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Recently redesigned last year, the Kia Forte is a smart small sedan offering tons of value. The entry-level 2020 Forte comes loaded with driver assistance features and amenities that exceed the base rosters for its competitors. It has been an excellent car for the Kia portfolio over the last 10 years.

There are, however, a few isolated model years that presented serious complications for some Forte owners. If you are thinking about finding a used Kia Forte, there is one model year in particular that you should steer clear of altogether.

Common complaints over the last decade

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We turn to for reports from actual vehicle owners, citing issues, repairs, and recalls. When reviewing the complaints collected from Kia Forte owners, there are a few problematic years and common issues.

For example, the 2012 models show concerns with a lack of engine power and occasional reports of oil leaks. The 2017 Forte models have complaints about the gas door sticking closed and the engine running roughly. There is one model year, aside from these, that is considered the worst of all.

The worst year for the Kia Forte

You may have heard consumers refer to the practice of avoiding the first year for any vehicle, to allow the manufacturer to ‘work out the bugs’ before you take the plunge and buy one for yourself. For the Kia Forte, this sentiment certainly applies.

Launched initially in 2010, the Kia Forte may have tripped out of the gate. categorizes the 2010 model year as the worst, due to the number of complaints, average repair costs, and average mileage when the issues present themselves.

The big problem? Kia Forte owners report engine knocking around 94,000 miles. The average repair costs were $2,300, causing some ownership pains in the pocketbook.

Does the Kia Forte show improvements in more recent years?

Of course, not all Kia Forte models for those problematic years experienced issues. And, Kia did get things right in the years since 2010. In fact, consumer complaints are isolated and minor for 2015, 2016, and 2018 model years.

If you’re keeping your eye on the classifieds for one of the more recent Forte models, you’re probably looking at a great little sedan. It’s clear that practice made perfect for the Kia Forte.

What the 2020 Kia Forte has to offer this year

Your budget may be open to a new Kia Forte instead of a used one. The 2020 Forte starts at $17,890, and at the range-topping Forte GT level, the price tag is only $22,490. New this year are the GT and GT line of trims, which you may love.

There are already tons of standard features, great fuel economy, and an intuitive infotainment system. Knowing you have the generous Kia warranty coverages will put your mind at ease, too, for future concerns.

What’s under the hood now?

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Buying a Kia Forte today will have you behind the wheel of a 2.0L four-cylinder engine, and 147 horses. The six-speed manual transmission comes at the entry-level FE, while the continuously variable automatic transmission comes standard on each trim level on up.

The newly available GT brings a turbocharged 1.6L four-cylinder, for those who want 201hp. The engine knocking of 2010 doesn’t seem to be an issue for the latest powertrain configurations.

Not all vehicles are created equal. While some consumers experience issues with certain models, others may not. The best practice here is to know what years are problematic so that you can be educated in your used car shopping efforts. If you want to avoid used models altogether, you won’t be disappointed with a 2020 Kia Forte either.


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