2018 Kia Forte vs Chevrolet Cruze

The 2018 Kia Forte is a compact car that represents an amazing value for money and doesn’t cost a lot to run either. The Forte faces plenty of competition in the current market, so let’s see how it compares in a head-to-head with the popular Chevrolet Cruze.

2018 Kia Forte vs Chevrolet Cruze

How Do They Look? Kia Forte Sedan

Hatchback versions of small cars are often more pleasing on the eye than their sedan counterparts, but, unusually, both the sedan and hatchback are equally attractive in the Forte. The design looks like a smaller Optima, which is nothing but a complement. Aerodynamic swoops and an athletic front end makes the Forte look and feel powerful and confident. After a decent redesign last year, the Kia Forte is one of the most attractive models in its class.

The Cruze is a crisp, modern, and sporty design, but the overall impression is that the Cruze is a small car. While calling a spade a spade is never a bad thing, the overall impression of the Forte is the opposite–it looks as if it’s far larger than it is. The Cruze’s design is also a bit rounder than the Forte, which creates a less aggressive presence.

Which Car Wins the Safety Ratings? Kia Forte

For a car of relatively compact proportions, the Forte delivers outstanding safety ratings. The NHTSA has given a full five-star rating for overall safety to the Kia, while the IIHS goes all the way too with the Top Safety Pick+ rating that any vehicle should be proud to receive.

Unfortunately, the IIHS hasn’t carried out its full series of crash tests to give the 2018 Cruze its overall rating, but so far it doesn’t look as though it will get anywhere near a top rating. The Cruze also only got four stars overall from the NHTSA originally, which was amended to a five-star rating for 2018. Still, the Kia’s stellar performance wins the day here.

How Compact is the Cabin? Kia Forte

To say the Kia Forte offers an average amount of passenger space inside is probably a fair assessment, but what it lacks in passenger volume it makes up for with an abundance of storage space. Those sitting in the front are pretty well catered for, but leg and head room isn’t the best in the back seats. You may not be expecting much else for a car of this size, but overall, the Forte creates a cabin that competes in this segment.

Take those statements about the interior space in the Kia and turn them on their head, and you’re then getting an idea about the interior of the Cruze. Back seat passengers get stretch-out space in the Chevy, but those in the front are not quite as well catered for. A compact car is not bought for the backseat, usually, so taking space from the front to cater to the back doesn’t make as much sense to us. We’d rather err on the side of a spacious front seat than feel cramped as a commuter.

Who Saves at the Pump? Chevy Cruze

The fuel economy ratings for the Kia Forte are not class-leading, but they’re more than acceptable for a competitor in this area of the market. The EPA rates the LX and S sedans with the standard engine and six-speed automatic transmission the best, with ratings of 29 mpg in the city, 37 mpg on the highway and 32 mpg combined.

A Cruze with a gas engine and six-speed automatic transmission is rated at 30 mpg in the city, 40 mpg on the highway and 34 mpg combined, which is already enough to give the Chevy victory over the Kia for fuel economy. Things get even better with the diesel version, but you’ll have to do a lot of driving to recoup the extra cost associated with purchasing one.

Learn More about the Kia Forte

A better sedan design, far better safety performance, and a smarter interior that gives commuters what they need in terms of space gives the 2018 Kia Forte the edge here.