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The 2020 Kia Forte Still Can’t Measure up to the Honda Civic

The Kia Forte a fuel-efficient and affordable option for sedan shoppers. The car got a full redesign for the 2019 model year. The Forte now has more legroom, cargo space, and a brand-new interior design. It also received some desirable standard features like smartphone integration.

While demand for sedans has decreased in recent years, the Forte is still up against some stiff competition. Its biggest rival is the Honda Civic, which has been one of the most popular cars on the market for years. Does the Forte’s redesign put it on par with the Civic? Kelley Blue Book recently did a comparison test of the two models, and here’s what they found.

What’s inside the Kia Forte

The Kia Forte gets great gas mileage, coming in at a combined 31 mpg with the standard manual transmission. With the optional CVT, drivers can get up to 33 mpg combined. However, the base engine inside the Forte is underpowered: a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 147 hp.

If you upgrade to the new GT trim, you get a turbo 1.6-liter engine capable of 201 hp. This is the most expensive version of the Forte, but it’s still affordable at around $23,000. The GT trim also comes with a few exclusive safety features: cruise control and parking monitors.

What’s new for the Honda Civic

While the Honda Civic hasn’t been fully redesigned since 2016, it has gotten some exterior refreshments since then. Unlike the Kia Forte, the Civic is also available as a hatchback model, which gives drivers more cargo space. It also has a slightly more powerful base engine.

Although the two engines are similar, the one inside the Civic has a little more pep. For those who want a more thrilling drive, the Civic Type R comes with a turbocharged 306-hp engine. The EX hatchbacks get the best fuel economy of up to 34 mpg combined.

The Honda Civic’s advantages

KBB liked that the Honda Civic isn’t limited to just one body style. They also found that the interior has a better layout than the Kia Forte’s. The Honda Civic is also one of the most reliable sedans you can buy. In a previous comparison, KBB also noted that the Civic has a higher resale value than the Forte.

According to KBB, the Honda Civic Si is the best option. It comes in a coupe body style with a 205-hp engine. However, it’s a bit more expensive than the similar Forte GT at $26,000. Still, other critics agree that its overall performance is well worth the extra cash.

The Kia Forte still shines

The Kia Forte has a better selection of standard infotainment features than the Civic. The Civic only comes with a 5-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, and a single USB port. The Forte has a larger and more responsive touchscreen, plus standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. 

The Kia Forte has a higher ride height, making it a better car for taller drivers. It also has a better warranty out of the two vehicles. The Forte has a 10-year/100,000-mile warranty, whereas the maximum for the Civic is 5 years/60,000 miles.

The Honda Civic won KBB’s favor

Unsurprisingly, KBB decided that the Honda Civic was the best car overall. Even though the Kia Forte offers cheaper models, none of them are as refined as the Civic’s versions. However, this doesn’t make the Kia Forte a bad car by any means.

It won Best Compact Car for the Money from U.S. News and a Top Safety Pick+ designation from the IIHS. If you’re not a fan of the Honda Civic, the Kia Forte is a worthy alternative.