2022 Kia Forte GT Review – Words Matter

Fast Facts

2022 Kia Forte GT

1.6-liter turbocharged four (201hp @ 6,000 rpm, 195 lb-ft @ 1,500 rpm)
Seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, front-wheel drive
27 city / 35 highway / 30 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)
8.7 city / 6.6 highway / 7.8 combined. (NRCan Rating, L/100km)
Base Price: $24,485 US / $31,834 CAN
As Tested: $26,840 US / $32,084 CAN
Prices include $995 destination charge in the United States and $1839 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can't be directly compared.
2022 kia forte gt review 8211 words matter

I’ll grant that I’m not a university-trained linguist, but I will forever cringe when I encounter egregious misapplications of the English language. Examples include the otherwise-excellent Alanis Morissette applying the term “ironic” to simple coincidence, and the ever-present misuse of “literally” by my kids when describing a figurative.

In the realm with which I’m more familiar, we can consider the heinous mislabeling of sundry sedans and crossovers as “coupes” due to their sloping rooflines. Another is the haphazard use of the “GT” badge, a violation that most automakers have made over the decades. GT, of course, originally implied Grand Touring – and has been since claimed by various racing series to denote race cars that have been based upon street cars.

I’m not certain which definition was in mind when the 2022 Kia Forte GT was in development.

I’ll admit that I had high hopes when I found that the Forte GT would be appearing in my driveway. I’d been casually shopping for my next car and thought that something with around 200 horsepower and a dual-clutch transmission would be ideal – generally picturing something with similar performance to a late-model VW GTI. Two pedals were preferred as I have two drivers in the household who don’t like or can’t drive manuals, so in perusing automaker websites for options the Forte GT stood out.

In normal use, the Forte GT is a perfectly fine commuter. Interior comfort is good both front and rear, with controls that fall readily to hand. The 10.25-inch touchscreen is as good as it is in other Kias, with a real knob for volume controls and excellent redundant controls on the steering wheel. The premium Harmon/Kardon branded stereo sounds quite good to these ears, and I appreciate both the wireless charging pad and the Android Auto/Apple CarPlay compatibility. Oddly, the larger touchscreen on this GT trim doesn’t offer wireless Android/Apple – a cord is needed. The lower trims with an eight-inch screen, however, can wirelessly connect.

Materials for the interior are quite nice considering the price bracket, with comfy SynTex (a decent faux leather) seats and a padded steering wheel both trimmed in red stitching. Trunk space is a high point, too – 15.3 cubic feet of whatever can be stuffed in the cargo hold.

The red (because red is fast, right?) trim carries over outside, with crimson flashes on the grille and surrounding the stacked LED foglamps. Beyond GT-exclusive 18-inch alloy wheels and the small badge out back, there isn’t much else to let onlookers know that you’re in the presence of a Certified Fast Car.

That’s probably a good thing, as while the GT gains both 54 horsepower over the standard Forte and a transmission with real actual gears versus the standard CVT, it’s still not what I’d call quick. Further, that extra horsepower doesn’t yield a car that wants to be driven in any sort of enthusiastic manner. The Forte GT will pull out of corners just fine, but the handling is so dull and uncommunicative that you don’t find yourself hunting for the fun roads in the first place.

Of course, handling is tuned for understeer – it’s a mass-market compact sedan. But other front drivers like the aforementioned GTI feel like they want to be driven. Even corporate cousin Hyundai knows what it takes to make this platform dance when applying the N badge. Why can’t some of that grin-inducing handling trickle down?

The Forte GT even uses a different rear suspension setup from the lesser Forte trims – a multi-link independent suspension, compared to a torsion beam axle on the rest of the lineup. Perhaps some aftermarket tuning with better shocks/struts paired with a larger rear sway bar will encourage this Kia to get out and play?

Look, the 2022 Kia Forte GT is a solid car at this price point. The excellent warranty, good interior comfort, and solid infotainment make this a hard choice to pass up should you be looking for a compact sedan. But that GT badge is writing checks that the engine and chassis can’t cash.

[Images: © 2022 Chris Tonn]

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4 of 29 comments
  • BSttac BSttac on Jun 28, 2022

    A Corolla comes standard with IRS. Not sure why its a bragging point for Kia. Very lazy offering

  • V16 V16 on Jun 28, 2022

    Why would any car designer advocate for turn/rear lamp indicators to be placed on the bumpers? An answer, to a question nobody asked.

    • See 1 previous
    • 28-Cars-Later 28-Cars-Later on Jul 01, 2022

      More great work from KN, now not only is it going to be a PITA to change the bulb when the corners are tapped there's a good chance they break and I'm sure its integrated to the bumper somehow for cheaper manufacturing. So over its life expect a 50% chance to replace the bumper cover at least once. Winning!

  • Fred Where you going to build it? Even in Texas near Cat Springs they wanted to put up a country club for sport cars. People complained, mostly rich people who had weekend hobby farms. They said the noise would scare their cows. So they ended up in Dickinson, where they were more eager for development of any kind.
  • MaintenanceCosts I like the styling of this car inside and out, but not any of the powertrains. Give it the 4xe powertrain - or, better yet, a version of that powertrain with the 6-cylinder Hurricane - and I'd be very interested.
  • Daniel J I believe anyone, at any level, should get paid as much as the market will bear. Why should CEOs have capped salaries or compensation but middle management shouldn't? If companies support poor CEOs and poor CEOs keep getting rewarded, it's up to the consumer and investors to force that company to either get a better CEO or to reduce the salary of that CEO. What I find hilarious is that consumers will continue to support companies where the pay for the CEOs is very high. And the same people complain. I stopped buying from Amazon during the pandemic. Everyone happily buys from them but the CEO makes bank. Same way with Walmart and many other retailers. Tim Cook got 100m in compensation last year yet people line up to buy Iphones. People who complain and still buy the products must not really care that much.
  • TDIGuy Glad to see this discussion come up just as my Facebook is being flooded with ads for a race track event coming up near Toronto. Seems to be billed as a chance to see a lot of exotic cars, but also watch various categories of cars on the race track. This is the kind of event that might generate some interest in getting on the track.Sorry for lack of detail, but I'm not doing this in attempt to spam, but more to show there are attempts being made to increase interest. That said, someone made the point that there are less and less people out there with something that could be driven on a race track (i.e. a car), so it does leave it to the grass roots type of racers to keep this going.
  • DedBull The more opportunities you present people with legal means to enjoy their hobbies, the less they are tempted to do those activities illegally. The challenge becomes making a business case out of the resulting facility. We have to be vigilant in preserving the facilities we have, as well as exploring options to expand when available.