You still can’t balk at the Kia Forte for its value proposition.
A few months ago, I almost — almost — ended up buying a new 2021 Kia Forte GT. Why? Because even on its face, the turbocharged sedan is remarkable value at just over $24,000. I wanted a car with a manual transmission, and the Forte is a great way to get into a car with some decent grunt at a great price. Hell, even if power isn’t your goal and you want an efficient car on the cheap, I found base FE models (with a stick, mind you) for under $14,000. And now, the 2022 Kia Forte brings in some updates to keep the brand’s inexpensive compact nice and fresh.
There is a reason Kia’s refreshing the Forte now: its competition. There’s a brand new, eleventh-generation Honda Civic in the mix (with an Si variant right around the corner). Volkswagen also refreshed its Jetta — including the GLI — for the 2022 model year as well. Despite the notion that sedans are dead, these three are all solid contenders as their manufacturers insist on remaining in the segment for the foreseeable future. With the new car market completely sideways these days, at least you can still find these cars without a ludicrously high price tag attached to them, too.
What do you get with the 2022 Kia Forte? A new upper grille with Kia’s new logo set this apart from the old car, as well as updated exterior lights all around. As you’d expect with your mid-cycle refresh, the updated Forte gets new front and rear bumpers, while GT-Line and GT trims get unique, “sportier” taillights, per Kia.
Welcome interior changes
Depending on how you approach the subject, the 2022 Kia Forte and its lack of physical parking brake could rankle a bit. The other 99% of buyers will probably appreciate the car’s new center console design, with more room for storage now that the old handbrake is gone. Synthetic leather seats are now available, as is a rear USB charging port so rideshare passengers are left in the lurch.
The biggest update, though, comes in two words: big screen. Well, bigger screen, as you can now get a welcome 10.25-inch infotainment display with navigation on some models. An 8.0-inch unit still comes standard, but at least you get Android Auto and wireless Apple CarPlay across the lineup.
Safety is at the forefront of the 2022 Kia Forte lineup, now complete with lane following assist and pedestrian/cyclist detection for the automatic emergency braking system. Navigation-aided smart cruise control, Highway Driving Assist and Kia’s Safe Exit Warning systems are also available.
Still the same powertrains as before
Trim options for the updated Forte — FE, LXS, GT-Line and GT — are still there, same as before. Kia did drop the mid-range EX trim, and folded some of its features into the “Sport Premium” package on the GT-Line.
Under the hood, you get either a 2.0-liter naturally-aspirated engine with 147 horsepower, or the 201-horsepower 1.6-liter turbo with the GT. Most of the lower trims will get you a continuously variable transmission for puttering around. However, you can get either a 7-speed dual clutch or a 6-speed manual with the GT — so thank goodness that’s still an option. As a matter of fact, if you want a manual transmission at all, compact sedans seem to be one of the last places where you can actually get one. The Civic, Jetta and Forte all still have three-pedal options — at least for now.
Pricing for the 2022 Kia Forte will kick off at just $20,085 for the base FE model. The LXS is a shade more expensive, at $20,585. Stepping up to the GT-Line bumps the price tag up to a still reasonable $22,285. As for the GT, that’ll set you back $24,485 — about a $700 uptick from the 2021 model.
If you’re gunning for the updated Forte, it should hit dealer lots in the coming weeks.