2022 Kia Forte GT: Words Matter
2022 Kia Forte GT
1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder (201 hp @ 6,000 rpm, 195 lb-ft @ 1,500 rpm)
Seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, front-wheel drive
27 city / 35 highway / 30 combined (EPA, MPG rating)
8.7 city / 6.6 highway / 7.8 combined. (NRCan Rating, L/100km)
Base price: US$24,485 / C$31,834
Tested: US$26,840 / C$32,084
Prices include destination charges of $995 in the United States and $1,839 for transportation, PDI and A/C taxes in Canada and, due to differences in cross-border equipment, cannot be directly compared.
I’ll admit I’m not a college-educated linguist, but I’ll cringe forever when I come across blatant misapplications of the English language. Examples include the excellent Alanis Morissette applying the term “ironic” to mere coincidence, and the ubiquitous abuse of “literally” by my children when describing a figurative.
In the area I’m most familiar with, we can consider the obnoxious labeling of various sedans and crossovers as “coupes” because of their sloping rooflines. Another is the lawless use of the “GT” badge, a violation most automakers have committed over the decades. GT, of course, originally implied Grand Touring – and has since been claimed by various racing series to refer to racing cars based on street cars.
I don’t know what definition was in mind when the 2022 Kia Forte GT was in development.
I admit that I had high hopes when I discovered that the Forte GT would make an appearance in my driveway. I was shopping for my next car and thought something with around 200 horsepower and a dual-clutch transmission would be ideal – usually imagining something with similar performance to a late-model VW GTI. Two pedals were preferred because I have two drivers in the house who don’t like or can’t drive manuals, so when scouring 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 easily to hand. The 10.25-inch touchscreen is as good as any other Kia, with a real button for volume controls and excellent redundant controls on the steering wheel. The high-end Harmon/Kardon-branded stereo sounds pretty good to these ears, and I appreciate both the wireless charging and Android Auto/Apple CarPlay compatibility. Curiously, the larger touchscreen in this GT version doesn’t offer Android/Apple wireless – a cord is required. Lower trims with an eight-inch screen can connect wirelessly, though.
Materials for the interior are quite nice considering the price bracket, with comfortable SynTex seats (a decent faux leather) and a padded steering wheel, both trimmed with red stitching. Trunk space is also a highlight – 15.3 cubic feet of everything that can be filled in the cargo hold.
The red trim (because red is fast, right?) continues on the outside, with crimson flashes on the grille and surrounding the stacked LED fog lamps. Beyond the GT-exclusive 18-inch alloy wheels and the little badge on the rear, there’s not much else to let onlookers know you’re in the presence of a fast car. certified.
That’s probably a good thing, because although the GT gains both 54 horsepower over the standard Forte and a transmission with real real gears over the standard CVT, that’s still not what I’m looking for. would call fast. Plus, that extra power doesn’t make for a car that wants to be driven with enthusiasm. The Forte GT will come out of corners just fine, but the handling is so lackluster and uncommunicative that you don’t find yourself looking for the fun roads in the first place.
Of course, the handling is suited to understeer – this is a mainstream compact sedan. But other front-drivers like the aforementioned GTI crave 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 smile-inducing manipulation trickle down?
The Forte GT even uses a different rear suspension setup than the lower versions of the Forte – a multi-link independent suspension, compared to a torsion beam axle on the rest of the range. Maybe an aftermarket tune with better shocks/struts paired with a larger rear stabilizer bar will encourage this Kia to get out there and play?
Look, the 2022 Kia Forte GT is a solid car at this price. The excellent warranty, good interior comfort and solid infotainment make it a hard choice to pass up if you’re looking for a compact sedan. But that GT badge writes checks that the engine and chassis can’t cash.
[Images: © 2022 Chris Tonn]
Become a TTAC insider. Get the latest news, features, TTAC catches and all things truth about cars by signing up to our newsletter.