The 2022 Kia Forte: Does NHTSA Think It’s a Deathtrap?

The 2022 Kia Forte offers an attractive price point, but it leaves a bit to be desired in terms of car safety. The new Forte has less than excellent safety scores from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Here’s why you might want to consider a different car if you’re worried about safety ratings. 

Is the 2022 Kia Forte safe?

The NHTSA gave the 2022 Kia Forte a four-star safety rating. In comparison, a similarly priced 2022 Hyundai Elantra has a five-star overall safety rating. However, it gets a bit worse when you delve into the NHTSA’s Forte testing subcategories.   

The 2022 Kia Forte, pictured here in gray, has a big issue with the NHTSA safety ratings.
2022 Kia Forte | Kia

What is the problem with the Forte? 

Specifically, the 2022 Kia Forte has a worrisome side-impact safety rating. Although the new Forte got a five-star rating from the NHTSA in the overall side crashworthiness ratings, there is a caveat. The NHTSA added a bothersome footnote: the test subjects had elevated impacts to the torso in side-impact trials. 

Unfortunately, that means that in a crash, occupants may experience more energy and intrusion in the cabin. The NHTSA reports that the left rear door intrudes too much into the rear passenger space during a side barrier crash at 38.5 mph. Consequently, the door intrusion is likely to strike an occupant and cause injuries in the event of such a crash.  

Is 2022 the first Forte model year with problems?

In addition to the 2022 Kia Forte’s side-impact follies, the preceding 2021 model year had the same issue. The NHTSA reported that, like the 2022 model year, the 2021 model transferred dangerous energy to occupants, and the occupants may experience high lower spine movement in excess of 82 g’s. As a result, passengers may incur thoracic injuries. 

How does the IIHS score the new Forte? 

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) scores the 2022 Kia Forte higher than the NHTSA. Specifically, the IIHS gives the Forte a ‘good’ rating in nearly every category. While that may not sound like a monumental score, ‘good’ is the highest rating the IIHS gives test vehicles. 

The 2022 Kia Forte has less-than-excellent safety ratings from the NHTSA.
2022 Kia Forte on the road | Kia

Also, unlike the NHTSA, the IIHS gave the 2022 Kia Forte good reviews in side-impact crashworthiness. The Forte’s rear passenger torso injury tests passed with an IIHS ‘good’ rating, unlike the negative footnote that the NHTSA assigned to the car. 

Should you avoid the 2022 Kia Forte?

According to the NHTSA, car shoppers should be aware of the side rear passenger testing results. Also, Consumer Reports doesn’t recommend the 2022 Kia Forte, making it the only car in the compact sedan segment they don’t recommend. Still, the IIHS gives the 2022 Kia Forte passing scores in nearly every crashworthiness category. 

However, consumers might be better off buying a 2022 Subaru Impreza, with good safety scores and standard all-wheel drive (AWD). Furthermore, the 2022 Honda Civic is reliable, affordable, and safe. Either of those two sedans might be a better buy than a Forte. Scroll down to the following article to read more about how the Civic stacks up against the Forte!


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