Ace of Base: 2019 Kia Forte FE

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
ace of base 2019 kia forte fe

Yes, yes, yes. This marks the second week in a row for the same manufacturer, almost as long a stretch as Khabib Nurmagomedov has gone without scaling the wall of a UFC cage.

The little Forte sedan (remember those? Ford doesn’t) ups its game in 2019 with a refreshed sense of style and a bucket full of new equipment. This is most definitely our first Ace of Base that includes dual-zone climate control as standard equipment.

Those who are un-wowed by the presence of such a gee-whiz feature are either unmarried or have never had a passenger in the right-hand seat. Dual-zone ventilation allows one half of a family unit the luxury of freezing their buns off while the other bakes in heated comfort. A driver’s well-being trumps all other concerns on a drive around these parts, so until the advent of dual-zone, passengers in the Guy household had to endure whatever temperature fancies the driver saw fit to unleash.

In fact, the only thing left to row about these days is what emanating from the stereo speakers. Here, the new Forte would do well, supplying an 8-inch touchscreen (not a cut-rate 7-incher) complete with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The four-speaker system is, of course, wired for Bluetooth and a backup camera.

The $17,690 base Forte FE is also filled to the gunwales with safety equipment, ideal for new drivers young and old. Forward collision and lane departure warning systems loops drivers in of impending doom, while a driver attention system keeps tabs on the somnambulant. My biggest carp? Cruise control is optional.

Powering this car is a 2.0-liter DOHC inline-four making a segment-appropriate 147 horsepower. Hill start assist helps prevent those unfamiliar with the car’s six-speed manual from wantonly rolling into whatever’s directly astern. Note: Kia chooses to call their (optional, $900) continuously variable transmission an IVT, not a CVT, perhaps to distance itself from the undertones associated with that acronym.

Rims are 15-inch steelies with hubcaps and only two shades, grey and white, are available without extra charge. At least the exterior trim is color-keyed. This is not a bad-looking compact car. Quick straw poll for the comments: of what luxury-brand small sedan do those taillights remind you?

For an even better deal, head north. For $16,495 Canadian dollars, the 2019 base Forte (called the LX in that market) sports many of these same features plus heated seats and steering wheel. You can bet one side of the dual-zone will be set to maximum heat this winter, too.

[Images: Kia]

Not every base model has aced it. The ones which have? They stoke the fires of our flinty cheapskate hearts. Any others you can think of, B&B? Let us know in the comments and feel free to eviscerate today’s selection.

The model above is priced in Freedom dollars and shown with American options and trim. Destination charges can go pound sand. As always, your dealer may sell for less.

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4 of 43 comments
  • Taxman100 Taxman100 on Oct 17, 2018

    Price with destination and CVT - $19,485. Just saying.... Also has a direct injection engine, which will require maintenance as it ages to prevent the intake valves from coking up. I'm more of a port fuel injection guy.

    • See 1 previous
    • Taxman100 Taxman100 on Oct 17, 2018

      @ajla Good news, then. Once the newness wears off, the incentives and discounts should start to show up.

  • Volvo Volvo on Oct 17, 2018

    I agree with this being a no go for me. I went to the Kia configurator and the base does not have cruise control as an option. You need to go to higher trim levels to get cruise control. Seems weird to me that cruise control is not standard on most vehicles. Driving extended distances on the freeways cruise control greatly reduces driver workload.

  • Corey Lewis It was long overdue for a replacement or something, but additionally the Compass and Renegade are both so similar there doesn't seem to be a need for such overlap.
  • CoastieLenn Stellantis gonna stellant. Isn't the Compass similarly sized? How is there a hole in the lineup? Seems to me that they had one two many entrants in the compact crossover segment- being the Cherokee and the Compass. The Renegade takes the sub-compact segment, the Grand Cherokee takes the midsize segment (even though it doesn't have third row seating), and the Wagoneer takes the full sized segment. I really want a nice Cherokee Trailhawk V6, but I can never see myself actually buying one because of the litany of documented issues with basically everything in the Dodge/Jeep/Ram inventory. Their current electrical gremlin trajectory rivals that of VW/Audi, but nearly as expensive to repair.
  • MaintenanceCosts Washington Highway 410 over Cayuse and Chinook Passes, in the shadow of Mount Rainier.Grand St. Bernard Pass between Switzerland and Italy, close to the Mont Blanc massif.Colorado 82 over Independence Pass. Highest I've ever been in a car.Skyline Drive in Virginia.California Highway 1 from Monterey to Santa Barbara.A million little unnumbered roads in the German Black Forest, more satisfying at 100 km/h than the Autobahn is at 250.
  • Kendahl US 60 between Show Low and Globe, Arizona. It's especially fun in the switchbacks on both sides of the Salt River canyon.
  • Arthur Dailey What give with this site? I know that I posted a comment. The site says that there are 12 comments. But when I click on the 'see more' button it resets to say that there are 11 comments and I can't see mine. I am not that egotistical as to believe that my comments are important. But that makes me wonder if others are also having their comments 'erased'.