2022 Honda Civic Crushes the 2022 Kia Forte in Compact Competency

2022 Honda Civic and 2022 Kia Forte comparison highlights:

  • A mildly-refreshed 2022 Kia Forte has to deal with a redesigned 2022 Honda Civic lineup
  • The 2022 Forte is cheaper and depending on the trim, more efficient, but it doesn’t ride or handle as well as the Civic
  • It’s more expensive than the Kia, and some of its best features are only reserved for the range-topping trims, but the 2022 Honda Civic is the better compact car overall

The Honda Civic has a long streak as a reigning compact car champ, and the 2022 model hasn’t dropped the ball so far. And that’s even without taking the sportier Civic Si and Type R into account. But there’s no shortage of contenders to the throne, including the 2022 Kia Forte. However, while the Forte comes in swinging, it seemingly can’t hit as hard as the Honda.

2022 Honda Civic2022 Kia Forte
Price Range$22,350-$29,850
(excluding Type R)
$19,090-$24,490
Engine OptionsLX, Sport: 2.0-liter four-cylinder
EX, EX-L, Sport Touring, Si: 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder
Type R: 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder
FE, XS, GT-Line: 2.0-liter four-cylinder
GT: 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder
HorsepowerLX, Sport: 158 hp
EX, EX-L, Sport, Sport Touring: 180 hp
Si: 200 hp
FE, XS, GT-Line: 147 hp
GT: 201 hp
TorqueLX, Sport: 138 lb-ft
EX, EX-L, Sport, Sport Touring: 177 lb-ft
Si: 192 lb-ft
FE, XS, GT-Line: 132 lb-ft
GT: 195 lb-ft
TransmissionCVT
Six-speed manual (Si, Sport and Sport Touring Hatchback)
CVT
Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic (GT)
Six-speed manual (GT)
MPG RatingLX Sedan: 31 mpg city/40 mpg highway
Sport Sedan: 30 mpg city/37 mpg highway
EX Sedan: 33 mpg city/42 mpg highway
Touring Sedan: 31 mpg city/38 mpg highway
Si: 27 mpg city/37 mpg highway
LX Hatchback: 30 mpg city/38 mpg highway
Sport Hatchback CVT: 29 mpg city/37 mpg highway
Sport Hatchback manual: 26 mpg city/36 mpg highway
EX-L Hatchback: 31 mpg city/39 mpg highway
Sport Touring Hatchback CVT: 28 mpg city/37 mpg highway
Sport Touring Hatchback manual: 30 mpg city/37 mpg highway
FE: 31 mpg city/41 mpg highway
XS, GT-Line: 29 mpg city/39 mpg highway
GT DCT: 27 mpg city/35 mpg highway
GT manual: 22 mpg city/31 mpg highway
IIHS Safety RatingTop Safety Pick+
Crashworthiness: Good
Crash avoidance & mitigation: Good
Child seat anchors: Good+ (Sedan)
Crashworthiness: Good
Crash avoidance & mitigation: Good
Child seat anchors: Acceptable
NHTSA Safety RatingNot yet ratedOverall: Four stars
Front Diver Side: Four stars
Front Passenger Side: Three stars
Overall Side: Five stars
Rollover: Four stars

2022 Honda Civic vs. 2022 Kia Forte: Overview and design

A gray 2022 Kia Forte GT on a canyon road
2022 Kia Forte GT | Kia

While the Kia Forte enters 2022 with a minor refresh, Honda redesigned the Civic for 2022. Honda’s compact now has a more sedate exterior, a more upscale interior, and some extra features, though the powertrains carry over.

In terms of exterior styling, the 2022 Forte is a bit sharper, though the 2022 Civic isn’t ugly by any means. Both compact cars’ interiors look and feel upscale, though. And while the 2022 Civic has slightly more legroom, the Forte has more rear cargo space, MotorTrend notes.

2022 Honda Civic vs. 2022 Kia Forte: Features and recommended trims

2022 Honda Civic Si sitting in the snow
2022 Honda Civic Si sitting in the snow | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

Given that the base 2022 Kia Forte FE is cheaper than the least-expensive 2022 Honda Civic LX, the Kia has an options list cost buffer. And even in its higher trims, the Forte is good value for money. However, the 2022 Civic arguably justifies its higher price tag in several ways.

