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2016 Kia Forte Review

The 2016 Kia Forte has peppy engine options and a spacious interior that comes loaded with features. However, its dull handling, harsh ride, and modest safety scores relegate it to the middle of the 2016 compact car class.

Pros & Cons

  • Plenty of cargo and back-seat space
  • Lots of standard and available features
  • Easy-to-use infotainment system
  • Peppy available engines
  • Dull handling
  • Rough ride on bumpy roads

New for 2016

  • Standard remote keyless entry
  • Forte5 hatchback available in less-expensive LX trim




Critics' Rating: 8.7
Performance: 7.4
Interior: 8.5
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.1
Safety: 8.7
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2016 Kia Forte Overview

Is the 2016 Kia Forte a Good Used Car?

The 2016 Kia Forte is a solid car that offers used car shoppers three body styles (sedan, coupe, and hatchback) and three engines to suit individual needs. It also has plenty of space for both people and cargo, as well as a long list of user-friendly cabin technology. Still, several rivals offer sportier handling and better ride comfort.

Why You Can Trust Us

Our used car rankings and reviews are based on our analysis of professional automotive reviews, as well as data like crash test scores, reliability ratings, and ownership expenses. We researched 34 Kia Forte reviews to help you decide if it’s the right used car for you.

The U.S. News Best Cars team has been ranking cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our staff has a combined 75 years of automotive industry experience. To ensure our impartiality, our staff never takes expensive gifts or trips from car companies, and an outside team handles the advertising on our site.

How Much Is the 2016 Kia Forte?

Based on the 1,000-plus 2016 Kia Forte listings on our site, expect to pay between $9,900 and $16,800 for this vehicle. The average list price is $12,700. Your price will vary depending on the car’s condition, mileage, location, and features.

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How Much Does the 2016 Kia Forte Cost to Own?

Purchase price isn’t the only number to consider when buying a car. Ongoing costs can be substantial. The 2016 Forte has estimated five-year costs of more than $22,600 for gas, insurance, maintenance, and repairs. That’s on par with competitors like the 2016 Chevrolet Cruze and 2016 Volkswagen Golf, with five-year costs of around $23,000.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Forte?

The new 2018 Kia Forte starts at $16,800, while a used 2016 model has an average list price of $12,700. Purchasing a used model over a new one could save you about $4,100. Still, there are benefits to the 2018 model. For starters, it has a refreshed exterior and a new base engine. Additionally, the 2018 Forte is available with features like automatic emergency braking, forward collision alert, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto, which you won't find in the 2016 model. Adding these features, however, will raise the price. If the new look and technology appeal to you, you may prefer the 2018 Forte. Otherwise, the 2016 model is the way to go.

Read about the new Kia Forte »

If you prefer a new car but don't want to spend much more than the price of a 2016 Forte, you have options. However, you’ll have to drop down a class size to a subcompact car. The base model 2018 Kia Rio is about $1,200 more than the average used 2016 Forte. It gets great mileage and has sporty driving dynamics. The 2018 Ford Fiesta is another fun-to-drive option, and its starting price is about $1,500 more than the average 2016 Forte. Check out the Kia deals page and Ford deals page for possible cash back deals and incentives that could lower the price of a new Rio or Fiesta.

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How Reliable Is the 2016 Kia Forte?

The 2016 Forte has a reliability rating of 3.5 out of five from J.D. Power. This is a slightly above-average score for the auto industry as a whole but about average for the class.

Read more about Forte reliability »

2016 Kia Forte Recalls

As of this writing, the 2016 Forte has no reported safety recalls.

See more information on Kia Forte safety recalls »

Which Model Year of the Kia Forte Is Best?

The 2016 Forte is part of a generation that began with the 2014 model. Older models will probably save you money. The 2013 Forte has a good score, but it was the last model year before the redesign, so it looks different and has a different feature’s list. The 2014 and 2015 Fortes have decent scores, and they’re essentially the same as the 2016 model.

The best buy, however, is the 2017 Forte. Its interior was refreshed and automatic emergency braking, forward collision alert, and smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto became available. It also received a new base engine that provides a minor bump in fuel economy. Best of all, it’s only about $1,200 more than the 2016 model.

Compare the 2015, 2016, and 2017 Forte »

Which Used Kia Forte Model Is Right for Me?

The 2016 Forte comes in three body styles – sedan, coupe (Koup), and hatchback (Forte5) – and three trims: LX, EX, and SX. Not all trims are available with all body styles. For a base model compact car, the Forte LX comes with a good number of features, including Bluetooth, a USB port, and satellite radio.

The Kia Forte EX, however, is the better value, as it comes with a larger engine and is available with a wealth of technology and safety features, including a rearview camera, a 4.3-inch touch-screen UVO infotainment system, a moonroof, navigation, dual-zone automatic climate control, push-button start, power-adjustable front seats, leather upholstery, a ventilated driver's seat, and heated seats. The Forte Koup is available with most of these options as well.

If cargo space is a priority, the Kia Forte5 SX is for you. It has the highest cargo capacity of the three body styles. It also has the top performance specs in the lineup, as it comes standard with a powerful turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The Forte5 SX is also available with all the Forte EX's available features. A similarly equipped Forte Koup SX is also available.

