Kia Optima vs Kia Forte

October 31st, 2017 by

Kia Optima vs Kia Forte

Kia Optima vs Kia Forte

The 2017 Kia Forte looks very much like a miniature version of the Kia Optima. The difference is that the compact car also comes as 2-door coupe or 5-door hatchback variations. Still, with its newly redesigned look that updates grille and headlights, the similarities between models is startling. That’s good news for the Forte. Why? Because, while it’s unusual for a compact to have the tech and features of a mid-size car, everything the Kia Optima does the Forte can do too. Which car best fits your needs? Before you hit the dealership, check out our comparison guide. We’ll help you decide which Kia car is right for you.

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Interior Comfort & Style

The Kia Optima was built for travel while the Forte is more for short commutes or cruising around town. Despite their difference in size, both the 2017 Kia Optima and Kia Forte seat five. It goes without saying that the bigger Optima is more spacious, with more head and leg room for both front and back seat riders. Its trunk has 15.9 cubic feet, above average for a car in its class, and the back seats fold down to give even more options for cargo carrying needs. The cabin interior is decidedly upscale, especially in the more expensive trims.

Like the Kia Optima, the Forte has far more cargo capacity for its size than you might expect. It measures just one cubic foot smaller in trunk space than the generous Optima. The seats are definitely comfortable, though you’ll find less leg and head room than the Optima. Like the Optima, the Forte’s cabin is handsome and made of good, quality materials, especially in its upper-end trims.


The 2017 Kia Optima has great tech. The standard trim comes with UVO infotainment system, Bluetooth, USB port, satellite radio, six-speaker system, rearview camera, and remote keyless entry. Add-ons include Android Auto and Apple CarPlay to keep you connected. Depending on trim, you may also get heated mirrors, push-button start, navigation system, a sunroof, and a 10-speaker system.

The Kia Forte has lots of high tech features, with plenty of great add-ons comparable to the Optima. The Forte comes with standard features, such as Bluetooth, four-speaker system, satellite radio, USB, and auxiliary audio jack. It has the same intuitive UVO infotainment system that comes in most current Kia models. It also boasts ApplePlay and Android Auto for smartphone connectivity.

Fuel Economy

The Kia Optima ekes out an impressive 28/37 miles per gallon. It’s known for its quick acceleration and superb handling. And if you’re looking to save even more money, there is a hybrid model.

Because it’s smaller, the Kia Forte has slightly better fuel economy, at 29/38 miles per gallon. The Forte doesn’t have the most get up and go of the Kia line, but it’s incredibly reliable and won’t hurt your wallet at the gas pump.


The Optima and Forte both excel in crash tests. But the Optima has its little sibling narrowly beat, as it aced every crash safety test. The 2017 model earned the IIHS’s Top Safety Pick+ recognition. Optional safety features include a blind-spot detection system, adaptive cruise control, rear cross-traffic alert, forward collision warning, rear parking sensors, and a lane departure warning system.

Though it didn’t perform quite as well, the Forte still earned an overall five-star review in crash test safety. Its standard safety features include traction and stability control, anti-lock disc brakes, and front side and side curtain airbags.