The team at Car and Driver recently took a look at current hot hatches. Two of them were the 2020 Honda Civic Si and the 2020 Kia Forte GT. The magazine’s reviewers loved the Honda Civic Si for its handling, smooth shifting, and fuel efficiency. But they appreciated the Kia Forte GT’s sporty appeal, power, and affordability.
So, which one performed better overall? Here are the results.
The 2020 Honda Civic Si
Car and Driver‘s reviewers found the 2020 Honda Civic Si, now in its 10th generation, to be a great vehicle. It felt alive and eager, unlike most cars on today’s market, they said. They also loved its responsiveness, handling on curves, and fun driving experience.
Well, most of the time.
Sure, the short gearing makes the 2020 Honda Civic Si engaging on winding country roads. But it isn’t nearly as much fun on the highway, where its constant drone became annoying, Car and Driver’s reviewers reported. They said the noise the Honda Civic Si emits — the buzz of the turbocharged 4-cylinder engine — isn’t all authentic.
A few other things detracted from the driving experience. They didn’t care for the interior’s metal knobs, which can burn your hand if they’ve been sitting in the sun for hours. Plus, the reviewers didn’t like the seats’ fixed headrests and a lack of lumbar adjustment.
They also pointed out that the fake vents, spoiler, and black wheels made the Si feel a little outdated, making them self-conscious while driving it. They thought the interior was lacking and dated too.
Though they loved the Honda Civic Si‘s fuel efficiency at 31 mpg, they weren’t fans of the less refined interior that used drab materials and looked dated. But they’re excited about the next Civic Si’s possibilities.
The 2020 Kia Forte GT
The 2020 Kia Forte GT’s exterior evokes the Stinger sports sedan, Car and Driver reported. It’s eye-catching with an impressive list of high-value features. It comes as only a sedan and offers plenty of tech, two engines, and good fuel efficiency.
Though the Forte GT is affordable, Car and Driver’s reviewers say they’d pay a little more for a better driving experience. When compared with the Honda Civic Si, the Forte doesn’t control body motions, its shifting is a mess, and the steering isn’t as responsive.
You could probably muscle past the individual Forte GT’s issues for a decent, affordable vehicle. But all of the problems combined result in a disappointing ride.
On the test track, the Forte GT performed well. The team said it could make it up to 60 mph in 6.7 seconds, only 0.1 seconds behind the Honda Civic Si. The Forte had a shorter stop from 70 mph, at 157 feet.
Which one is better overall?
On the open road, one car pulled away as the winner. The Kia Forte GT struggled to keep up with the Honda Civic Si. One Car and Driver staff editor even said the Forte was “out of its depth here.”
Between busy ride motions and weird suspension noises, the team was less confident driving the Forte at higher speeds. The Forte GT’s 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine offers a smoother ride than the 1.5 of the Honda Civic Si. However, the Forte’s shifter and clutch pedal kill any enthusiasm for its power pretty quickly.
Though the Forte doesn’t offer the most dynamic drive, it beats the Civic Si when it comes to looks. The GT stying makes it appear more aggressive in a good way. Driving the Forte GT with its sporty looks will make you happy to turn heads, not hide in embarrassment.
Overall, the 2020 Kia Forte GT is visually appealing and affordable. But it can’t match the driving chops of the 2020 Honda Civic Si.