When it comes to recommending an affordable new compact sedan with an excellent warranty, the Kia Forte is generally among the first vehicles that come to mind. That recommendation looks like it's about to get even easier because the Forte is getting a midcycle refresh for the 2022 model year, according to an announcement by Kia on Monday.
For those of you who don't speak fluent car industry, a midcycle refresh typically involves updating an existing model with some styling tweaks inside and out, some more tech and maybe a little more power. It's not a whole new generation, but it's different enough from the previous Kia Forte to be worth talking about.
The 2022 Forte gets some pretty sweet new front-end styling that kind of mimics the very handsome Stinger vibe going on here, which we like too. Out back there's a new trunk lid spoiler, and on GT and GT-Line trims there's new LED lighting too.-- at least from a lighting standpoint. It also gets Kia's new badge, which we like. There's still a baby
The real changes, though, come inside the cabin. There's now an available 10.25-inch widescreen display on GT and GT-Line trims and a larger 4.2-inch TFT LCD info screen in the instrument cluster, which is standard across the whole range. Wirelessand are now standard, too.
The 2022 Forte also benefits from more standard driver safety technology. This includes lane keep assist, lane follow assist, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, driver attention warning and lane departure warning. That's not bad, but as we said in our review of the 2020 model, we wish you didn't have to pay extra for more safety features that are included as standard on other models.
The Forte's optional safety tech list is more impressive. Buyers can get intelligent cruise control that will slow for corners. There's also Kia's Highway Driving Assistant, which we know and like. Rear cross-traffic alert is optional, as is Kia's safe exit warning system, which will alert you if someone is zooming up and might hit you or your door when you're exiting the vehicle.
When it comes to mechanical stuff, the Forte mostly remains the same. The 2.0-liter MPI four-cylinder engine is standard on all trims aside from the GT trim. It produces 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque and is paired exclusively with a continuously variable transmission. In the base FE trim, Kia says this setup is good for 41 mpg on the highway.
The sportier GT trim gets a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. You can get it with a six-speed manual transmission or a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The GT also gets a multilink rear suspension and a dual-mode sports exhaust.
The 2022 Kia Forte will start $20,085 including a $995 destination fee, and Kia expects it to hit dealers now-ish.
Update, 4:56 p.m. PT: Added pricing and availability.