2015 Kia Forte Problems – Is This A Model Year To Avoid?

by Conner Mckay

Kia is one of the fastest-growing car brands in the world. The beginning of the company dates back to 1944. Since then, the company has undergrown rapid growth. Kia has now become the world’s fifteenth-largest vehicle manufacturer. The Kia Forte is one of the most popular Kia vehicles on the market. However, the 2015 model year of this vehicle is known for having some issues. Because of that, we thought of discussing some of the 2015 Kia Forte problems with you.

Reliability is a key factor that should be considered when buying a vehicle. So, it is scary when a vehicle has known reliability issues. Most of the time these issues are simple. But, there are times when a model has severe issues. This is the same for the Kia Forte as well. Here, we will take a deep dive into all the known issues of the 2015 model. After going through this article, you will have an understanding of everything there is to know. With that, let’s begin!

Kia Reliability

Before discussing the 2015 Kia Forte problems, it is important to have an idea about the overall reliability of Kia vehicles. Kia is a Korean car manufacturer. Because of this, there are some doubts about their reliability. Older Kia models are known to be unreliable. They are also known to be built using very cheap materials.

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However, the Kia brand went through a big change during the last decade. This makeover cost Kia billions of dollars. As a result of this, Kia vehicles are now more reliable than ever.

Kia Forte

The Kia Forte is Kias’ competitor in the compact car segment. The model made its debut in mid-2008. Since then, it has become one of the best sellers in the Kia model lineup. The Forte has some other names as well. In its home country of South Korea, it’s called the Kia K3.

Our Chinese readers may know this car as the Kia Shuma. It’s referred to as the Kia Cerato in South America, New Zealand, and Australia. No matter what it is called, the Forte is a popular vehicle. The car is currently in its third generation.

This new generation is a complete overhaul of the vehicle. This generation debuted in 2018. This small sedan is front-wheel drive. Moreover, five people can sit inside the spacious cabin.

Kia Forte Pros

There are a number of factors that make the Kia Forte a popular vehicle. Let’s look into them, shall we?

1. Affordable Price

The Kia Forte is one of the most affordable vehicles on the road today. The base model costs less than $20,000. This is a great price for a roomy, easy-to-use vehicle. This starting price is significantly lower than that of its peers. The main competitors of the Kia Forte are the Ford Focus, Mazda 3, and the Honda Fit (make sure you know the best year for Honda Fit).

2. Fuel Economy

If you care a lot about fuel economy, the Kia Forte is the car for you. Kia is a brand that is well known to produce fuel-efficient cars. The Forte is one of the most fuel-efficient vehicles offered by Kia. The EPA estimated fuel consumption is 22 miles per gallon in the city and 31 miles on the highway.

3. Roomy Interior

The Forte has one of the largest interiors in its class. Five people can comfortably sit in it. The interior has a capacity of 14.9 cubic feet, which is much larger than its competitors.

4. Variety Of Engine Choices

A total of three engine choices are offered with the Kia Forte. The standard engine is a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine. It comes paired with a manual transmission. But, an automatic transmission can be selected as well. A stronger, 2.0-liter engine is offered with the Forte EX. The most powerful engine offered with the Kia Forte is a 1.6-liter four-cylinder. This engine can also be had in turbocharged form. The turbo increases the power output to an impressive 201 horsepower.

5. High-Tech Features

The Kia Forte comes with a large number of high-tech features. What’s better is that most of these features are offered as standard. A four-speaker stereo system, an HD radio, Bluetooth along with a USB interface are a few of the audio features offered. When talking about other interior features, the heated steering can be taken as the most impressive feature. It is accompanied by front and back heated seats. This is a rare feature to be offered in a vehicle at this price range.

Sattelite navigation along with a rearview camera is bound to come in handy wherever you go. Luckily, bot these features come as standard in the Kia Forte. Exterior accessories like LED taillights, illuminated door handles, and a sunroof is also offered with this vehicle.

6. Safety Features

Another reason to choose the Kia Forte is the variety of safety features offered. Anti-lock brakes and stability control come as standard. Front and side curtain airbags are other safety features that come with the Forte. Also, you can equip your vehicle with the UVO telematics service. Crash notifications and secondary driver monitoring features are made possible with this optional service.

