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Kia’s compact sedan has been a hit with consumers. In fact, the Forte is the brand’s best-selling car. But despite its popularity, this small sedan shows some safety concerns. Here’s a look at the Kia Forte’s recent safety ratings and sales numbers. 

The most popular Kia car, the 2023 Forte, drives on a two-lane mountain highway
2023 Kia Forte GT | Kia

Kia sold 394,333 Forte models during the first two quarters of 2023. That means sales have increased year-over-year for Kia by 18%, as the company sold 333,340 units during the first half of 2022. Overall, the most popular Kia model is the Sportage compact crossover SUV, which accounts for 71,889 of the vehicles sold thus far in 2023. Coming in a close second is the Forte, contributing to 62,061 of the brand’s units sold in the first half of this year. 

This data indicates the 2023 Forte is the most popular Kia car, selling more units than other cars in the lineup, including the K5, Rio, and Stinger. The Forte has also experienced considerable gains year-over-year, with sales growth increasing by 20% from the first half of 2022 to the first half of 2023. 

Compared to the over 60,000 Forte units sold, other Kia cars have not moved as many. The data shows that during the first half of 2023, Kia sold 30,897 K5 units, 14,196 Rio units, and 4,554 Stinger units. Those three Kia cars also experienced a sales drop year-over-year. 

Despite its popularity, the Kia Forte has safety concerns 

Despite this Kia sedan’s popularity, the Forte has an alarming safety concern. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the 2023 Kia Forte has an overall safety rating of four out of five stars. The NHTSA’s 5-Star Safety Ratings test analyzes each vehicle’s safety regarding frontal crashes, side crashes, and rollovers. 

The 2023 Kia Forte received an overall frontal crash rating of four out of five stars, with the front driver side being deemed slightly safer than the front passenger side. Regarding the Forte’s overall side crash safety rating, the sedan earned five out of five stars. However, the data also indicates the safety of rear passengers is elevated during side crashes because the rear passenger’s thoracic and abdominal rib deflections were elevated during testing. Finally, regarding its rollover rating, the Forte received four out of five stars when the test indicated this Kia car has a 10.70% rollover risk. 

In addition, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) test results indicate rear passengers are more at risk during crashes. During the updated moderate overlap front test, the 2022 and 2023 Kia Forte received poor ratings overall from the IIHS. While driver injury measures earned good ratings, rear passenger injury measures received good, marginal, and poor ratings. The testing indicates the most at-risk area for rear passengers during a crash is the head/neck, with the chest at risk too. 

That said, the IIHS stresses that the results of its updated testing do not mean the Forte fails at protecting its passengers.

Is the 2023 Kia Forte a good car?

Despite the safety concerns for rear passengers, the Kia Forte is an excellent car. Its biggest perks are affordability, practicality, and reliability. Indeed, the 2023 Kia Forte won “Most Dependable Compact Car” honors from J.D. Power.

In addition, the 2023 Kia Forte offers four trim levels — LX, LXS, GT-Line, and GT — for various tastes and budgets. Starting prices are $19,690 for the LX, $20,190 for the LXS, $21,890 for the GT-Line, and $24,390 for the GT. The base model has a 147-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, an intelligent variable transmission, and Bluetooth wireless technology with hands-free connectivity. 

In addition, with Kia Drive-wise driver-assistance technology, the LX and LXS have lane-keeping assist, driver attention warning, and rear occupant alert systems. The GT-Line and GT boast additional advanced safety features. They include automatic emergency braking, blind-spot detection, adaptive cruise control, rear cross-traffic collision avoidance, and safe exit warning.