See 2016 Kia Forte trims and specs »

What Does Kia's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Kia offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles five years old or less and with fewer than 60,000 miles. Eligibility is determined by the vehicle’s initial sale date. 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 comprehensive Platinum warranty on non-powertrain parts after the five-year/60,000-mile new-car warranty expires. Every CPO Kia must pass a 164-point inspection. Additional benefits like towing and roadside assistance may be available, so read the Kia warranty page carefully.

According to our analysis, Kia has one of the best CPO programs among affordable car manufacturers.

See the best CPO programs »

How Safe Is the Forte?

The 2016 Kia Forte earned the top score of Good in four Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash tests. It received the second-lowest rating of Marginal in the small overlap front crash test. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the Forte sedan a perfect five-star overall rating. The NHTSA also gave the Forte five stars in the side crash test and four stars in the frontal and rollover evaluations. 

The only available active safety feature is a rearview camera. Many rivals, including the 2016 Mazda3 and 2016 Honda Civic, come standard with a rearview camera and are available with additional crash prevention features like blind spot monitoring, forward collision warning, and adaptive cruise control.

See Forte safety scores »

2016 Kia Forte Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2016 Kia Forte or 2016 Toyota Corolla?

The 2016 Toyota Corolla and 2016 Kia Forte have a lot in common. On the plus side, both offer roomy cabins and easy-to-use infotainment systems. On the negative side, they both have dull handling and few active safety features. Though the Corolla has a smoother ride and better fuel economy estimates, the Forte is the better choice. It provides more cargo space and stronger engine options than the Corolla.

Which Is Better: 2016 Kia Forte or 2016 Kia Rio?

There are two major differences between these Kia vehicles: performance and space. For sporty handling and ride engagement, go with the 2016 Kia Rio. It has a peppy base engine, sharp steering, and a sport-tuned suspension that make it fun to drive. The Rio is roomy for a subcompact car, but if cargo and seating space are important to you, the Forte is the way to go.

Which Is Better: 2016 Kia Forte or 2016 Mazda3?

If you want to have some fun behind the wheel, we recommend the 2016 Mazda3. It’s one of the best performers in the class, offering engaging driving dynamics, composed cornering, and quick steering. Better still, the Mazda3’s sporty handling doesn’t compromise ride comfort. It also has an upscale interior that comes with more standard features than the Forte, including push-button start, a user-friendly infotainment system, and a rearview camera. Additionally, it’s available with advanced safety features like automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, and lane departure warning – none of which the Forte has.

Compare the Forte, Corolla, and Mazda3 »

2016 Forte Performance

How Does the 2016 Kia Forte Drive?

With its 145-horsepower, 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine, the 2016 Kia Forte sedan has adequate power for commuting. A more powerful 173-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is available. The hatchback (Forte5) and coupe (Koup) models come standard with the 2.0-liter engine. For highway-ready acceleration and passing power, there is a 201-horsepower, turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder, which comes standard in SX coupes and hatchbacks.

Front-wheel drive and a six-speed manual transmission are standard, and a six-speed automatic transmission is available. The Forte has a fairly comfortable ride, but its handling isn’t as engaging as that of competing cars.

Does the 2016 Kia Forte Get Good Gas Mileage?

The Forte sedan with the base engine and automatic transmission gets an EPA-estimated 26 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway, which are on par with rivals’ estimates.

Read more about Forte performance »

2016 Forte Interior

How Many People Does the 2016 Forte Seat?

The 2016 Kia Forte comes in sedan, coupe, and hatchback body styles, all of which seat five people on cloth upholstery. Upgraded cloth upholstery, leather upholstery, heated front and rear seats, a 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, a ventilated driver’s seat, and a heated steering wheel are available. Both the front and rear have ample seating space. Even tall adults have plenty of space in the back seats, which is rare for the class.

The 2016 Forte has a handsome cabin made with premium materials that are particularly nice in upper trims.

How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2016 Kia Forte?

The rear outboard seats have complete sets of LATCH connectors for child safety seats, and the middle seat has an upper tether. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Forte's LATCH system an Acceptable rating, the second-highest, for its ease of use.

2016 Kia Forte Features

Standard features are impressive for a compact car at this price point and include a four-speaker stereo, Bluetooth, an auxiliary input, cruise control, and a USB port. The Forte also has a generous list of available features, which include push-button start, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, a moonroof, Pandora internet radio, a six-speaker stereo, HD Radio, and Kia's user-friendly 4.3-inch touch-screen UVO infotainment system with smartphone integration.

See 2016 Kia Forte specs »

Read more about Forte interior »

2016 Kia Forte Dimensions

Kia Forte Cargo Space

The Forte has generous cargo space, no matter which body style you choose. The sedan has 14.9 cubic feet of trunk space; the hatchback has 23.2 cubic feet of cargo space behind its rear seats; and the Koup has 13.3 cubic feet of cargo space. All Forte body styles come standard with 60/40 split-folding rear seats.

2016 Forte Length and Weight

The Kia Forte5 is almost 14.2 feet long, the Koup is about 14.8 feet long, and the sedan measures about 14.9 feet long. The Forte sedan has a gross vehicle weight of between 3,836 and 3,902 pounds, depending on model and transmission. The Forte5 hatchback’s weight ranges from 3,968 to 4,057 pounds, and the Koup model weighs between 3,924 and 4,012 pounds.

Where Was the 2016 Kia Forte Built?

The 2016 Forte was manufactured in Mexico.


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