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Toyota and Honda have long been the gold standard for reliability. That’s especially true for their compact cars the Corolla and the Civic. However, a new study shows the most reliable small car isn’t a Toyota or Honda. It’s the Kia Forte.

The Kia Forte is the most reliable small car in a new study

2023 Kia Forte, the most reliable small car according to J.D. Power
2023 Kia Forte | Kia

Reliability is one of the most important considerations when shopping for a car. If you drive a dependable vehicle, it will likely have fewer problems, last longer, run better, and get you to your destination safely.

The Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic are famous for their reliability. However, the most reliable small car in a new J.D. Power study is the Kia Forte. The data analytics firm recently unveiled the results of the 2023 Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS), listing the top three vehicles in each segment. Among compact cars, the Forte took the top spot, followed by the Corolla and the Hyundai Elantra.

Why did the Kia Forte win for dependability?

Dashboard in 2023 Kia Forte, most reliable compact car, not a Toyota or Honda, says J.D. Power
2023 Kia Forte | Kia

With its thorough analysis and decades of experience evaluating cars, J.D. Power is a trusted authority in the automotive industry. The company conducts various studies throughout the year, but one of the most watched is the Vehicle Dependability Study. 

For the 2023 VDS, J.D. Power received thousands of surveys from owners of 2020 model-year vehicles over the previous 12 months. Survey respondents reported issues in nine vehicle categories covering 184 problem areas. They include driving experience, infotainment, climate, driving assistance, exterior, interior, seats, powertrain, and features/controls/displays. 

Because the Kia Forte had the fewest issues in those areas, J.D. Power named it the most reliable small car — ahead of the Corolla, Elantra, Civic, and all other rivals in the segment.

Kia is also 1 of the most reliable car brands

Aside from the Forte earning the award for most reliable small car, Kia ranks as one of the most dependable automakers. In the 2023 Vehicle Dependability Study, J.D. Power named Kia the third most reliable car brand — behind only Lexus and Genesis. Lexus is Toyota’s luxury division, while Genesis is Hyundai’s luxury brand. Also, among mainstream vehicle brands, Kia is the best for reliability, well ahead of Toyota and Honda. 

Like its Forte, the South Korean automaker fared well in the 2023 VDS due to fewer problems than most other automakers. Also, the small car wasn’t the only Kia model that earned the top reliability honor. J.D. Power named the Kia Optima the most reliable midsize car. In addition, the Kia Sorento earned the second spot for midsize SUV reliability, behind only the Toyota Highlander.

Highlights of the Forte

Another strength of the Kia Forte is affordability. This budget-friendly choice starts at only $19,690 for a new 2023 model. Further adding to its affordability are its generous warranties, including five-year/60,000-mile basic coverage and a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. 

The compact car is also fuel-efficient, with an estimated gas mileage of 28/39 mpg city/highway. Plus, it includes a lengthy list of features as standard equipment. 

On top of all that, J.D. Power declares the Kia Forte the most reliable small car, beating its rivals the Corolla and Civic.