Is the First or Second Generation Kia Forte Right for You?

December 14th, 2017 by

Dashboard and steering wheel of a Kia Forte.The Kia Forte is a compact car praised for its roomy interior and — on the newer models — its array of modern convenience, comfort, and safety features. But the latest productions may not be right for you. The Kia Forte is split into two generations: from 2008 to 2012 and from 2012 to present day. If you’re stuck deciding between a newer Kia and a quality used vehicle, consider some of these key differences between the two generations to help narrow down your choices.

The Best of the First-Generation Models

Here are some of the best aspects of the older Kia models:

  • Good looks: By modern standards, the first-generation Kia models are still attractive. Even the base trims have striking features like Kia’s signature grille, headlamps, and wheel covers. If you find a used Kia model that’s been upgraded to a higher trim, you can look forward to features such as sport side mirrors and rear spoilers.
  • Standard equipment: Though a move down to the first-generation means you’ll forgo the newest safety and convenience technologies, older Kias still provide the essentials you need in any vehicle. You can find an older Forte with Bluetooth and iPod connectivity, for example. And even though it’s a compact vehicle, trims with 60-40 split-fold seating provide more space than you might expect.
  • Respectable powertrains: The older compact models still produce adequate engine power. For example, the 2011 Forte SX has a 2.4-liter engine that puts out 173 horsepower and delivers 168 pound-feet of torque.
  • Price: Brand-new 2018 Fortes have a starting MSRP of $16,700. You can take quite a bit off this already affordable price point by shopping for a reliable first-generation model.

The first-generation Kias have plenty of features to keep you happy. Plus, the difference in price points means you can save thousands of dollars by shopping used at a local Kia dealership. However, these older Fortes do lack the many perks of driving away in a new vehicle.

The Best of the Second-Generation Models

Here are some of the best aspects of the newer Kia models:

  • A new body style: The second-generation Kias underwent some body changes. For instance, the Forte and Forte5 2017 models now share the same front-end design. The newest trims also have LED detailing, available dynamic bending light technology, redesigned taillights, and upgraded grilles.
  • Customization options: One of the best things about a second-generation Forte is the option to build one from scratch. The 2018 Forte is available in three trims (LX, S, and EX), with the higher trims offering optional advanced technologies such as lane keep assist and autonomous braking.
  • Modern engines: Second-generation Kia Fortes provide the best of modern engines. For example, 2018 year models come with 2.0-liter 16-valve engines that generate up to 164 horsepower.

There’s a lot to like about the Kia Forte, regardless of which model year you prefer. If you need more help breaking the tie between first and second-generation Kias, see them in person and take one for a test drive.


2011 kia forte hatch interior” by theKCB is licensed by CC BY 2.0