2012 Kia Forte

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Key Specs
Our Take
Overview
Photos
Reviews
Safety & Recalls
Warranty & CPO
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Key Specs

of the 2012 Kia Forte. Base trim shown.

  • Body Type:
  • Combined MPG:
    27-31 Combined MPG
  • Engine:
    156-hp, 2.0-liter I-4 (regular gas)
  • Drivetrain:
    Front-wheel Drive
  • Transmission:
    6-speed manual w/OD
  • View more specs

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Crisp, clean styling
  • Linear braking
  • Powerful 2.4-liter four-cylinder
  • Sensibly arranged controls
  • Hatchback versatility

The Bad

  • Firm ride
  • Raspy four-cylinder engines
  • Six-speed automatic holds low gears too long
  • Backseat legroom
  • Optional heated front seats only have one level

Notable Features of the 2012 Kia Forte

  • Sedan, coupe or hatchback
  • Choice of four-cylinder engines
  • Standard USB port
  • Optional push-button start

2012 Kia Forte Overview

By Cars.com Editors
Vehicle Overview

The five-seat Forte is Kia's entry in the compact-car segment, and it's available with a choice of four-cylinder engines and comes standard with numerous safety features. It's sold as a sedan, a four-door hatchback and a coupe, which Kia calls the Koup. Competitors include the Honda Civic, Ford Focus and Toyota Corolla.

New for 2012
For the 2012 model year, EX trim levels of the Forte gain a telescoping steering wheel and the Forte five-door hatchback is no longer available with a manual transmission.

Exterior
The Forte sports crisp styling that gives the sedan an athletic shape. You don't have to look too closely to find resemblances to other small cars. The front end, for instance, looks similar to a Civic, and the Forte's taillights look like the Mitsubishi Lancer's. Exterior features include:

  • Standard 15-inch steel wheels with covers
  • Optional 16-inch alloy wheels
  • SX version gets sport suspension and 17-inch alloy wheels
  • Optional sunroof

Interior
There are available steering-wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls. Kia says the sedan's trunk offers 14.7 cubic feet of cargo space, and the hatchback has 19.4 cubic feet of space. Interior features include:

  • Standard cloth seats
  • Optional leather upholstery
  • Optional heated front seats
  • Optional air conditioning
  • Optional keyless entry
  • Optional telescoping steering wheel
  • Optional navigation system with backup camera
  • Optional push-button start

Under the Hood
LX and EX models are po...

Vehicle Overview

The five-seat Forte is Kia's entry in the compact-car segment, and it's available with a choice of four-cylinder engines and comes standard with numerous safety features. It's sold as a sedan, a four-door hatchback and a coupe, which Kia calls the Koup. Competitors include the Honda Civic, Ford Focus and Toyota Corolla.

New for 2012
For the 2012 model year, EX trim levels of the Forte gain a telescoping steering wheel and the Forte five-door hatchback is no longer available with a manual transmission.

Exterior
The Forte sports crisp styling that gives the sedan an athletic shape. You don't have to look too closely to find resemblances to other small cars. The front end, for instance, looks similar to a Civic, and the Forte's taillights look like the Mitsubishi Lancer's. Exterior features include:

  • Standard 15-inch steel wheels with covers
  • Optional 16-inch alloy wheels
  • SX version gets sport suspension and 17-inch alloy wheels
  • Optional sunroof

Interior
There are available steering-wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls. Kia says the sedan's trunk offers 14.7 cubic feet of cargo space, and the hatchback has 19.4 cubic feet of space. Interior features include:

  • Standard cloth seats
  • Optional leather upholstery
  • Optional heated front seats
  • Optional air conditioning
  • Optional keyless entry
  • Optional telescoping steering wheel
  • Optional navigation system with backup camera
  • Optional push-button start

Under the Hood
LX and EX models are powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 156 horsepower. Choosing the SX trim brings a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that generates 173 hp. Mechanical features include:

  • Standard six-speed manual transmission
  • Optional six-speed automatic
  • Front-wheel drive


Safety
Standard safety features include:

  •  Side-impact airbags for the front seats
  •  Side curtain airbags
  •  Antilock brakes
  •  Electronic stability system
  •  Active head restraints for the front seats

 


Latest 2012 Forte Stories

Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(4.6)
Performance
(4.5)
Interior Design
(4.4)
Comfort
(4.5)
Reliability
(4.7)
Value For The Money
(4.6)

What Drivers Are Saying

(5.0)

Clean lines..always looks new

by Underthesun9 from Long Island on October 13, 2018

Always looks new...has lots of room..easy to transport things. The hatchback is a wonderful car. The car feels like a mini Sports car, it definitely has a kick to it. Read full review

(5.0)

Most reliable car I have owned

by miawil3 from Denver,Co on August 15, 2018

This vehicle has very cold air and comes with a phone charger inside. It looks very nice inside and outside and is a very reliable car. Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2012 Kia Forte currently has 2 recalls

IIHS Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2012 Kia Forte LX

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
acceptable
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Other

Roof Strength
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
good
Driver Torso
good
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
acceptable
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
acceptable
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Manufacturer Warranties

Backed by Kia
New Car Program Benefits
  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    60 months / 60,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    120 months / 100,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    60 months / 60,000 miles

Certified Pre-Owned Program Benefits
  • Maximum Age/Mileage

    5 years or newer/less than 60,000 miles

  • Basic Warranty Terms

    12 months/12,000 miles

  • Powertrain warranty

    10 years/100,000 miles

  • Dealer Certification Required

    164-point inspection

  • Roadside Assistance

    Yes

  • View All Program Details

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Forte received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker