2020 Kia Forte GT Review

To be honest, I did giggle skeptically when I saw the “GT” badge on the 2020 Kia Forte GT. Then, I noticed it was wearing a set of Michelin PS4s. For those of you to whom that nomenclature is new, the PS4 is one of the best all around performance tires on the market. That Kia chose to fit it to this car says the company is serious about the Forte GT’s cornering ability.

Inside, that businesslike attitude continues to be reflected with a thick-rimmed flat bottom steering wheel accompanied by a set of paddle shifters for the seven-speed dual clutch transmission. A six-speed manual transmission is also offered. The highly supportive sport seats serve to further emphasize this car is optimized for clipping apexes.

Power is generated by a 201-horsepower turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine. Yeah , that does sound mild these days — until you note the Forte GT only weighs 2,700 pounds. Further, the standard Forte’s torsion bar rear suspension kit is swapped out for a fully independent setup. The powertrain is front-wheel drive.

Outside, a body kit including a rear spoiler, a black grille and 18-inch two-tone wheels serve to differentiate the Forte GT’s appearance from its mild-mannered siblings. These touches blend nicely with the Kia’s already handsome styling to give the car a legitimately aggressive look.

Aggregated, all of these tweaks transform Kia’s Forte into a legitimate compact sport sedan. Handling is crisp, throttle response is sharp and the bigger brakes earn their keep. While BMW has nothing to worry about here, VW’s Jetta GLI and Honda’s Civic Si do have worthy competition in Kia showrooms now.

Oh, and one more thing, I’m not laughing anymore.

I like it!

Pricing starts at $22,490.

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© 2019 Automobiles Illustrated