Ace of Base: 2019 Kia Forte FE

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

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.

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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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.

  • El scotto I can get the speedometer from dad's 72 Ford truck back. I can't get dad back.
  • El scotto BAH! No dividers in the trunk for bags of onions or hooks for hanging sardines! Hard Pass.
  • El scotto Hyundai/Kia's true masters are finally revealed.
  • El scotto Stirring up some more. The GSA is required to buy vehicles from the Big 3. This shows the Federal Government tacitly supports the UAW. Yeah I've seen some Hyundai or Kia hybrids. I didn't pay much attention the EV/American parts percentage tax credits. It looks like a lot of skullduggery. The UAW coming to SEC-land may be the beginning of the end of SEC-land being the US's internal third world country.The US is bringing more manufacturing back from China. Our demographics are shrinking. Unskilled labor will cost more, a union job might not pay enough.
  • El scotto I look forward to watching MTG and Tommy Tuberville when the UAW comes to their states.