12 Best & Worst Kia Forte Years (With Facts & Stats)

Making its debut for the 2010 model year, the Forte is a value-focused compact car that offers surprising levels quality.

It packs a punch when it comes to styling, desirable features, comfort and refinement.

If you’re interested to learn about which Forte models excel and which dissapoint, you’ve come to the right place…

Here’s The Short Answer To What The Best And Worst Years For The Kia Forte Are:

The best Kia Forte model years are 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2016, and 2011. The worst model years of the Forte are 2017, 2015, 2014, 2013, and 2012. This is based on auto industry reviews, NHTSA statistics, reported problems, and consumer feedback.

What Are The Best Years For The Kia Forte?

Kia has produced a lot of great Fortes in the model’s lifespan.

Listed below are those that deserve to be viewed as the best of the best...

2022 Kia Forte

The 2022 Kia Forte arrived with a revamped interior and exterior, without straying too far away from the handsome design that the vehicle line has been praised for.

The biggest changes are observed in its bumpers, grille, lighting components, and wheel design.

As one of the most recent models, 2022 should be one of the most flawless.

  • Edmunds: 4.7 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.0 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 83 / 100

2022 Kia Forte, Kelley Blue Book review:

“This car is the smoothest ride ever. It has everything I ever imagined I’m so thankful for having this car for me and my family. I like that it has sport, normal and smart drive modes.”

2021 Kia Forte, Edmunds review:

“It has all the things that a high ticket car has and it’s extremely well priced. If you’re looking for a small (not so small) reasonably priced, rides great and is pretty good looking, then the Kia Forte is the car for you.”

2021 Kia Forte

There were no significant changes for the 2021 Kia Forte (in comparison to the 2020 model year) but what is great about this model is that it has received very few complaints. 

The 2021 Forte stays true to form with slick styling and a generous features list whilst undercutting its rivals by thousands.

  • Edmunds: 4.2 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.0 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 82 / 100

2021 Kia Forte, Edmunds review:

“This car has been amazing! The manual GT version comes with standard summer tires which is an incredible value at about $21K USD. Kia really impressed me with the quality, technology and safety it offers…”

2021 Kia Forte, Edmunds review:

“We have liked the forte so far! Pretty comfortable, responsive and with many safety features. Given the overall price of other similar cars, this one was a good choice!”

2020 Kia Forte

The 2020 Kia Forte retained most of the well-loved features of the previous model years and even added two new variants/trim levels.

Much like its recent iterations, the 2020 Forte offers a calm and easy ride, ideal for highway cruising.

It has also received minimal complaints according to NHTSA data, and is less problematic than both the 2021 and 2019 model years.

  • Edmunds: 4.4 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.0 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 83 / 100

2020 Kia Forte, Kelley Blue Book review:

“We have liked the forte so far! Pretty comfortable, responsive and with many safety features. Given the overall price of other similar cars, this one was a good choice!”

2019 Kia Forte

The 2019 Kia Forte debuted with a revamped exterior styling, updated active safety features, and a new and improved (standardized) touch-screen infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capabilities. 

  • Edmunds: 4.2 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.0 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 82 / 100

2019 Kia Forte, Edmunds review:

“Great looking very comfortable car. Lots of fun to drive although not a great pickup. Ride and handling are very good and steering is first rate. Feels more like a mid size than a compact car. Alot of room inside, both front and rear, controls are easy and very well thought out…”

2018 Kia Forte

There were no significant changes for the 2018 Kia Forte. However, it is worth noting that the UVO3 system (infotainment interface) was made available to the base trim (LX).

2018 was another reliable year for the Forte, having received minimal complaints from owners.

  • Edmunds: 3.9 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.4 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 76 / 100

2018 Kia Forte, Edmunds review:

“I was looking for a car that was a bit smaller than the one I had been driving for 10 years (a Toyota Camry). I also wanted a back-up camera and a few other new features. I have only had the car for about 1 month, but so far I am more than happy with it. It has exceeded my expectations.”

2016 Kia Forte

Aside from the 2016 Kia Forte’s LX trim addition for the hatchback variant, what is worth noting is the integration of standard keyless entry for all models, including the LX trim models. 

  • Edmunds: 4.4 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.4 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 80 / 100

2016 Kia Forte, Edmunds review:

“Ride handles well for the most part. Steering feels sluggish at times and engine sounds cheap. But overall the car accelerates quick and delivers a sportier driving feel than most cars in the segment. It also has good looks and nice technology options. Would buy another forte”

2011 Kia Forte

The 2011 Kia Forte made a splash in the compact car scene, being offered in three unique trims: LX, EX, and SX, with the LX being the more affordable variant and the SX offering better handling and more infotainment features.

If you’ve got your eye on a 2011 Forte make sure the car has been properly maintained and the owner can provide documented evidence of this.

  • Edmunds: 4.4 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.5 / 5.0
  • JD Power: NA

2011 Kia Forte, Kelley Blue Book review:

“Great on gas, drives well, nice sunroof, maintained, fits my budget. Easy on maintenance, likeable color”

Consumer Scores For Best Kia Forte Years

Below is a table that presents all the consumer ratings of the best Kia Forte model years from reputable vehicle websites:

Model YearEdmunds’ Consumer RatingKelley Blue Book’s Consumer RatingJD Power’s Consumer Rating
2022 Kia Forte4.7 / 5.04.0 / 5.083 / 100
2021 Kia Forte4.2 / 5.04.0 / 5.082 / 100
2020 Kia Forte4.4 / 5.04.0 / 5.083 / 100
2019 Kia Forte4.2 / 5.04.0 / 5.082 / 100
2018 Kia Forte3.9 / 5.04.4 / 5.076 / 100
2016 Kia Forte4.4 / 5.04.4 / 5.080 / 100
2011 Kia Forte4.4 / 5.04.5 / 5.0NA

Related: How Long Do Kia Forte Last (Solved & Explained)

What Are The Worst Years For The Kia Forte?

