Kia Optima vs Kia Forte

Kia Optima vs Kia Forte

Do you want a family car or a commuter car? If you have regular backseat passengers or kids, you're going to want the midsize Optima. And, believe us, if car seats are in the picture, you're going to want the Optima. But if the car is mostly for you and maybe one other person getting to and from work or running errands, the compact Forte works just fine. In this comparison guide, we're working hard to find the car that fits you and your life perfectly. Read on to get a handle on which four-door sedan is best for you.

Price: 2019 Kia Forte

A lot of us might be driving bigger cars if money were no object. Who doesn't like the convenience of a large trunk or the comfort of wide seats? But money does matter, and it turns out many of us can get by with less cargo room and an average-sized seat. The 2019 Kia Optima starts at $22,900. What does that price pay for? Well, because the Optima is wider than the Forte, the seats are wider as well. Not surprisingly, critics praise the Optima for its comfort, a blessing on long drives. And while the Forte and the Optima are both slated to seat five passengers and have two sets of car seat latches, the Optima is going to be better not only for comfort but for car seat installation as well. Those who have wrestled car seats in and out of cars know what we're talking about.

Kia Forte on the Road

Meanwhile, the Kia Forte starts at just $17,700, meaning you save over 5 grand. That's money you leave in the bank for an upcoming trip or paying down debt. We think the price difference between the Forte and Optima is just the cost of materials. The Forte is also 650 pounds lighter than the Optima. Of course, being smaller inevitably means there's less space in the Forte, narrower seats and a smaller trunk, though it's only 0.7 cubic feet smaller, about the size of a large grocery bag.

Power: 2019 Kia Optima

This one goes to the Optima, but with one caveat. Though the Optima's 185-horsepower base engine is obviously stronger than the 147-hp four-cylinder engine in the Forte, remember that the Forte has less curb weight to move. In raw power, the Optima wins but in terms of performance, these base engines are pretty evenly matched.

Kia Optima on the Road

Even so, the Optima has one of two engine upgrades on offer while the Forte has only the base engine. We're talking about the Optima's 178 and 245 horsepower turbocharged engines. For a little extra moolah, get ready to move. But Kia isn't leaving the Forte out in the cold. Kia is introducing its version of the CVT with its Intelligent Variable Transmission (IVT). The IVT is the latest tech for Kia, and already it's praised for being responsive and reliable.

In most other ways, the Kia Optima and Forte are pretty evenly matched. Being smaller, the Kia Forte naturally gets better fuel economy, but options and tech are row for row nearly the same. Really, it comes down to space, comfort, affordability, and power. Which fits you?