With all these great features, you may be compelled to buy a used Kia Forte. In that case, the 2015 model is one of the best choices you have. Let’s take a look at this model year.

2015 Kia Forte

The 2015 Kia Forte is one of the best affordable small cars on the market. This model introduced a new, larger body than the previous year’s model. Moreover, two new sporty trim levels were also introduced. The fuel economy also saw a significant improvement with this model year. The safety of the Kia Forte also saw an improvement with the 2015 model.

However, there is a fair share of 2015 Kia Forte problems we have to discuss. This car was the subject of a number of recalls. In the next section, we will discuss this in-depth.

2015 Kia Forte Recalls

A recall happens when a vehicle does not meet minimum safety standards. They can be issued by the NHTSA, or even the manufacturer themselves. As with other budget cars, the Kia Forte also went through a few recalls. The earliest recall happed in 2010. After that, the Kia Forte has been recalled due to;

  • 2010 – Users being unable to disengage the cruise control system
  • 2011 – Manufacturing defects of the transmission fluid cooler hose
  • 2012 – Brake lights not illuminating because of a faulty switch
  • 2013 – Faulty seat belt retaining plates that can brake
  • 2014 – Overheating cooling fan resistor that is a fire hazard

So far, there have been two 2015 Kia Forte recalls. The first one happened due to an issue with the brake pedal. The switch plunger of the brake system is prone to malfunction. It causes the brake pedal stopper pad to deteriorate. This can result in the car shifting out of the park gear, without the brake pedal being pressed.

This was a major safety issue. As a result, a recall was issued. The 2015 Kia Forte problem that caused the second recall was even more severe. The engine of the Forte was affected by oil leaks. These oil and fuel leaks could even lead to fires in the engine compartment. So, all 2015 Kia Fortes were recalled to fix this issue.

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There are several trim levels of the Kia Forte in the market today. It is important for you to have a good idea about them. We say that because this knowledge can come in handy when you are making a choice.

2015 Kia Forte5 SX

The Forte5 is the sporty option in the Kia Forte lineup. This model is powered by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine. The engine is turbocharged, which gives it a horsepower bump. The final power figures are 201 horsepower and 196 lb-ft of torque. You also get a choice of an automatic or manual transmission. Both of these are 6-speed transmissions.

The Forte5 SX can be had in both sedan and coupe forms. Whichever model you choose, you are guaranteed to have a roomy interior. The car is capable of accelerating to 60 mph from a standing start in 6.9 seconds. This is an impressive performance for a car in its class. If you are looking for an affordable yet powerful compact car, the Forte5 SX is a good choice.

2015 Kia Forte EX

The Forte EX has a bigger engine when compared to the Forte5. It is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, capable of producing 173 HP. This engine has a peak torque output of 154 lb-ft. However, the only transmission option offered with the EX sedan is the automatic. The 0-60 time of the Forte EX is 8.1 seconds.

A number of high-tech features are available with this model. The large touchscreen is one of the eye-catching features of the interior. The Kia Forte EX also has better braking performance than its competitors. It can come to a complete stop at a speed of 60mph at 121 feet. The vehicle has an overall four-star crash test rating. This makes the Forte EX one of the safest cars in the compact car segment.

2015 Kia Forte LX

The Kia Forte LX is the base model of the lineup. However, don’t let this fool you. For its price, the Forte LX comes with its fair share of modern equipment. An iPod interface, as well as Bluetooth connectivity, come as standard options. Not only that, there are many standard safety features as well. Traction control is one such feature. It helps to keep the vehicle under control in low grip conditions. Anti-lock brakes and side airbags are some of the other safety features offered with the Kia Forte LX.

At the heart of the Kia Forte LX is also a four-cylinder engine. But, here the displacement is 1.8 liters. The engine makes 145 horsepower and 130 l-ft of torque. Once again, the six-speed automatic is the only transmission available. Smooth gear changes, as well as responsive, downshifts, are some great features of this transmission.

By being the base model, the LX misses out on some features. One such omission is the Kia UVO telematics system. Nonetheless, people looking for an affordable compact vehicle should definitely take a look at the Kia Forte LX. We believe it is one of the best contenders for this use case.

No matter which trim level you choose, common issues are a fact that should always be considered. In the next section, we will take a look at this important factor. After that, we are going to talk about the 2015 Kia Forte problems.

