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Kia Forte vs Honda Civic – Compact Car Conflict

kia forte vs honda civic

Are you in the market for a compact car? The Honda Civic has been a powerhouse in the compact car market for years, but the Kia Forte is a formidable foe with an extremely low entry-level price. So which car provides the best value? Today, we are matching up the Kia Forte vs Honda Civic to find out which compact car comes out on top.

Kia Forte Overview (base)

Engine: 1.8L 4-cylinder

Horsepower: 145

Fuel Economy: 26 City / 39 Hwy

MSRP: From $15,890

2015 Kia Forte Review


The 2015 Kia Forte has an exterior that is uniquely Kia. It is edgy, sporty, and different without being overly ostentatious. The Forte features a gently sloping roof, small grill with thin chrome lips, and a narrow rear end.

Inside the Kia Forte, the cockpit has simple controls and a clean layout. The Forte features many round knobs, simple materials, and light metallic accents. Overall, it’s a sporty interior presentation that is pleasing for a low-priced sedan.

Space inside the Kia Forte is good for a compact car. The trunk is quite spacious and has a wide opening. The front seats have ample room for most drivers, and the back seats will suffice for passengers under 6ft. tall.


With the base 1.8L engine of the Forte LX, it isn’t very fast with 0-60 times around 9 seconds. However, it handles reasonably well for a vehicle in this price range. The upgraded Forte EX has a 2.0L engine with 173 hp will provide a small boost of power. The Forte soaks up some bumps in the pavement, but doesn’t match the smooth ride of a luxury sedan.

The Forte achieves an EPA estimated 39 hwy mpg and 26 city mpg. For 2015 compact cars, this is slightly below average, as many competitors have surpassed 40 hwy mph.


The Kia Forte ratings have improved after a history of subpar safety ratings, but this year these ratings have improved. The 2015 Kia Forte achieved a 5-star NHTSA rating. This year, the Forte improved its small frontal overlap crash test rating to “marginal,” and received top marks in all other crash tests.


The inexpensive base Forte comes with entry-level features such as power locks, windows, mirrors, satellite radio, and steering-wheel audio controls. The EX trim will add a rearview camera and the UVO infotainment system. Other optional features include pushbutton start, leather upholstery, ventilated driver seat, 10-way power seats, LED tail lamps, sunroof, pushbutton start, automatic climate control, and more.

Honda Civic Overview (base)

Engine: 1.8L 4-cylinder

Horsepower: 143

Fuel Economy:  31 City / 41 Hwy

MSRP: $18,490

2015 Honda Civic Review


The 2015 Honda Civic is recognizable, making minimal changes from previous models. The slightly redesigned rear end with horizontal chrome stripe and redesigned mesh grill are some of the most noticeable changes.

The cockpit of the Civic has been consistently improving each year in quality since the 2013 redesign. Center buttons are slightly angled to the left, an attractive touch that puts the focus on the driver. The presentation is clean and the controls are easy to understand.

Seat room is adequate for 4 adults, but the rear seats will not have enough head room for taller adults. Trunk space is also slightly above average for a compact car.


The base 1.8L engine is quite efficient, and still maintains decent speed for the class. The Civic feels confident in corners, thanks to quick steering and firm suspension. For maximum speed, there is the 2.4L 4-cylinder Civic Si. Don’t expect it to win races on the track with the Si, but it does add a punch of power that will please most drivers.

Consistently, the Civic achieves top-rank fuel economy. This year, the Civic is extremely efficient thanks to a Honda’s continuously variable transmission. With 41 hwy mpg, it’s difficult to find a more efficient option at this price.


Honda has stepped up its game in safety, making backup cameras standard on all new 2015 vehicles. This year’s Civic also has standard forward-collision warnings and lane departure warnings, with optional blind-spot camera. The Civic is an IIHS Top Safety Pick, which is a difficult achievement for most compact cars. The NHTSA also gives the Civic 5-stars.


The base Civic will include a rear-view camera, and the expected features such as power mirrors, locks, windows, etc. The base sound system performs better than much of the competition. Optional features include navigation, iPod integration, and automatic climate control, leather upholstery, and more.

Kia Forte vs Honda Civic Winner:

Base model: 2015 Kia Forte

The base price of the slick-looking Forte is extremely hard to resist. The Forte provides all you would expect from a base compact sedan, at a low price point.

Upgrades: 2015 Honda Civic

Fully loaded, the 2015 Honda Civic has great features for comfort, entertainment, and safety. It’s an extremely comfortable and efficient ride that is a step ahead of the fully loaded Kia Forte. The Civic can also offer more in terms of performance thanks to the Civic Si.

Overall winner: 2015 Honda Civic

When comparing the Kia Forte vs Honda Civic, the 2015 Honda Civic is our best overall choice. The Civic is a reliable veteran in the compact car market. The Civic is extremely popular because it always delivers quality, safety, and features in a relatively inexpensive package.

2015 honda civic

Dustin "Dusty" Rhodes

A fan of nice round numbers and working on tiny European cars, Dusty is the proud owner of a '58 Lloyd 600, a '50 FIAT 500, and is currently on the hunt for a Vespa 400. And, despite all that repair work, he still finds time to write about cars. 

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