CVT nets gains across the board
Borrowing design cues from the Stinger, Kia’s redesigned Forte is as stylish as ever, but the compact sedan is also more efficient thanks in part to a new CVT (dubbed IVT) replacing the outgoing six-speed automatic transmission.
The 147-hp, 132-lb-ft 2.0-liter I-4 engine carries over from last year and now delivers an EPA-rated 31/41/35 mpg (7.6/5.7/6.7 L/100km) city/highway/combined in its most fuel-efficient trim. Higher trims have a slightly lower rating of 30/40/34 mpg (7.8/5.9/6.9 L/100km). That’s a nice increase from the outgoing model’s 29/37/32 mpg (8.1/6.4/7.3 L/100km) rating. The more powerful GDI 2.0-liter I-4 in the outgoing 2018 model (not available in the redesigned 2019 Forte) was rated at 25/33/28 mpg (9.4/7.1/8.4 L/100km). If you choose to row your own gears, the standard six-speed manual transmission is now rated at 27/37/31 mpg (8.7/6.4/7.6 L/100km), up from last year’s rating of 25/34/28 mpg (9.4/6.9/8.4 L/100km).
For a little perspective, the Hyundai Elantra is rated at 29/38/33 mpg (8.1/6.2/7.1 L/100km) in its base trim and 28/37/32 mpg (8.4/6.4/7.3 L/100km) in higher trims when equipped with the same 2.0-liter I-4 found in the Forte. That engine is backed by a six-speed automatic, however. The Elantra Eco, powered by a 1.4-liter turbo-four, has an almost identical rating to the redesigned Forte: 32/40/35 mpg (7.3/5.9/6.7 L/100km). Meanwhile, the Chevrolet Cruze’s 1.4-liter turbo-four delivers 28/38/32 mpg (8.4/6.2/7.3 L/100km) with its six-speed automatic and 30/38/33 mpg (7.8/6.2/7.1 L/100km) with its new CVT. The Forte barely edges out the Honda Civic’s base 2.0 I-4, which is rated at 31/40/34 mpg (7.6/5.9/6.9 L/100km), but the optional 1.5-liter turbo-four beats all the above vehicles with a rating of 32/42/36 mpg (7.3/5.6/6.5 L/100km).