was told at the dealership that the rumble is common in the 2016 model and cannot be repaired. Other than those two issues, I am pleased with my vehicle and would not hesitate to buy another Kia in the future.

- Mickey B

Kia Forte: Great car for the price!

2016 Kia Forte EX

The Kia Forte is great for the price. The performance is good and the reliability is great! The fact that Kia's are backed by a 100 thousand mile warranty is awesome and adds to the reliability. I love my Bluetooth feature. The fact that I do not have to take my hands off the wheel to answer my phone is definitely a great safety features. I believe that the Kia Forte is very comfortable and that the rear seats are 'roomy'. The trunk is very large as well! The only thing I thought was a 'problem' was that the car does not come with a spare tire, only a fix-a-flat. I think all cars should come with a spare tire, although I'm sure if I wanted one they probably could have added it to the overall price. Still, disappointed it didn't come with one.

- De G

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