The search for a good car is never ending. There are lots of cars that are good at different things but most affordable cars are workable. I spent hundreds and hundreds of miles in the 2019 Kia Forte and can tell you it might be the most perfectly okay car I have driven yet.
The outside of the 2019 Forte is what I would call fine. It’s boring. That is perfectly fine for most people looking for what enthusiast call, an “automobile”. It’s nothing special, just a piece of metal powered by melted down dinosaurs that gets its occupant from A to B. The Kia grill is not my favorite and the car looks to be too short overall, but it’s a person transporter, not a style icon. I am a fan of the Heckblende style tail light straddling the rear much like the Stinger I tested last year. The size works for it making it easy to park in near every car park and the car is handsome enough to fit in with every car in the parking lot.
The interior features reminded me how well Kia does in optioning their cars for an extremely affordable price. For $2X,000, the Kia comes absolutely loaded. Heated and ventilated seats, 8.0” UVO and Harmon/Kardon stereo system, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, and a full safety suite. Even more than the Optima I tested a couple months ago, the price in comparison to what is provided is astonishing to me. I thought the Optima was a deal but over $X000 less is really impressive. The overall interior design is also impressively nice. Black is a generally boring color but the execution is fantastic here. I’m not a huge fan of how the steering wheel controls are so finicky but that is a minor complaint among everything else that is so good with this car.
Funny enough, I was in this Kia more than any other press car I have had. The car was dropped off Thursday and on Friday a buddy and I drove down to Chattanooga, over a 120 miles each way. Combine that with my commute and other miscellaneous runabouts, I spent nearly 500 miles driving the Forte. I found the Kia to be quite comfortable for a compact car. The interior didn’t just look good, but functioned quite well on a daily basis. I was always comfortable even at nearly six foot tall, a height that doesn’t always fit smaller cars. Trunk space is also surprisingly large and was way more than enough for the two adult males to put everything they needed for a guys weekend road trip. It was also enough to easily pass my standard hockey test as my large gear bag easily fit in the trunk and stick fit in the car pretty easy.
Kias IVT(Intelligent Variable Transmission) was actually quite good, especially compared to the Toyota C-HR I had the week before. The Kia only has three more horsepower than the C-HR, but it feels like a lot more. The only time I had the same problem with high RPMs is when I was scaling Monteagle Mountain. The grade on Monteagle is so steep and so dangerous to semi trucks, Johnny Cash wrote song bearing the same name telling its dangers and the movie Smokey and the Bandit’s first song, “The Legend”, talked about its dangers. One song is a lot, but two songs means the Mountain does not mess around. I can’t blame the Kia on having to work hard on this section either as on top of the steep grade as I was “giving it the beans” to keep up with traffic. The ride was comfortable and made for an easy drive couple hour drive back and forth. Even with the added stress on the engine added by the steep drive, I managed to average over 34 mpg. This is an impressive number for a non-hybrid and was much appreciated over the large number of miles I drove.
When looking for a car that fits almost every need, the search is sometimes quite hard. The 2019 Kia Forte is one of the few cars I have fit that needs nearly every need. It’s extremely affordable, well optioned, and a solid place to be. Not many automobiles have all three and that makes thisa perfectly okay car.