2019 Kia Forte vs 2018 Kia Forte

2019 Kia Forte vs 2018 Kia Forte

This comparison guide is a bit different. We take a car that's been redesigned top-to-bottom and compare it to the same make and model of the year before. It's a game of This Is Your Life: Automobile Edition. Our special guest this week is the 2019 Kia Forte. We'll see how the 2019 compares to the 2018 Forte. What's changed and whether we like those changes. So sit back and see two years side by side.

Exterior: 2019 Kia Forte

Kia drew inspiration from its Stinger when redesigning the Kia Forte. The result? A sedan with sports car aspirations. With sportier Stinger-style curves and angles, the Forte looks great. To really seal the deal, there's a new Fire Orange color. We still prefer Runway Red, but to each his or her own. Because of the redesign, the Forte is over 3 inches longer, which Kia put to good use in the form of more head and leg room. Headlights are narrower while fog lights are bigger and bolder. Overall, the 2019 Kia Forte is sleek yet bold improvement over the 2018 design.

The 2018 model looks a bit past its prime. Compared to the 2019 update, the 2018 is smaller, making for a smaller cabin. The 2018 Forte also looks more like a typical sedan. The front of the 2018 ends in what's called a Tiger Nose, which is blunter than the more angular nose of the 2019. All told, the exterior on the 2018 is classy and attractive, but feels a little stale, especially when put next to the exterior of the 2019.

2019 Kia Forte Exterior

Engine and Powertrain: 2019 Kia Forte

The improvements to the 2019 Kia Forte are more than skin deep. Pop the hood and you'll find a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed manual transmission or the all-new continuously-variable transmission (CVT). We recommend the CVT, as it's expected to be a smoother, quieter ride that delivers 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque. More good news is that we'll get better gas mileage, to the tune of 3 mpg better than the previous year's model.

The 2018 Forte has a 2.0-liter inline-four, but instead of a CVT the 2018 Forte is a six-speed automatic. The 2018 Forte gets the exact same horsepower and torque but you'll notice the regular gaps in acceleration that come with automatics as they shift through the gears. CVTs have come a long way in a short time. Just a few years ago, CVTs were considered an unnecessary and noisy liability but tinkering with the technology has made a silky smooth and quiet ride. Automatic acceleration just doesn't measure up anymore. The 2018 Forte's fuel economy, a robust 29 city and 37 highway miles is nice but the 2019 is expected to improve upon those numbers.

2019 Kia Forte Interior

Interior: 2019 Kia Forte

Phew. Is there nothing Kia hasn't improved on? Kia's full lineup has spacious, beautifully-designed interiors. But the Forte pushes the comfort even further. Not only is the Kia Forte's longer exterior creating more head and leg room, but the 2019 Forte's cabin now has more soft-touch plastics, lumbar support, and seat cushioning. The cabin is also wider, meaning each seat has been stretched that direction as well. To top it off, the Forte added a little more cargo space, bringing the total up to 15.1 cubic feet, making the 2019 Forte one of the best in cargo room in its class.

Like any of the Kia linup, the 2018 Forte's interior is beautifully designed. But since the 2018 is shorter and narrower, with a touch less cargo space, we cannot recommend the 2018 over the 2019 model. The 2018 is a little less comfortable as well, with lumbar support noticeably lacking.

It's nice to look back and see how far you've come. The 2018 Kia Forte is an admirable car, with a lot going for it. The 2019 Kia Forte has come along, making improvements both inside and out. In this case, the latest is the greatest.