On the plus side for 2022 Kia Forte buyers, the Korean compact offers a few options the Civic doesn’t get, such as rear-seat USB outlets and ventilated seats. But while adaptive cruise control is standard on every 2022 Civic, it’s still optional on lower Forte trims. And while the Forte’s touchscreens are bigger, the lCivic offers an optional digital gauge cluster and audio systems with more speakers. Plus, Kia has no answer to the upcoming Civic Type R. Nor is the Forte an IIHS Top Safety Pick.

For budget-conscious buyers, we recommend the 2022 Honda Civic Sedan EX. This gets you blind-spot monitoring, heated side mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, and an eight-speaker audio system. If you can splurge, the Sport Touring Hatchback is arguably the best non-performance trim. You get rain-sensing wipers, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a 9” touchscreen with navigation, wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, a 12-speaker Bose audio system, and a wireless charging pad, too.

For the 2022 Kia Forte, Car and Driver recommends the range-topping GT model. Not only is it the only trim that offers a manual, but you also get wireless charging, ambient interior lighting, rear parking assist, blind-spot monitoring, and a 10.3″ touchscreen. However, while the Civic Sport Touring has leather-trimmed seats, the Forte GT only has faux leather. Also, it only has an eight-speaker system and lacks standard adaptive cruise control. Plus, unlike the Civic Touring and Sport Touring, the Forte GT lacks a power-operated passenger’s seat.

2022 Honda Civic vs. 2022 Kia Forte: Driving

Admittedly, since the 2022 Honda Civic costs more than the 2022 Kia Forte, you’d expect it to offer more luxury features. But that’s not where the Civic really justifies its higher price tag. You’ll find that behind the wheel.

Even if you don’t go for the Civic Si, Honda’s compact is a fun car to drive. It has a composed chassis with light yet precise steering that has plenty of feedback. Furthermore, it “drives way, way better than it has to,” MotorTrend says. Yet despite showing surprising poise and stability, the 2022 Honda Civic still has a “supple” ride, Car and Driver reports. And if you do spring for the 2022 Civic Si, you get all that with more speed, even sharper handling, and a manual transmission that ranks among the world’s best.

The 2022 Kia Forte, on the other hand, ranks as one of the most disappointing cars according to Consumer Reports readers. Its CVT shifts harshly and its ride is rather stiff, but without any handling benefits, MotorTrend notes. And the Forte isn’t doing Kia any favors where reliability is concerned.

True, the Forte GT fixes some of these issues, especially in manual form, but only up to a point. While the Civic Si gets better as you push it, the GT gets worse, Car and Driver claims. It doesn’t fall apart, but it’s not quite at the Civic’s level.

Civic advantages

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In base form, the 2022 Honda Civic is more powerful than the equivalent 2022 Kia Forte. It also has more standard safety features and a higher IIHS rating. Plus, it rides more comfortably, handles better, and has better transmissions. And it’s more reliable. Honda offers the Civic as a hatchback, too, while the Forte is only available as a sedan.

In addition, compared to the 2022 Kia Forte GT, the 2022 Civic Si is more efficient. And because it’s roughly equivalent to the Sport Touring, it has a similar level of equipment, which means it offers some features the Forte lacks.

Forte advantages

RELATED: Edmunds Crowns the Honda Civic as Its Top Rated Sedan for 2022

Firstly, the 2022 Kia Forte is noticeably cheaper than the 2022 Honda Civic. And if you get the base FE trim, it’s more efficient than any Civic, so it should be cheaper to run. Plus, Kia has a longer warranty than Honda.

Secondly, the 2022 Forte typically offers a bit more tech than the equivalent 2022 Civic trim, though not necessarily more safety tech. And some Forte features aren’t found in any Civic.

Which compact car is right for you?

Although it’s hard to ignore the 2022 Kia Forte’s value advantage, it only goes so far. Yes, the 2022 Honda Civic costs more, but it does a lot to justify that higher sticker price.

That’s not to say the Forte is a bad or poorly-made car; it isn’t. But as in 2021, it’s not a Civic killer. In this battle of compact cars, Honda wins again.

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