2022 Kia Forte GT

June 29th, 2022 at 2:08pm

The Kia Forte GT kind of smashes the paradigm of what’s going on in the new car market right now. It’s a passenger sedan at a time when car buyers are flocking to CUVs. And it’s highly affordable at a time when consumers are bewailing the high price of new cars.

A base Forte starts at only $19,000, the GT version starts at $23,500 and the one I test drove had a couple of thousand dollars’ worth of options that pushed it to $26,840. Since the average new car is selling for over $45,000 these days, the Forte seems downright cheap.

But it’s cheap in price only, not in the way this car is put together. The cabin is simply, but tastefully trimmed out, with a pleasant mixture of colors and textures. The instrument panel is a generation behind the latest cars, with the center screen looking like it’s an i-Pad stuck to the dash, instead of integrated into it. But the controls are familiar, easy to learn and quick to use.

The GT version gets you a 1.6 liter turbo that cranks out 201 horsepower. The engine responds well but emits a droning moan that’s so typical of four-bangers. Those ponies are powered through a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission, and the hooves hit the pavement through 18” wheels. It also comes with what Kia calls a “sport tuned suspension” and you’ll notice how stiffly it rides before you’ve driven 100 meters.

While the car offers very good value for the money, calling it a GT is a bit misleading, or at least it will be in the eyes of true enthusiasts. It’s not a fast car, and not developed in the spirit of a true Grand Touring sedan, that is, a car designed for long hauls at high speeds. This is a nice commuter car with some sporty trim pieces that visually put it a step above the more mundane Fortes.

Personally, I prefer the mundane base Forte, which offers exceptional value for the money, rides with a much more compliant suspension and delivers 35 mpg to the GT’s 30 mpg. But Kia is out fishing for customers who are willing to spend at least $4,500 more on a Forte, and it’s using the GT as the bait to catch them.

By: John McElroy

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