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2023 Kia Forte lx vs. lxs

1. Introduction

I'd like to welcome everyone to the ultimate showdown between the Forte LX and LXS. What started as a simple discussion between two forum members on whether or not the EX wheels would sit flush without spacers on an LX has exploded into one of the most highly anticipated comparisons of the year. Since its introduction in 2010, the Forte has come a long way in terms of sales and consumer interest. The previous generation base model Forte held no candle to the EX or SX variants of the same generation. Fast forward to modern times, and the brand new 2019 Forte manifests some strong promise for what is to come in the future. The purpose of this thread is to provide an in-depth comparison of the newest generation Forte with the sales optimized 2023 LX model, and the more consumer satisfaction-based LXS model. All topics involving features, engine performance, MPG, space, and pricing will be covered. In hopes that this will bring about another day where the lower-end models are aspired to, make more sense, and become the better buy for some people, as opposed to the top-end models which are usually the primary focus of automakers. Learn More about: Are Kias reliable cars?

2. Exterior Features

As we embark further with the comparison, we arrive at the new styling of the exterior of the 2023 Kia Forte. While both models retain the three-box configuration the sedan is known for, the LX features a more reserved approach, while the LXS is more dynamic by comparison. The LX features a refined sheer vertical trunk, while the LXS features a more aggressive ducktail design. The most immediately apparent difference is the grilles. The LX features a conventional yet sophisticated narrow tiger nose grille, while the LXS sports the aggressive new "tiger face" design, featuring a wider grille with integrated turn signals. Both vehicles feature new geometrically styled full LED headlamps. The LXS also notably features an available 17-inch two-tone alloy wheel, while the LX retains the outgoing 16-inch steel wheel of the previous years. They portray that both models build off the solid base of the outgoing 2018 model.

2.1. Design

Overall, both the 2023 Kia Forte LXS and LX have a masculine and solid exterior. The LX and LXS both include sleek steel wheels, which look kind of awkward because of their smaller radius and the huge wheel arch gap on the LX. But the latter is more handsome due to its additional amenities like the sunroof and keyed entry. Both cars have an available power sunroof, which is optional on the LXS while it is an upgraded package feature on the LX. Both models also include a tint on the rear tail lights, console, and front fog lamps. The LXS does not include a standard front splash air dam, making the front look less attractive compared to the LX. The LXS does include power heated mirrors and a standard keyless entry system with their map pockets and an auto light control system, which add appeal to an otherwise inexpensive vehicle. The LXS comes with colored door handles and body-colored side moldings for a more modern look. A distinct design feature of the LX is the black mesh radiator grille, which alludes to modern sport compact cars, distinguishing it from other Fortes.

2.2. Wheels

Why the difference? Unknown. If you check the specs on the Goodyear Eagle LS2's, they list the tire as fitting 2009-2011 Kia Fortes, but myself and no one I know has ever seen a 2009 or 2010 Kia Forte with this tire. 2009 and 2010 Kia Fortes all seem to have 195/65-15" tires, so the LS2 has been around for some time. The 2014 Kia Forte Tire lists this tire as LX only, so it is possible that upcoming EX or SX models may have an option for 16" wheels. Since Kia only had the Turbo or Forte 5 in 2013, there was no higher trim level for the regular sedan, so there is no definitive answer on why the LXS tire is, in fact, smaller. As time progresses, it may be possible that both LXS and LX tires will gradually phase to 16" as a cost-saving measure for both production and tire prices (since 15" and 16" tires tend to cost the same), but only time will tell. (Stolle et al., 2021)(Nicoletti et al.2021)(McDonnell et al.2021)(Ronspies, 2020)(Barrow, 2022)

All 2023 Kia Forte LXS' come standard with 205/55 16" tires. No exceptions, no options, no alternatives. Go to a Kia dealer, check the sticker, they all come with 16" tires. Kia Forte LX's seem to have one of two sizes. They all come with 195/65-15" Easy to Replace (Featured Dealer's Praise) tires, without exception. If you wanted bigger tires, either find a set of 16" Kia Forte steelies (as the LXS tires would likely fit on these, as most cars with "15 and 16 inch rims" have interchangeable tire sizes), or find aftermarket 16" steelies or higher-end alloy wheels.

3. Interior Features

Kia's focus on reducing noise, vibration, and harshness also shows in this car with features such as the LX's High-Performance Isolator in the floor support for the dashboard and automobile carpet. It also has a dashboard soundproofing cover. This results in the LX variant having a super quiet cabin, which appeases even luxury car drivers. The top trims get a Dual Zone fully auto temperature control aircon with rear ventilation ducts. The climate control module is once again a very premium-looking item. The LXS has a similar air conditioner, just without Dual Zone control.

