Car and Driver and Consumer Reports Disagree on the Kia Forte

Car reviews can often help you decide whether to purchase a particular model. But what happens when two well-respected sites wildly disagree on a vehicle? If the 2022 Kia Forte were on your shortlist of compact cars to purchase, Car and Driver would agree. However, Consumer Reports would not.

Car and Driver’s thoughts on the 2022 model

2022 Kia Forte parked in front of mountains at sunset
2022 Kia Forte | Kia

To be clear, Car and Driver doesn’t hail the 2022 Kia Forte as best in class. But C/D’s reviewers think this compact sedan is solid for its segment, with attractive styling and laudable tech options. The 2022 Forte boasts a redesigned look, starting with new bumpers and wheel designs, a refreshed grille, and sleek exterior lights.

Under the hood, the sedan’s FE and LXS trims pack a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine producing 147 hp and 132 lb-ft of torque. While the 0–60 mph acceleration time of 8.2 seconds isn’t competitive with others in the class, it does achieve an above-average combined fuel economy of 33 mpg.

The GT-Line and GT models come with a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder generating 201 hp and hitting 60 mph in 6.7 seconds. According to Car and Driver, all trims suffer in handling a bit — especially compared with rivals like the Honda Civic and Mazda3 — but provide a comfortable ride overall.

C/D found more to like inside the 2022 Kia Forte. It offers plenty of legroom and headroom and more overall cargo space than many competitors. Though an 8.0-inch touchscreen comes standard in the FE and LXS, a sizable new 10.3-inch touchscreen comes with GT-Line and GT models. Furthermore, all trims come with a 4.2-inch color digital cluster display.

In addition, all trim levels come with advanced safety features such as automatic emergency braking and lane departure warning with lane-keep assist, though more driver’s aids are optional.

Consumer Reports thinks the 2022 Kia Forte is terrible

While Car and Driver mainly took issue with the Kia Forte’s underperformance relative to rivals, Consumer Reports found much more to dislike. CR is well known for testing cars, and the 2022 Forte faired poorly in several areas. It earned an abysmal overall score of 39 out of 100, mainly owing to three factors.

On its road test, the Forte earned a 67 out of 100. Though the car offers responsive handling, CR noted it also has a stiff suspension, so drivers and passengers will feel every bit of road unevenness. They’ll also get engine and wind noise penetrating the cabin. CR also notes the seats aren’t exceptionally comfortable and lack back support, which doesn’t help the suspension issue.

Also, the 2022 Kia Forte received only 1 out of 5 in predicted reliability. C/R determines that score by evaluating the results of its subscriber survey, which indicates owner-identified problems with past models. Based on those results, Kia Forte owners might have to contend with transmission, brake, paint, body, and power equipment issues. Of course, those issues aren’t a foregone conclusion yet, but Forte owners have experienced them in the past, so they bear consideration.

At least Kia offers a generous powertrain warranty of 10 years or 100,00 miles. However, CR gave the 2022 Forte only 1 out of 5 for predicted owner satisfaction, based on four categories: styling, value, driving experience, and comfort. CR gave the car higher marks for the first two (68 and 63) than the last two (57 and 42). But all of those scores are pretty bad.

So, is the 2022 Kia Forte a good car?

Though Car and Driver offered more praise for the Kia Forte’s styling and interior than Consumer Reports did, both sites dinged the sedan for its relative underperformance. And though the 2022 Forte starts at just $19,090, most of its rivals start within a couple thousand of that MSRP. So why not spend a little more for better performance and a quieter ride?

CR’s low predicted reliability score is also a cause for concern. The generous Kia warranty notwithstanding, who wants to be at the dealership dealing with constant repairs? That’s especially true when you can get the same great warranty with a Hyundai Elantra, a better performer at a comparable MSRP.

In fact, Consumer Reports ranked the Kia Forte last out of 12 cars in its segment, including the Elantra. Both sites also laud the Honda Civic, Mazda3, and Volkswagen Jetta GLI as better performers. And given that CR thinks each is a more reliable option, you might be better off buying one of those four.

RELATED: There’s 1 Reason to Pick the 2021 Kia Forte Over the Hyundai Elantra