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Yep. Turns out, the 2021 Kia Forte has a manual transmission. Just looking at the thing, it’s not the car you’d think to be rocking some special Kia GT bits and a stick shift. Well, here it sits. Moreover, the Forte also sits at a pretty impressive price point. You’re getting a lot of power and a little bit more fun for your money with the top-of-the-line GT trim.

Obviously, you do have to option out the brand’s small sedan to get it to that point, but that’s, well, besides the point. The point here is just how much you’re getting for your money.

A fully loaded Forte is an amazing value proposition

A blue 2021 Kia Forte GT shot in front of a pond from the front 3/4
The Kia 2021 Forte GT Sport | Kia

Supposing you do want to load up a 2021 Kia Forte, you’ve got to start with the performance-leaning GT trim level. That, per KBB, starts at $22,790. Crazy considering the Stinger shares that name, starting well north of $30,000. Regardless, you’re getting a lot of car for the money with the Forte GT.

For starters, you get a 201 hp 1.6-liter motor and your choice of transmission. That means either a 7-speed dual-clutch unit or a good ol’ 6-speed manual transmission. However, that’s not all you’d need to option one out. For that, you’ll need the GT2 package for your 2021 Kia Forte. That comes with a load of luxury extras like nicer seats, an upgraded stereo, and a sunroof.

Is the 2021 Kia Forte GT a good car?

A red 2019 Kia Forte on stage at an auto show shot from the 3/4 angle
The Forte hasn’t changed much since 2019 | Bill Pugliano via Getty Images

Out the door that brings the cost of this hypothetical Forte GT to $27,825. That, by the way, also includes a destination charge of $995. But does the added fanciness and power a good car make? Generally, yes. The Kia Forte GT is a good car, if a bit of a jack of all trades. It does all things well, however, it doesn’t exceed at any one thing.

Well, aside from being a sub-$30,000 Golf GTI competitor. On the driving side, the Golf takes it, but the 2021 Kia Forte GT is certainly a better value. That’s usually a title reserved for the GTI, so well done Kia. Clearly, the boys and girls at Kia are looking to undercut the market in every way. The Forte beats the GTI in price, an the same goes for the Stinger GT and the Audi S4.

The Forte brings a manual transmission and some competiton to the party

The manual transmission in the new Kia Forte
The Kia Forte’s optional manual transmission | Kia

The inclusion of the manual transmission is almost a necessity. Without it, the Forte GT is something that just can’t compete with a GTI. No matter how good the car is, it would be held back by the lack of that transmission. Now, Kia needs to put a little more cash into pushing the driving dynamics of the Forte further, and we’ll have an honest-to-God GTI killer on our hands.


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