Compact sedans offer a striking balance of value and capability, and the best of them are probably more luxurious and refined than they were the last time you went car shopping. The Kia Forte is one of the most stylish and makes a strong financial case for itself with a fantastic warranty. The Subaru Impreza offers standard all-wheel drive (AWD), making it a solid choice where snow is often in the forecast. This comparison should help you decide which one is right for you.

2023 Kia Forte

Kia has made a name for itself with chic styling, fair prices, and a warranty that means few surprises in your budget for a long time. The 2023 Forte is a jack-of-all-trades with respectable performance, an excellent available technology suite, and a $19,490 starting price (plus $1,095 for delivery).

2023 Kia Forte Highlights

Crisp, up-to-date styling: Not every compact car looks this good. The Forte makes a great first impression with a sleek exterior. It works more magic from there, with one of the most contemporary cabins in the class.

Available turbo power: Plenty of compact sedans hover around 150-160 horsepower. That’s enough to get the job done around town. But if you want more power, Subaru can’t help you in this price range. Kia dealers also have 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder-equipped Fortes on the lot, good for 201 horsepower.

Excellent warranty: Kia’s 10-year powertrain warranty means that if you buy one today, you’ll likely avoid major repair bills for a decade. That peace of mind is hard to beat, and Subaru can’t match it.

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

2022 Subaru Impreza in charcoal gray.

2023 Subaru Impreza 

Subaru has a devoted following in cold-weather states, where its standard AWD system keeps the forecast from pinning you at home. The 2023 Impreza, which also boasts excellent safety scores, is the least expensive way to get it. But it’s an aging platform — Subaru will bring out an all-new Impreza for 2024. The Impreza starts at $19,795 (plus a $1,020 destination fee).

2023 Subaru Impreza Highlights

Standard AWD: The best reason to buy a Subaru never seems to change. The brand’s Symmetrical AWD system gives it all-weather capability. Combined with a flat “boxer” 4-cylinder engine that keeps the weight low, it gives the Impreza a stable, planted feel on a dry road, too.

Five-star safety: The Impreza earned the highest possible score — 5 stars — in government safety tests. That bests the Forte’s 4-Star rating.

Hatchback variant: It’s hard to beat the flexibility of a hatchback. Lowering the seats in a 5-door allows you to haul large cargo, even in a small car. Subaru still offers the Impreza in a handsome hatchback model. Curiously, Kia sells a hatchback Forte in most countries, but it’s not available in the U.S.

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


New car prices are creeping up, but the Forte and Impreza are still offered with a sticker price of less than $20,000. They’re also two of the last compact cars to offer manual transmissions — a plus for those of us who prefer that kind of control. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard in both.


The Kia Forte and Subaru Impreza are both great choices. The Forte has more up-to-date styling inside and out, and its 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty should earn it a test drive. The Subaru Impreza doesn’t make the same kind of first impression, but AWD and a hatchback option make it a better choice in some situations. The right choice comes down to your own priorities and how you expect to use your next car.

2023 Kia Forte 2023 Subaru Impreza
Popular Powertrains
Engine 2.0-liter 4-cylinder 2.0-liter 4-cylinder
Horsepower 147 hp @ 6,200 rpm 152 hp @ 6,500 rpm
Torque 132 lb-ft @ 4,500 rpm 145 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm
Transmission CVT CVT
Fuel Economy 34 mpg (30 city/41 hwy) 32 mpg (28 city/36 hwy)
Also Available 1.6-liter turbo 4-cylinder; 6-speed manual; 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission 5-speed manual, hatchback model
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 105.1 inches
Overall Length 182.7 inches 182.7 inches
Width 70.9 inches 70.0 inches
Height 56.5 inches 57.3 inches
Turning Diameter 34.8 feet 35.4 feet
Headroom, Front 38.8 inches 39.8 inches
Headroom, Rear 37.5 inches 37.2 inches
Legroom, Front 42.2 inches 43.1 inches
Legroom, Rear 35.7 inches 36.5 inches
Shoulder Room, Front 56.1 inches 56.7 inches
Shoulder Room, Rear 55.3 inches 55.6 inches
EPA Passenger Volume 96.0 cubic feet 99.8 cubic feet
EPA Cargo Volume 15.3 cubic feet 12.3 cubic feet


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