Among the many compact sedans available in the country, the Kia Forte struggles to carve out a place behind the stars of the Honda Civic, the Toyota Corolla and the Hyundai Elantra.
However, the Forte has several qualities that deserve to be known. Some may not even know that there is a hatchback variant of the model, the Forte5, which features European airs that are hard to ignore.
We put the 2020 Kia Forte5 GT to the test and here’s what we thought of it.
It should be noted from the outset that the Kia Forte5 is sold in Canada, but not in the United States, where only the four-door Forte is available. A fine effort by Kia to adapt to the preferences of Canadians (and especially Quebeckers), who are more fond of this type of vehicle.
The Kia Forte5 has a decidedly European look, especially at the rear. The rendering is interesting and it stands out clearly from its rivals. For a floor price of $ 24,005, you are entitled to a vehicle that seems more upscale.
Pretty, the Forte5 is also very practical, with a voluminous trunk capable of accommodating up to 741 liters, which is more than that of the Corolla Hatchback (503 L), Mazda3 Sport (569 L) and Civic hatchback (727 L). ). It’s even enough to make some owners of small so-called utility vehicles blush!
Inside, the Forte5 offers a very sober, but functional interior. The ergonomics are well thought out and the infotainment system is extremely user-friendly. In this regard, Kia continues to dominate the majority of other brands in the industry.
There is ample legroom at the front and rear. The same goes for visibility, which we can hardly criticize. We would have liked a slightly larger bezel on the tailgate, but that’s the price to pay for such a chic design!
The GT version for a little more fun
Standard, the Kia Forte5 is powered by an ordinary 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, with 147 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque.
It is also possible to opt for the GT version, and this is exactly the one we tested. Here, the base engine is replaced by a turbocharged 1.6-liter unit, increasing power to 201 hp and torque to 195 lb-ft. Suddenly, we find ourselves behind the wheel of a vehicle whose performance can be compared to that of a Volkswagen Golf GTI!
However, don’t get carried away too quickly. Accelerations aboard the Forte5 GT are certainly appreciable, but the road handling is nothing like that of a GTI. The suspension is softer and the steering less precise, making it more comfortable than truly sporty.
However, the vehicle can be switched to Sport, where the sound of the engine suddenly changes. It almost becomes cartoonish, as if Kia was trying a little too hard to convince us that we end up aboard a small bomb. Which is not really the case, in the end.
Let us mention the nice job of the automatic double clutch transmission, whose seven gears are well spaced. Gear changes are made quickly and smoothly. Good news, a manual gearbox will be added to the Forte5 GT’s offer for the 2021 model year. Absent in the 2020 catalog, this transmission will convince some buyers who love three-pedal driving. We certainly won’t complain.
Note that the “base” Forte5 is equipped with a continuously variable transmission.
In terms of fuel consumption, the regular Forte5 has a combined city / highway rating of 7.1 L / 100 km, while the GT increases the rating to 8.0 L / 100 km. The 2021 Forte5 GT’s manual transmission boosts the rating to 8.8 L / 100 km.
By choosing the base Forte5, Kia is giving you a fair amount of bang for your buck. The vehicle comes standard with a fairly complete equipment that includes the steering wheel and heated front seats, wireless charging for your cell phone, driver assistance technologies and compatibility with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
The GT, for its part, starts at $ 29,155 and also comes with tempting standard equipment. We can add another layer by opting for the GT Limited with an enhanced options package including heated rear seats, intelligent cruise control and an 8-inch touch screen.
If the price of the vehicle is attractive enough, you should know that the Forte5 (and Kias in general) suffers from a very low resale value. So it’s a good idea if you are the type to change vehicles every three years, because you will have in your hands a car whose value has greatly withered away. For this reason, Kia has difficulty offering its vehicles at a good price for lease, since dealers know that the residual value will be low.
In short, if you buy a Kia Forte5, it is better to keep it for a long time. It is thus an attractive alternative to cars with sporty behavior like the Golf GTI or the Honda Civic SI.
Let us underline in closing the interesting basic warranty of 5 years and 100,000 kilometers for Kia products. What reassure buyers who still fear the reliability of Korean cars.