For 2016 the Forte remains available in either sedan form, as a two door Koup or as a Volkswagen Golf rivaling five door hatchback in the Forte5. Both the Koup and Forte5 are available with an optional and potently addictive 1.6 liter turbocharged 4-cylinder good for 201 horsepower/195 lb. feet of torque in SX trim.
EX trim levels in all models get Kia's capable if a bit unexciting 2.0 liter naturally aspirated 4-cylinder good for 170 horsepower/154 lb. feet of torque. Base LX sedan models get a 1.8 liter 145 horsepower/130 lb. feet of torque 4-cylinder that thankfully is available with a manual gearbox. The EX trim level on the sedan and Forte5 with the 2.0-liter motor is automatic only. The Forte Koup, however, can be had with the 2.0-liter engine and a six-speed manual. Confused yet? We have yet to try the 1.8-liter motor so our comments here are relegated to the other two powertrain options.
Both the 2.0 liter and 1.6 turbo engines are capable of keeping up with traffic, one just does it with more gusto and verve most especially when mated to the standard 6-speed manual gearbox which has a wide clutch bite point and makes smooth shifting easy. An equally competent 6-speed automatic is optional and the most widely chosen transmission. We do appreciate, however, that Kia offers a manual with each Forte model. Sadly, the Forte sedan is still unavailable with the turbocharged motor or in SX trim which we think is unfortunate.
For our review, we managed to have a week in both a 2016 Kia Forte EX 2.0 liter 4-cylinder sedan with automatic as well as a Kia Forte Koup SX turbo with the manual gearbox. Efforts to try to Forte5 were met with a "How many Forte's do you want for one review?" We agree that the Forte5 mainly differs from these two bodystyles in that it offers a lot more utility what with it rather large hatchback cargo room—23.2 cubic feet and that's before you fold down the rear seats. So do check out the Forte5 SX if maximum space and pace is your priority.
Now let's get on with the facts and nitpicking every aspect of the 2016 Kia Forte. You know you love it when we do this.