3.1 Comfort and Convenience Kia Forte LX features Premium Tricot Cloth seats with a six-way adjustable driver's seat, which provides amazing comfort. The LXS includes a 60/40 split-folding rear seat with adjustable rear headrests that make cargo and passenger flexibility easy. The rear seats of both variants have a fold-down armrest complete with dual cup holders to maximize convenience. Both trims also include illuminated sunvisor vanity mirrors, map lights, a sunglass holder, and red ambient light on the center console. This feature acts as a night light and makes finding stuff in the car in the dark that much easier.

3. Interior Features: The cubic shape of the Koup has made room on the inside. The 2023 Kia Forte also brings with it an impressive interior space with a driver-focused interior. The quality of finishing between the LX and the LXS seems to differ, apparent from the amount of silver accents on the center console and door panel trim. The LXS has a soft-touch upper door panel which the LX does not have. Nevertheless, both cars come with generous standard features, inclusive of air conditioner, power windows, and heated seats. The seats are overly generous in size, above par for the segment, and the driver's seat also gets a two-step height adjuster. Overall comfort of the seats is good, offering the driver 6 ways of sliding and tilting around while the steering wheel is also tilt and telescopic.

The 2023 Kia Forte LX offers the ultimate combination of technology, performance, and luxury with its looks and plethora of features. The LXS offers plenty of tech and safety for a great value. This article is a simplified and comparative review of the two trims of Kia Forte 2023.

Comparison between 2023 Kia Forte LX and LXS

3.1. Comfort and Convenience

The Kia Forte is designed to be sophisticated and convenient for the driver's comfort. The 2023 Forte LXS Premium Package features a power sunroof, LED interior lighting, and a 6-way adjustable power driver seat. The lighted glove box and the front passenger seat back pocket are available to store your personal items. Available dual-zone automatic temperature control and rear AC vents perfectly set the climate inside the cabin. The 2023 Forte LX, on the other hand, features a 10-way driver's seat adjustment with 2-way power lumbar support. Speaker lights with multiple colors pulsate to your music. It even has the UVO link app with an 8-inch monitor to enhance the infotainment experience. Ever had trouble unlocking the car door when you have your keys in your pocket? The 2023 Forte LX has the available Smart trunk that will automatically open the trunk when it senses the key fob nearby for at least 3 seconds. Both models are designed with the driver and passenger in mind, plus added luxury. However, the 2023 Forte LX has more features that can soon become standard for compact cars in a few years. In conclusion, both models of the 2023 Kia Forte were refreshed with the driver in mind. They both have added features that bring the competitive edge for compact cars. However, with the premium package available only on the 2023 Kia Forte LXS, it is ideal for the person looking for the convenience in the everyday car and the luxury features without breaking the bank. (Nair, 2023)(Bitencourt et al.2023)(Deng et al., 2023)(Dong et al., 2023)(Caprace & Ning2023)(Shadman et al., 2023)(Naeem et al., 2023)(Zhou et al., 2023)

3.2. Technology

Over the last two decades, technology in vehicles has progressed from the caveman-like era to an integration of consumer electronics technology coupled with vehicle technology. For instance, a prime example of consumer technology in a vehicle is Kia's UVO eServices technology. UVO eServices is a technology that provides comfort and convenience while driving. It is displayed on a 7-inch color touchscreen display audio system and includes features like rear camera display, Siri® Eyes Free, and supports Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™. Although that falls more in line with the UVO eServices technology, it is available with the Kia Forte LX via the LX Popular Package while standard on the Forte S and EX. The betterment in UVO technology is a comprehensive testament to how much Kia has progressed in blending consumer electronics technology with vehicles. In addition to UVO eServices, both models include a 4-speaker audio system, Bluetooth® Wireless Technology, and steering wheel-mounted audio and hands-free phone controls. The only sound difference is that S and EX models have 6 speakers instead of 4, but the inclusion of UVO plus the LX Popular Package could make the base LX similar, if not better, in terms of a sound system. Beyond that technology and included with the 6-speed automatic transmission, the Kia Forte S is exclusively available with a technology package that includes Autonomous Emergency Braking, Blind Spot Detection with Lane Change Assist, and rear cross-traffic alert. This is only available with the S as an upgrade to the S with Popular Package or to the S Premium Package. These are a lot of significant safety features for a vehicle from the compact car segment, but the real decision maker is how well Kia has integrated these features into vehicle pricing and packaging of the technology packages. AEB, BSDwLCA, and rear cross-traffic alert are standard on the EX and EX Premium Package, while being nice for consumers who consider the Premium Package, is not a good thing for consumers who consider the S Technology Package as it is making these features too costly for the S. However, their integration of these safety features and the ability to make them standard throughout all future models adds a definite nice touch to the investment potential for a Forte. Finally, there are a few added features for the EX and as mentioned before, the EX is essentially a premium-grade vehicle in its trim model. The included 7-inch color touchscreen display audio system includes UVO eServices, Android Auto™, and Apple CarPlay™. This is a great technology integration for a compact car with a nice additional feature being a rear camera display. This is standard with the EX. The EX Premium Package is an add-on to elevate Forte EX with extra luxury, and the only added technology with that is front door handle pocket lights and perimeter approach lighting with the added feature of illuminated door handle pockets. Step-in pricing is steep between the EX and EX Premium Package, but the added technology for a consumer willing to pay the premium does make the worth of an upgrade. UVO eServices with Android Auto™ and Apple CarPlay™ is now also integrated into the new Kia Forte5, and the technology features within the Forte5 closely match what is in a sedan counterpart. Compare these features to what is offered in a compact car, these are exceptional, and they are features that can ease the livelihood of a Forte owner for years to come in an era where consumer electronics technology is always on the move.

