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One of the ways to stand out in the fiercely competitive compact sedan segment is by presenting incredible value. Subsequently, manufacturers pack their economy cars full of desirable features with an MSRP just north of $20,000. The 2023 Kia Forte is a prime example of a budget-conscious four-door that has the potential to offer great value.

The 2023 Kia Forte’s impressive fuel economy figures and industry-leading warranty place it high on the list of the best compact sedans. With four trim levels to choose from, though, picking the right Forte may be slightly challenging. Fortunately, Edmunds waded into the conversation to offer the most popular consumer selection.

What trim levels does the 2023 Kia Forte have?

2023 Kia Forte
2023 Kia Forte interior | Kia

The base 2023 Kia Forte LX comes with cloth upholstery all around. Also, a Bluetooth-capable eight-inch touchscreen and a four-speaker stereo with wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. A host of standard safety features are a welcome sight on a car in its price bracket. They include automatic emergency braking, automatic high-beam headlights, driver-attention monitoring, forward collision warning, lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist, and pedestrian detection. It’s also stocked with that all-important rearview camera. MSRP begins at $19,690, per Kia.

The $20,190 LXS trim gains likable soft-touch interior surfaces and split-folding rear seats to enhance cargo space. For an extra $500, Kia offers the LXS Technology package, which adds blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and vehicle-exit warning.

GT-Line Fortes have a base MSRP of $21,690. They gain the LXS Technology package, sport seats with synthetic leather inserts, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and other sporty interior and exterior styling upgrades. On the tech side, the GT-Line has a 10.25-inch touchscreen, navigation, satellite radio, and a six-speaker audio system. Unfortunately, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are wired functions. Regardless, dual-zone automatic climate control, a hands-free power trunk lid, keyless entry, and a push-button start are highlights. Packages ranging between $300 and $1,700 are also available, offering premium materials, better sound systems, and more safety features. The top-of-the-line Forte GT features the before-mentioned extra packages optional on the GT-Line.

For $24,190, the GT swaps the 147-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder for a 201-horsepower 1.6-liter turbo-four. The powerplant includes a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic with paddle shifters or a six-speed manual for $700 more. A sports-tuned suspension is also a plus for performance-inclined potential buyers.

2023 Kia Forte
2023 Kia Forte | Kia

Based on consumer analysis, Edmunds says the 2023 Kia Forte with the LXS trim is the most popular. The jump from the base model adds nice touches to make the interior a better place to be. Moreover, the folding rear seats enhance the above-average 15.3 cubic feet of cargo space.

When it comes to the opinion of Edmunds reviewers, however, they prefer a higher trim level. They assert, “based on last year’s Forte, we’re partial to the GT-Line trim.” Reviewers note the “long list of features on top of the supporting models” and the fact that it’s “eligible for many more options.”

Which 2023 Kia Forte trim level should you select?


2023 Kia Forte vs. 2022 Kia Forte: What’s Changed?

The 2023 Kia Forte GT (particularly in the manual-spec) is the choice for those looking for a modern, speedy small car. As one of the few stick-shift small cars left, it’s an intriguing selection.

For those looking to keep the monthly car note down, the LXS is the better alternative. Although it’s $500 more than the base LX, the split-folding rear seats help those looking to pack their compact full. Furthermore, the wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay features of the LXS are much more user-friendly than the upper trim levels.