Compact cars, cars in general, are losing ground to crossovers. Despite that, compact cars remain the third largest automotive segment in Canada, and a big player in numerous other world markets.
It’s with this in mind that Kia’s up the ante with their new 2019 Forte sedan. For the 5th generation of the Forte (if we include the Spectra), Kia’s addressed the car’s emotional appeal, performance and kit levels in the hopes of capturing your attention and taking over a larger piece of the sales pie.
Have they done it? Should you put it on your shopping list against the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla? Read on.
Why you should buy a 2019 Kia Forte sedan:
• Styling-wise, the Forte sedan blends premium touches with youthful attributes. This applies both inside and out
• Value remains a killer argument for the Forte. At $16,495, the base LX car includes a standard 8-inch display with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, as well as heated front seats and steering wheel.
• The included 147-horsepower and 132 lb.-ft. of torque 2.0-litre 4-cylinder engine is perfectly suited to the car. And surprise, the optional IVT (Intelligent Variable Transmission) or Kia-speak for a CVT transmission, is really good, equal to that of the new Corolla hatchback, the best in its class in my opinion
• Another surprise is how competent the car is to drive. Handling, steering, braking and comfort levels are highly appreciable
• The $20,995 EX is an undeniably good package. Along with the previously elements, it also includes the IVT transmission, unique exterior trim, wireless phone charging, blind spot detection and rear cross traffic alert
Why you should not buy a 2019 Kia Forte sedan:
• Kias, and Hyundais, have developed an unenviable reputation for coming apart quickly by the third or fourth year. Initial quality is high but durability and build quality is questionable after a few years
• In the case of a purchase, the Korean brands continue to suffer poor resale values. The Forte would ideally be a 3-4 year lease or a 5+ year ownership with a financing no longer than 60 months
• For the moment, only the sedan is available. The Forte5 hatchback will likely arrive sometime next year and be even more attractive and versatile. Only potential downside is that its base price will be higher
As I covered ground during the first drive event, I could see myself owning and loving this car. As Kia put it: “It’s a Compact, not a Compromise,” and it’s very true. Unfortunately, knowing what I know and having experienced what I have over the last 20 years (exactly as long as Kia Canada’s been around), I’d do what the majority of compact car buyers do and stop by a Japanese brand dealership.
The last twenty years have generated enormous gains in every respect for Kia Canada, as they’ve more than doubled their sales and have grown to 192 dealers nation-wide. The remaining step for them is to demonstrate that their cars can stand the test of time like the Civic, Corolla and Golf. And no, none of these cars are perfect but many 15 and 20-year old Civics, Corolla, and Golfs are still on the road today.
I really like the new 2019 Kia Forte. If I was a betting man, I’d opt for one ahead of the Civic and Corolla and it would be tied with the Mazda3 and VW Golf.