3.3. Safety

When it comes to comparing safety features between the 2023 Kia Forte LX and LXS, new features become apparent. The LX is a carryover from 2022 and still has the familiar features such as the forward-collision avoidance system, lane departure warning, and lane keeping assist. This technology suite earned the 2021 Kia Forte the IIHS Top Safety Pick. The LXS, however, has improved to develop a more comprehensive system. In addition to the lane departure warning and lane keeping assist, the LXS now conveniently will give a steering input to guide you back into your lane if it detected that you had veered out of your lane without signaling. The new steering assist is an upgrade to the previous lane keeping assist, which only provided a warning and did not actively assist you back to your lane. The LXS now also includes Driver attention warning that monitors your driving and will alert you if you are driving in a way that indicates that you are becoming fatigued or losing concentration. Finally and also an upgrade to the forward-collision avoidance system found in the LX, the LXS now includes forward-collision avoidance assist-car and pedestrian. With this upgrade if the warning system senses a potential collision, the LXS will apply the brakes to prevent a collision, helping you to better avoid possible collisions. This advanced technology places the safety of the LXS another step beyond the LX.

4. Performance and Efficiency

The 2023 Kia Forte line offers a basic rear torsion beam suspension and a motor-driven power steering system that, while not particularly engaging, affords a comfortable and composed ride. High line EX models are equipped with a more sophisticated, yet compact, independent rear suspension which ups the handling ante a bit. Hoff noted the improvements and added that, "we were really impressed by the ride and handling of this car. It’s composed and comfortable on any road surface.

In contrast, the second-generation Forte was powered by a 173-horsepower 4-cylinder engine. However, in return for less power, the third-generation Forte gains improved fuel efficiency. LX and EX trims will get 31 miles per gallon city and 41 highway, while the FE line gets an estimated 35 mpg combined. These are slight improvements from the second-generation Forte and help save bucks at the pump.

The 2019 Forte is powered by a 147-horsepower 4-cylinder engine paired with either a 6-speed manual or a new CVT transmission. This is a step down in power from the second-generation Forte and is below average for the compact car segment. Pick up and go is lacking a bit, and excessive engine noise enters the cabin during acceleration.

4. Performance and Efficiency

4.1. Engine

The Kia Forte LX and LXS have a 2.0-liter inline-four that produces 147 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque, which is the same engine and power as the previous year. LX models have a choice of a six-speed manual or a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT); the LXS comes only with the CVT. We have yet to test the new 2023 Forte with the base engine and determine whether it's faster than the outgoing model. The 2019 Forte with this powertrain delivered a lackadaisical 8.1-second zero-to-60-mph time, so we don't anticipate the 2023 model to be a quick machine. Like the previous Forte, the 2023 model will offer a more powerful engine. This option will be available only for the top-spec Forte GT model, which will now come with a turbocharged 1.6-liter inline-four producing 201 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque. This replaces the previous 201-hp turbo 1.6-liter and has 4 more hp and 3 lb-ft than the outgoing model. The GT will come with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic; we expect to test this new powertrain and GT model soon and update this version once we have results.

4.2. Fuel Efficiency

LX and LXS are close kin in the Forte line and come with the same 2.0-liter, IVT Atkinson Cycle engine, so the best choice for fuel efficiency in a Forte would be the FE, and it comes in both trim levels now. The FE model nudges past other members of the Forte family with EPA-estimates of 31 mpg city, 41 mpg highway, and 35 mpg combined. The LX and LXS aren't far behind at 29/40/33 - all respectable numbers. Taking into account the size of the Forte sedan with one of the roomiest cabins in its class – the fuel economy is very impressive. All in all, the Forte is a practical option for long commutes or even a low-mileage Uber driver. For now, the 2023 Forte retains its Multi-Link rear suspension. This is another feature that makes the Forte an attractive option for those who spend a lot of time in their car and still yearn for some driving excitement. The higher trim levels with their sport-tuned suspension are rewarding for enthusiasts and the smooth ride and responsive handling will be appreciated by all drivers. The Forte has ample sound deadening and a comfortable driving position to improve the experience of long highway stints. This is important, because more highway driving doesn't have to mean fewer smiles per mile. (Motallebiaraghi et al.2023)(Carow, 2023)(Chandran et al.2022)(Motallebiaraghi, 2023)(Chakraborty et al., 2021)(Rabinowitz, 2023)


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