Compact sedans offer an amazing balance of value and capability, and the best of them are probably more luxurious and refined than the last time you went car buying. The Kia Forte is one of the most stylish cars around and offers a solid financial portfolio for itself with a great warranty. The Subaru Impreza offers standard all-wheel drive (AWD), making it a solid option where snow is often in the forecast. This comparison should help you decide which one is right for you.

2023 Kia Forte from an angle facing the camera.

2023 Kia Forte

Kia has made a name for itself with stylish design, fair pricing, and a warranty that means few surprises in your budget for a long time. The 2023 Forte is a utility vehicle with respectable performance, an excellent tech suite available, and a starting price of $19,490 (plus $1,095 for delivery).

Highlights 2023 Kia Forte

Crisp and modern design: Not every compact car looks good. The Forte makes a great first impression with its sleek exterior. It works with more charm from there, with one of the most contemporary cabins in the class.

Available turbo power: A lot of compact sedans hover around 150-160 hp. This is 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 the Fortes 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, good for 201 hp.

Premium Warranty: Kia’s 10-year powertrain warranty means if you buy one today, you could potentially avoid major repair bills for a decade. Peace of mind is hard to beat, and Subaru can’t match it.

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

2022 Subaru Impreza in Charcoal Gray.

2023 Subaru Impreza

Subaru has a devoted following in cold-weather situations, and standard AWD keeps forecasts from getting you stuck at home. The 2023 Impreza, which also boasts excellent safety scores, is the most affordable way to get one. But it’s an old platform—Subaru is bringing out the all-new Impreza for the 2024 model year. 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 symmetric all-wheel drive system gives it all-weather capability. Combined with a “boxer” four-cylinder engine that keeps weight down, it gives the Impreza a sure-footed, stable feel on a dry road, too.

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

Hatchback variant: It’s hard to beat the hatchback’s flexibility. Lowering the seats in 5 doors allows you to transport a large cargo, even in a small car. Subaru still offers the Impreza in a handsome hatchback. Oddly enough, Kia sells the Forte hatchback in most countries, but it’s not available in the United States

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


New car prices are increasing, but the Forte and Impreza are still offered for under $20,000. It’s also two of the last compact cars to offer a manual transmission—a plus for those of us who prefer that kind of control. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard on both.


The Kia Forte and Subaru Impreza are both great options. The Forte has a more modern design inside and out, and its 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty should give it a test drive. The Subaru Impreza doesn’t make the same kind of first impression, but the all-wheel-drive option and 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 vehicle.

2023 Kia Forte 2023 Subaru Impreza
Popular Powertrains
engine 2.0 liter 4 cylinder 2.0 liter 4 cylinder
horse power 147 HP @ 6,200 RPM 152 HP @ 6,500 RPM
torque 132 lb ft @ 4500 rpm 145 lb ft @ 4000 rpm
Connecting CVT CVT
fuel economy 34 mpg (30 city/41 h) 32 mpg (28 city/36 hours)
Also available 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder; 6-speed manual 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission 5-speed manual, hatchback model
a guarantee 5 years / 60,000 miles 3 years / 36,000 miles
Powertrain warranty 10 years / 100,000 miles 5 years / 60,000 miles
NHTSA Public Safety 4 stars 5 stars
Maximum seating capacity 5 5
wheelbase 106.3 in 105.1 in
total length 182.7 in 182.7 in
Show 70.9 in 70.0 in
to rise 56.5 in 57.3 in
turning diameter 34.8 ft 35.4 ft
headroom, front 38.8 in 39.8 in
headroom, rear 37.5 in 37.2 in
Legroom, front 42.2 in 43.1 in
legroom, rear 35.7 in 36.5 in
Shoulder room, front 56.1 in 56.7 in
Shoulder room in the back 55.3 in 55.6 in
Passenger volume in EPA 96.0 cu. ft 99.8 cubic feet
EPA charging volume 15.3 cu. ft 12.3 cubic feet

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