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2024 Kia Forte vs. 2024 Honda Civic Comparison

It’s an era of change for the auto industry. For more than two decades, buyers’ preferences have shifted toward larger, more upscale, higher-performance SUVs and pickup trucks.

However, compact cars remain viable — despite what some automakers that have bailed on the segment might tell you — and that concept is proven so clearly by the 2024 Kia Forte and 2024 Honda Civic. These two have the performance, technology, and fuel economy to make a highly compelling case for small cars.

Let’s take a closer look at these two compact cars.

2024 Kia Forte

The 2024 Kia Forte may represent the best value in the compact car arena, with pricing for its entry-level LX model starting at just under $20,000. For that money, you get a good-looking sedan with a spacious cabin and a fair bit of technology.

In all, there are five trim levels available: LX, LXS, GT-Line, GT, and GT Manual. Most models are powered by a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine making 147 horsepower and achieving up to 41 mpg on the highway. GT models up the ante with a turbocharged 1.6-liter engine making a hearty 201 horsepower. As its name suggests, the GT Manual Forte gets you a 6-speed manual transmission with the turbocharged engine, giving you plenty of punch and control for knifing through traffic or merging with ease onto the highway. Even more impressive: The highest-priced Forte costs only slightly more than the starting range for its competition. Pricing for the 2024 Kia Forte starts at $19,790.

Kia Forte Highlights

Easy on the fuel budget: Kia’s 2.0-liter 4-cylinder isn’t exactly a racing machine, but it is thrifty, which means more money in your pocket. The Forte’s EPA combined rating is up to 34 mpg, among the top in the segment. Even the hopped 1.6-liter turbo powerplant gets up to 30 mpg combined.

Roomy and comfortable: Despite the Forte’s tidy exterior dimensions, it’s plenty roomy inside. However, it only comes as a 4-door, so if you like the ease of access a hatchback provides, the Civic is worth investigating.

Outstanding warranty: Kia’s 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty and 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty offer you peace of mind — for up to a decade. That kind of assurance can be priceless.

Check this week’s Fair Purchase Price or see the Forte models for sale near you.

2024 Honda Civic

2024 Honda Civic

The 2024 Honda Civic is the “OG” of the compact car segment. Now in its 11th generation, it’s perhaps the most recognizable nameplate in the category. While Honda hasn’t made any fundamental changes to the 2024 model, the previous year’s offering was a serious callback to the Civic’s heyday.

Honda typically keeps the exterior styling simple and clean with the Civic, and that remains true with this newest model. Yet, it’s always a bit different and attractive. The interior is well thought out, with everything within easy reach of the driver and designed to look thoroughly contemporary. We especially like the classy honeycomb grille spanning the width of the dash.

Shoppers also get a variety of engine options beyond the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder in the LX and Sport trims. Higher trims get a zesty 1.5-liter turbo putting out 180 hp, while the performance-focused Civic Si and Type R put out 220 hp and 315 hp, respectively. Also notable is that the Civic is available as both a traditional sedan and a highly practical hatchback. Pricing for the 2024 Honda Civic starts at $23,950.

Honda Civic Highlights

High residual value: Admittedly, this could be putting the cart before the horse, but no one keeps a vehicle forever. When you decide to move on to your next vehicle, your Civic likely will be worth as much as $2,000 more than any other same-age vehicle in this segment.

Plenty of performance: The Civic has been tuned for a superb driving experience. If you buy one with the 6-speed manual, you will have more fun than the law might allow. You’ve heard that driving a slow car fast can be a lot of fun? Well, with the Civic, we found that driving a quick car fast is even more fun.

Fuel efficiency: Even though the new Honda Civic is bigger and more comfortable, the company ensured one character trait from past generations remains: fuel economy. While the Kia Forte gets up to 34 mpg combined, that still falls short of the 35 mpg combined of the Honda Civic LX.

Check this week’s Fair Purchase Price or see the Civic models for sale near you.

Similarities

The sedans feature simple but contemporary exterior designs and a genuinely useful trunk. They also come with substantive safety technology packages that can help ease a buyer’s (or parent’s) mind.

Conclusion

This is a fairly close fight, but largely because price is such a big factor with entry-level automobiles. That stated, the affordably priced Kia Forte, with its spirited performance, plenty of interior space, and solid design, is a safe bet, especially given its class-leading warranty.

But the Honda Civic is what you get when a company spends decades improving its product in a single category. The resultant Civic is handsome, refined, sporty, and fuel-efficient. It’s everything the Forte is and more — but for an extra $4,160.

2024 Kia Forte 2024 Honda Civic
Starting Price $19,790 $23,950
Popular Powertrains
Engine 2.0-liter 4-cylinder 2.0-liter 4-cylinder
Horsepower 147 hp @ 6,200 rpm 158 hp @ 6,500 rpm
Torque 132 lb-ft @ 4,500 rpm 138 lb-ft @ 4,500 rpm
Transmission CVT CVT
Fuel Economy 30 city/41 highway/34 combined mpg 31 city/40 highway/35 combined mpg
Also Available 1.6-liter turbo 4-cylinder; 7-sp automatic; 6-sp manual 1.5-liter turbo 4-cylinder; 6-spd manual; 2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder
Specs
Basic Warranty 5 years/60,000 miles 3 years/36,000 miles
Powertrain Warranty 10 years/100,000 miles 5 years/60,000 miles
NHTSA Overall Safety 4 stars 5 stars
Max Seating Capacity 5 5
Wheelbase 106.3 inches 107.7 inches
Overall Length 182.7 inches 184.0 inches
Width 70.9 inches 70.9 inches
Height 56.5 inches 55.7 inches
Turning Diameter 34.8 feet 36.1 feet
Headroom, Front 38.8 inches 39.3 inches
Headroom, Rear 37.5 inches 37.1 inches
Legroom, Front 42.2 inches 42.3 inches
Legroom, Rear 35.7 inches 37.4 inches
Shoulder Room, Front 56.1 inches 57.0 inches
Shoulder Room, Rear 55.3 inches 56.0 inches
Cargo Volume 15.3 cubic feet 14.8 cubic feet

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