Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

A close up of the front driver side headlight and grille on a blue 2021 Kia Forte GT.

Getting Started With Your Next Car-Buying Adventure

Shopping for a new vehicle is sometimes more the result of necessity than desire. Car-shopping usually intends to give you better transportation, whether that means accomodating a family’s growing needs or providing a more effective ride in inclement weather. However, sometimes you can find utility and affordability without sacrificing comfort and attractiveness. If you want a beautifully-designed and dependable vehicle as your next ride, look no further than the 2021 Kia Forte.

In 2020, JD Power ranked Kia the #1 ranked mass-market brand for the sixth year in a row, demonstrating the company’s commitment to quality. Countless Kia models have also been chosen as IIHS Top Safety Picks, underlining the manufacturer’s emphasis on safety. If you want a safe car that delivers on its promises, the 2021 Kia Forte is perfect for you. Not only is the Forte a quality car, but it comes at an unbelievable price for what it offers. The base model starts at a mere $17,890, and even the top trim won’t break the bank at just $23,290. Considering what you’ll get for your money, the Kia Forte is a win-win all-around.

Kia’s been around for a while, with the Kia Motor Corporation being founded in Korea in 1944. Early on, the company was known as Kyungsung Precision Industries. Kia initially made bicycle parts and actually produced Korea’s first domestic bike. It later migrated into building other companies’ motorcycles and trucks after changing their name to Kia Industries. Eventually, Kia would go on to successfully design and create its own world-recognized vehicles. The Kia Forte itself is a relatively new offering, first hitting the American market for 2010. Given the experience and reputation of Kia Motors, it quickly became a fan favorite.

Kia Performance

The Forte is an extremely capable vehicle. The lower trims utilize a 2.0-liter engine with 147 hp and the choice between a 6-speed manual transmission or an automatic intelligent variable transmission. While the manual gives you more control over the vehicle, the IVT provides exceptional fuel economy of up to 41 MPG on the highway and allows for a more relaxing driving experience in traffic.

The top two trims on the 2021 Forte (the GT and GT Manual) are performance-oriented and come with a significantly more powerful 1.6-liter turbocharged engine. This produces 201 hp and is paired with either a 6-speed manual or a quick-shifting 7-speed dual-clutch transmission with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters for manual gear changes. Additional upgrades such as enhanced suspension and larger brakes and wheels make the GT and GT Manual trims extremely enjoyable cars to drive, equaling traditional sporty options such as the Honda Civic Si and Volkswagon GTI at a lower price point.

A close up of the rear tail light and badging on a blue 2021 Kia Forte GT.

Kia’s Sleek Exterior

The outside of the 2021 Kia Forte is modern and aerodynamic, featuring Kia’s famous grille. The Kia emblem looks like the nose of a tiger superimposed over the shape of the grille. For safety and convenience, all Forte trims come with standard daytime running lights, giving you enhanced visibility during the day, whether you realize that you need it or not. The Forte also offers automatic headlight control, which allows the amount of sunlight to determine whether the headlights are required. At night, you will find projector beam headlights to illuminate the road ahead. During the day, the standard Solar Control Glass reduces heat and material wear by reducing UV light coming into the vehicle.

At the top end of the 2021 Forte trims, you get upgraded LED headlights and daytime running lights. You even have mirror-mounted LED turn signals so that the nearby drivers can’t mistake that you are turning. LEDs are a large improvement over traditional bulbs, being up to 80% more efficient as well as more reliable and longer-lasting. For an open atmosphere, you will find a power sunroof. The convenient Smart Trunk responds to your smart key and opens automatically as well.

Keeping You Safe

Kia is known for its safety and reliability. With its driver-assist technology, you will find several incorporated safety systems. Lane Keeping Assist-Line (LKA-L), Driver Attention Warning (DAW), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Electronic Stability Control (ESC), and Auto Emergency Braking Technology are standard even in the lowest trim. As you move up to higher trims, you will also find Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Warning (RCCW). Working in conjunction, these systems help protect you out on the open road.

Lane Departure Warning works by detecting your current lane with the front view camera. If the system senses an unintentional lane departure because no turn signal was activated, it alerts the driver with audible, visual, and other signals. The Lane Keeping Assist also helps to prevent side-swiping accidents by automatically steering you safely back into your lane. The 2021 Forte completes the main suite of driving safety features with Electronic Stability Control, which will help prevent you from accidentally skidding or flipping your car.

Kia’s Rear Cross Traffic Alert helps to prevent accidents to the rear of your vehicle as you are backing up. It utilizes sensors that are shared by the backup camera. If a car passes behind you, you will get a warning notifying you to stop to avoid an impending collision. The Auto Emergency Braking also relies on sensors and the camera on the front of the vehicle. This system keeps track of your relative distance to other cars ahead and will automatically apply the brakes to prevent a frontal collision.

The black interior with the rear seats folded down and snowboarding gear in a 2021 Kia Forte.

A Refined Interior and Smart Technology Features

In addition to the technological advancements that the 2021 Kia Forte brings in safety, the interior is brimming with modern tech features. All trims come standard with a large touchscreen display that supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, allowing you to integrate your smartphone so you won’t miss a beat. This system even includes voice commands so that you can access your phone’s content and apps hands-free. On top of smartphone connectivity, you will also find standard AM/FM radio as well as Bluetooth, USB, MP3, and aux support.

While the base model has a four-speaker audio system, when you get to the top tier 2021 Forte GT, you’ll find an upgraded 6-speaker audio system standard. Also available is an optional 320-watt Harman Kardon Clari-Fi premium audio system with eight speakers and an integrated subwoofer. The Clari-Fi technology helps to restore the full sound of compressed digital media. It analyzes the music or video sounds as it is playing and corrects any waveform deficiencies for premium sound quality. Clari-Fi renders sound much closer to its original full-sounded recording.

Kia Forte Takeaways

If you are in the market for a new vehicle, keep the 2021 Kia Forte in mind. While it is one of Kia’s more recent models, it brings Kia’s years of car creation excellence to the table. You’ll find advanced tech throughout the interior of the vehicle. All models contain touchscreen displays and plenty of connectivity, scaling up in features as you increase the trim level. Additionally, all models have the Kia Drive Wise driver-assist technology that includes a host of helpful features designed to protect you and your passengers from potentially dangerous and costly accidents. When you consider Kia’s incredibly affordable pricing, the Forte can’t be beaten.

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