The Kia Forte has also been on the receiving end of several complaints and issues.

Be cautious of the model years listed below.

2017 Kia Forte

The 2017 Kia Forte suffered from significant engine-related issues, including loss of acceleration and shaking.

Owners also describe losing power whilst driving leaving them in some very hairy situations, heres one owners account:

“I was driving in the highway in front of a semi truck and the car engine failed. I couldn’t accelerate or slow down and I could barely turn the wheel. The semi just barely missed me.”

The 2017 Forte had a total of 43 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 238 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Engine runs roughly
  • Engine failure
  • Check engine light on
  • Tail light not sealed properly 

2015 Kia Forte

The 2015 Kia Forte had a lot of engine-related problems, much like the previous model years.

Engine noise, engine failure, and excessive consumption of fluids were but a few of the numerous reports handed in by Forte owners.

The problems were so widespread Kia was forced to recall certain 2012-2015 Fortes due to the engine issues that even had the potential to cause a fire.

The 2015 Forte had a total of 17 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 220 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Radio not working properly
  • Continually running out of oil
  • Poor handling in rain and snow
  • Engine failure while driving 

2014 Kia Forte

The 2014 Kia Forte had the most complaints and problems out of all the model years on this list.

There were a lot of serious safety-related concerns, with a few reports indicating excessive oil consumption, engine knocking, and engine stalling, leading to significant engine repair or even a total engine replacement.

Here’s one owners testimony:

“My engine started smoking like crazy while driving. It had oil pouring out of the bottom of my car. I was stranded on the side of the interstate next to a smoking car with my 5 month old baby because they forgot to mention my engine had a recall.”

The 2014 Forte had a total of 26 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 485 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Engine failure
  • Engine clicking, knocking 
  • Sludge caused engine failure

2013 Kia Forte

The 2013 Kia Forte had its fair share of complaints, most of which revolved around engine-related problems.

Aside from extremely loud and intermittent rattling sounds, a few reports indicated that their Fortes lost power whilst driving.

The 2013 Forte had a total of 23 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 209 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Engine knocking
  • Blown engine
  • Running roughly

2012 Kia Forte

The 2012 Kia Forte was also notorious for engine-related concerns.

One report specified that the clutch slave cylinder (CSC), which is an important component of the Forte’s manual transmission, had to be replaced.

A few months after, however, the very same issues appeared, indicating flaws in the manufacturing process of the component. 

The 2012 Forte had a total of 42 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 299 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Blown engine
  • Knocking and lack of power
  • Oil leak

What Years Have The Most Complaints?

There are several Kia Forte model years, both old and new, that have received numerous complaints over the years. 

Take a look at the complaints and problems for each model year of the Forte below

Model YearComplaints (CarComplaints.com)Problems (CarProblemZoo.com)
2022 Kia ForteNA3
2021 Kia Forte040
2020 Kia Forte230
2019 Kia Forte14110
2018 Kia Forte1077
2017 Kia Forte43238
2016 Kia Forte9127
2015 Kia Forte17220
2014 Kia Forte26485
2013 Kia Forte23209
2012 Kia Forte42299
2011 Kia Forte16175
2010 Kia Forte42266

What Problems Do Kia Fortes Have?

  • Engine knocking
  • Loss of power whilst driving
  • Blown engine
  • Engine runs roughly

What Are The Best Alternatives To The Kia Forte?

The Kia Forte is considered one of the best compact cars in the market.

Take note that the Forte secured the third spot (tied with the Hyundai Elantra and Toyota Corolla), with a great score of 8.0 out of 10. 

Make & ModelScoreMSRPFuel Economy (MPG)
Honda Civic8.6$22,550 – $30,050City: 26 – 33 /Highway: 36 – 42
Mazda38.6$21,150 – $34,750City: 23 – 28 /Highway: 31 – 36
Hyundai Elantra8.0$20,500 – $27,050City: 28 – 33 /Highway: 36 – 42
Kia Forte8.0$19,490 – $24,890City: 22 – 28 /Highway: 31 – 39
Toyota Corolla8.0$20,425 – $28,710City: 28 – 32 /Highway: 36 – 41
Subaru Impreza7.8$18,795 – $26,395City: 22 – 28 /Highway: 30 – 36
Volkswagen Jetta7.8$20,365 – $32,095City: 26 – 31 /Highway: 36 – 43
Nissan Sentra7.5$19,610 – $22,200City: 28 – 29 /Highway: 37 – 39
Hyundai Veloster NNA$32,500 – $34,000 City: 20 – 22 /Highway: 27 – 28
Subaru WRXNA$29,105 – $41,895City: NA /Highway: NA
Volkswagen GTINA$29,880 – $39,130City: NA /Highway: NA

Source: cars.usnews.com

Related: 5 Most Common Kia Forte Problems (Solved & Explained)










  • Ian Sawyer

    Growing up with a father who was a mechanic I had an appreciation for cars and motorcycles from an early age. I shared my first bike with my brother that had little more than a 40cc engine but it opened up a world of excitement for me, I was hooked. As I grew older I progressed onto bigger bikes and...