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2013 Kia Forte Review

If you’re looking for a compact car with a spacious interior and a strong reliability rating, a used 2013 Kia Forte is worth considering. It ranks high in its class, but it can’t match the exciting performance offered by some competitors.

Pros & Cons

  • Good amount of cargo space
  • Above-average reliability rating
  • Rough-riding SX trim
  • Uninspired handling in lower trims




Critics' Rating: 8.1
Performance: 7.2
Interior: 8.0
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.3
Safety: 9.0
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2013 Kia Forte Overview

Is the 2013 Kia Forte a Good Used Car?

Compact cars typically offer the bare minimum in amenities and space, but the 2013 Kia Forte comes with a little more of each. It has a decent number of features, a fairly roomy interior, and more cargo space than the majority of its rivals. However, its handling is underwhelming compared to that of sportier compact cars.

Used 2013 Kia Forte Performance and Interior

The 2013 Kia Forte comes with a 156-horsepower four-cylinder engine, which offers average performance for the class. The Forte is also available with a smoother four-cylinder that generates 173 horsepower and has peppier acceleration. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, and a six-speed automatic is available. With the base engine and an automatic transmission, the Forte sedan achieves 25 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway, which is on par with rival fuel economy estimates. The base Forte isn’t as fun to drive as sporty rivals like the Mazda3 and Ford Focus. The sport-tuned SX offers accurate steering and strong brakes. However, it also has a harsh ride.

Read more about Forte performance »

The 2013 Kia Forte is available as a four-door sedan, a five-door hatchback (Forte5), or a two-door coupe (Koup). The Forte’s cabin has an attractive design, and its materials are of class-appropriate quality. Still, some competitors’ cabins feature higher-quality materials. Front-seat occupants have more than enough head- and legroom, and the back seats can reasonably accommodate a pair of adults. The rear outboard seats have full sets of LATCH connectors for child safety seats, while the rear middle seat has an upper tether anchor. At 14.7 cubic feet and 19.4 cubic feet, respectively, the Forte sedan and hatchback have a good amount of trunk space for the segment. If you want maximum cargo and passenger space, avoid the cramped Forte Koup. The 2013 Kia Forte comes standard with tech features that are optional in many competitors: satellite radio, a USB port, an auxiliary input jack, and Bluetooth. In addition, the Forte’s climate, audio, and navigation controls are easy to use.

Read more about Forte interior »

Used 2013 Kia Forte Prices

The average price of a used 2013 Kia Forte ranges from nearly $6,800 for the LX base model with a manual transmission up to about $8,500 for the Forte SX with an automatic transmission. Still, pricing varies depending on the car’s mileage, condition, location, and features.

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We Did the Research for You: 51 Reviews Analyzed

We base our used car rankings and reviews on an analysis of hard data – including crash test scores, reliability ratings, and total cost of ownership estimates – as well as the opinions of the automotive press. We researched and analyzed 51 Kia Forte reviews for this 2013 Forte overview.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking vehicles for a decade, and our Best Cars team has more than 75 years of car industry experience combined. You can trust that our reviews are impartial because we never accept pricey gifts or trips from automakers, and another company takes care of our website's advertising.

How Reliable Is the 2013 Kia Forte?

The 2013 Kia Forte has an above-average reliability rating of four out of five from J.D. Power.

See Forte reliability scores »

How Safe Is the Forte?

The 2013 Forte’s safety score is about average for a compact car. It received the top rating of Good in all four of its Insurance Institute for Highway Safety evaluations. Also, the IIHS named it a Top Safety Pick. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave it four out of five stars overall and the same score in all three crash evaluations.

The 2013 Forte is available with a rearview camera. 

See Forte safety scores »

Is the 2013 Forte the Best Model Year to Buy?

The Kia Forte was introduced in 2010, and its first generation ended with the 2013 model. Though it may be a little pricier, you should consider the fully redesigned 2014 Forte. It features a number of notable updates, including all-new styling, improved handling, a roomier interior, and additional available features, including Kia’s UVO infotainment system. However, if you like the 2013 Forte, check out the 2012 model. It is likely to cost less than the 2013 model while offering the same features and styling.

Compare the 2012, 2013, and 2014 Forte »

Which Used Kia Forte Is Right for Me?

The 2013 Forte – available in sedan and hatchback body styles – has three trim levels: LX (base), EX, and SX. Many compact car shoppers will appreciate the Forte LX, which has more standard features than most of its rivals. The Forte LX comes with satellite radio, a USB port, an auxiliary audio jack, and Bluetooth.

The Forte EX provides the best value, with useful convenience and technology features like power windows, power door locks, cruise control, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, and remote keyless entry.

If you’re looking to make the most of the car’s performance, go with the Forte SX. It adds a sport-tuned suspension, sport seats, and steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. It also comes with a stronger four-cylinder engine.

You also have the option to purchase a certified pre-owned Kia. Kia’s certified pre-owned vehicles receive the balance of the original 10-year/100,000-mile new-car powertrain warranty, plus a one-year/12,000-mile Platinum warranty for non-powertrain parts. Additional benefits like towing and roadside assistance may be available, so read the Kia warranty page carefully. The model's original sale date determines whether or not it is eligible for the CPO program.

Read more about certified pre-owned vehicles »
Read more about the Kia certified pre-owned program »

2013 Kia Forte and Other Cars to Consider

Which Is Better: 2013 Kia Forte or 2013 Hyundai Elantra?

The Forte and Hyundai Elantra are pretty similar. Both offer well-built cabins, roomy seats, and good cargo space. However, the Forte edges out the Elantra for a few reasons: it has a higher reliability rating, standard Bluetooth, and offers a stronger engine as an option.

Which Is Better: 2013 Kia Forte or 2013 Ford Focus?

If you want a compact car that offers some fun behind the wheel, the Ford Focus is worth considering. Its quick steering, cornering agility, and comfortable ride make it a joy to drive. Additionally, it has a good-looking cabin with spacious seating, and it was named our 2013 Best Compact Car for the Money. Still, the Focus has a poor reliability rating, so the Forte may give you better peace of mind.

Compare the Forte, Elantra, and Focus »

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