2015 Kia Forte Issues

The Kia Forte is an affordable vehicle. With such a price point, some issues have to be expected. Several Kia Forte issues have been identified through the years.

2015 Kia Forte Issues #1 – Paint Quality

The Kia Forte competes at the lowest end of the automotive market. As a result, cheap materials are used for its construction. The quality of these materials seems to have an effect on the paint quality of the vehicle. Many Kia Forte owners report the thinness of the body panels. This can be dangerous in the case of an accident. Poor paint quality is another issue caused by these poor-quality materials.

2015 Kia Forte Issues #2 – Lack Of Comfort

The Kia Forte is known to have a lot of body roll in corners. This is an uncomfortable feeling for the passengers of the vehicle. Body roll is caused by high ride height, as well as suspension issues. Another one of the well-known 2015 Kia Forte problem is engine noise. This becomes annoying during longer drives. Four-cylinder engines, like the ones found in the Forte, are well known to be noisy.

2015 Kia Forte Issues #3 – Safety

When compared with its rivals, the Kia Forte has slightly lower safety ratings in some areas. The main area of concern is the small overlap rating. The Forte is one of the lowest-performing vehicles in this area. Owners have expressed their concern over this issue. However, the 2015 Kia Forte has a four-star rating for the frontal impact test. It is a slight improvement over the previous model year.

Reliability is an important factor for all car buyers. It can decide whether you love a car, or hate it. In the next section of this article, we will tell you about the reliability of the Kia Forte.

2015 Kia Forte Reliability

There are some known issues with the Kia Forte. But, the overall reliability of this car is generally good. It is an easy-to-handle vehicle. The Kia Forte can easily be used up to 100,000 – 200,000 miles. However, older Kia Forte models are a bit unreliable. The most unreliable is the 2010 model. Also, the 2017 model year is known to have a noisy interior.

The maintenance cost of the Kia Forte depends on the way you maintain it. Regular service and maintenance are essential for any vehicle. For the first ten years, the estimated maintenance cost of the Kia Forte is  $6000. It is about $1000 less than the maintenance cost of its main competitors. The Forte also requires less frequent repairs than its competitors. This also adds to its reliability.

We previously mentioned some known 2015 Kia Forte problems. Let’s talk about them now.

2015 Kia Forte Transmission Problems

The Kia Forte has a few transmission issues. The most severe one is related to the transmission fluid cooler hose. This hose has been manufactured improperly by the manufacturer. As a result, this hose can leak, emptying the transmission fluid.  It can cause the vehicle to be immobile. Transmission hesitation and gear slips are two other well-known 2015 Kia Forte transmission problems.

2015 Kia Forte Engine Problems

Most of the 2015 Kia Forte problems are related to the engine. Generally, these issues start to creep up at around 100,000 miles. Most of these issues are severe. The only way to fix them properly is by replacing the entire engine. These are some of the most expensive issues you may encounter when owning a Kia Forte. A Kia Forte engine replacement costs about $4000.

2015 Kia Forte Engine Problems #1 – Engine Knocking

The Kia Forte has been plagued with engine knocking issues since the 2010 model year. This is one of the most well-known 2015 Kia Forte problems. The only fix for engine knocking is an engine replacement. Noises coming from the inside of the engine are the best indication of this issue. You should avoid buying a Kia Forte with engine knocking at all costs.

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2015 Kia Forte Engine Problems #2 – Rough Idle and Running

A rough-running engine is not good news for any user. Unfortunately, this is also one of the common 2015 Kia Forte problems. This issue often comes up after the vehicle completes over 10,000 miles. Luckily, this issue is not as severe as the engine knocking we talked about before. It can be fixed by simply replacing the ignition coil of the engine. This is a far cheaper fix than replacing the engine.

2015 Kia Forte Brakes Problems

There were a few brake problems found with the Kia Forte as well. In some models, the brake light may not illuminate. This is caused by a malfunctioning brake light switch. Also, there is another well-known issue with the brake pedal. This happens due to the deterioration of the brake pedal stopper pad. A deteriorated stopper pad can cause the vehicle to shift out of the parking gear, which is dangerous.

