STATUS: Spicy GT model added for 2020 - To compete with the Toyota Corolla, Mazda3 and Honda Civic (and other category leaders), Kia upped the Forte's game for the 2019 model year. It got a more rigid platform that was first developed for the larger Elantra, which made for a quieter cabin and more precise handling. Although the Forte's bodywork - inspired by the Kia Stinger - appeared larger, the new model gained only an inch or two in most key dimensions, but weighed about 100 pounds less than the previous model. The extra deep and wide trunk is especially cavernous and, says Kia, is the largest in the class. The revised interior, with a prominently displayed eight-inch touch-screen, conveys a premium appearance that belies the Forte's frugal compact roots. Base models come with a 147-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder and a six-speed manual transmission. A continuously variable unit is optional. For 2020, a well-equipped GT trim arrives with a 201-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder that's linked to a seven-speed automatic transmission with manual controls.
Base price (incl. destination): $18,700; $23.200 (GT)
Type: Compact sedan
Engines (h.p.): 2.0-liter I-4 (147); 1.6-liter I-4, turbocharged (201)
Transmissions: Six-speed manual; continuously variable; seven-speed automated manual (GT)
Base mpg (city/highway/combined): 27/37/31 (MT)
Base weight (lb.): 2,710