2015 Kia Forte Radio Problems

The radio and sound system of the Kia Forte also has some issues. These often happen around the 73,000-mile mark. On most occasions, the sound system can completely stop working. However, this is a software issue only. So, it can be simply fixed by performing a hard reset on the radio. The way to perform a hard reset is listed in the service manual of the vehicle. Although not severe, this issue can be annoying for most Kia Forte owners.

Other 2015 Kia Forte Problems

Other than the main problems we discussed, there are several 2015 Kia Forte problems as well.

2015 Kia Forte Problems #1 – Leaking Tail Light Seals

This is a manufacturing defect of the Kia Forte. The factory-applied tail light seals can sometimes be faulty. This causes water to leak inside the taillights. This issue is known to happen around the 20,000-mile mark. On most occasions, Kia will fix it under warranty. If not fixed, this may cause the tail lights to stop functioning entirely.

2015 Kia Forte Problems #2 – Faulty Door Locks

Faulty door locks are another common issue with the Kia Forte. The vehicle failed the side impact test a few times as well. If you plan to carry kids around, this can be a turnoff.

Kia Forte: Facts You Need to Know Before Buying

  1. Both new and old Kia Forte models are prone to serious engine problems due to poor design.
  2. Theta II engines found in 2012-2015 Forte models are especially problematic and can experience knocks, oil leaks, and engine failure.
  3. A recall was issued in 2021 for the Theta II engine problems, but the investigation into engine fires is ongoing.
  4. The 2014 Forte is the most problematic due to electronic issues increasing the risk of an engine fire.
  5. The 2014-2018 Kia Fortes have airbag issues, with the 2017 and 2018 models being the worst due to complete airbag deactivation.
  6. Newer models have fewer problems but still face oil pump failures, which the recall does not fully address.
  7. Engine problems are most severe in Fortes with Theta II engines, particularly those with 2.0L or 2.4L engines.
  8. The 2014 Forte’s engine issues are rated a 10 out of 10 for severity and have a typical repair cost of $5,000.
  9. Kia dealerships will replace the oil pan free of charge for 2017 and 2018 Fortes with Nu MPI engines, but this likely will not solve the entire problem.
  10. If you’re considering buying a Kia Forte, aim for a newer model, as they are likely to have fewer problems and longer lifespans.

Conclusion For 2015 Kia Forte Problems

The Kia Forte is one of the most popular compact cars around today. But, it has some issues. In this article, we discussed the various 2015 Kia Forte problems with you. We started off by looking into the overall reliability of Kia vehicles. Then, we looked at some of the best features of the Kia Forte itself.

Then, we discussed the various Kia Forte trim levels offered. In the final sections, the reliability, as well as some of the most well-known problems with this vehicle, have been discussed with the reader.

FAQS On 2015 Kia Forte Problems

Here are some popular FAQs:

Is Kia Forte A Good Car

The Kia Forte is an affordable compact car. There are many features that make it a good car. Great standard safety features, a choice of powerful engines, a roomy passenger cabin, and great high-tech features are some of them. If maintained well, the Forte will serve you reliably for years to come.

Kia Forte Gas Mileage

Kia Forte is a compact car. As a result, it gets good gas mileage. The EPA-rated gas mileage is 26 in the city and 39 miles per gallon on highway use.

Are Kia Cars Reliable

Modern Kia models are very reliable. However, older Kia models are known to be unreliable. If you are looking for a Kia to buy, be sure to choose one from the past few years.

How Long Do Kia Forte Last

Kia Forte models last for 100,000 – 200,000 miles. But, this depends on how well you maintain the vehicle. If the maintenance is not done properly, the vehicle will not last as long.

Kia Forte Ground Clearance

The Kia Forte has a higher ground clearance than its competitors. This can depend on the model year as well as the trim level. Typically, this ranges between 5.3 inches and 5.9 inches.

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1 comment

Brina 10/24/2023 - 11:00 pm

I own a 2010 Forte with the 1.8 litre engine.

Other than regular maintenance, the only parts I replaced were the alternator ($360) and a door actuator ($115).

It currently has 206,000 on the speedo: 125K of those I put on in eight years. The engine has been noisy for 65K miles but no issues other than noisy.

I’m looking at a 2015 Forte LX as my next ride. I hope to do as well with this as I did with the 2010


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