Philadelphia (WPHL)- Though the small car segment has been in decline throughout the past decade in the US … it  is likely to see a nice bounce in the next few years. 

With rising fuel costs and sky high car prices, many buyers who just need reliable daily trans will be looking at the new generation of small cars for value and fuel economy.  

And the good news is … there is a ready line-up of feature-packed affordable small cars that are priced right and deliver solid fuel economy. Unfortunately US car makers are largely left out of this market opportunity, since most of their product focus has been on SUVs and Crossovers.

Today we’re looking at the new 2022 KIA Forte GT which really tells the story of how the compact sedan has evolved to be the right car for today’s market conditions. 

First of all …  this car has great curb appeal. Nice exterior sport styling, a distinctive performance grille, red accent touches all around, as well as new complex LED headlights for improved visibility.  And this GT is definitely styling on 18-inch two-tone alloy wheels. 

Inside too the car has a practical but premium feel with sport leatherish upholstery with red stitching and matching GT embroidered logo, comfortable 5 person seating.  

The GT standard with 10.3-inch touchscreen with navigation, universal connectivity, keyless entry, remote-start, push-button ignition, dual climate control,  and cruise control w/ steering wheel controls

With the upgraded GT package come amenities like a 10-way adjustable lumbar support heated and cooled front seats, electronic parking and auto-hold brakes, LED interior lighting, rear parking sensors, a power sunroof, a booming Harman Kardon eight-speaker audio system..

This trim also gets you highway driving assist, and forward collision avoidance assist with cyclist detection. 

Safety ratings on the KIA Forte are good overall for crashworthiness and crash avoidance and mitigation, performing well on head-on front offset collisions.

The MSRP on the base model of this surprisingly roomy updated compact is $19,090 and with a 147 horsepower 4  cylinder gets 33 city / 41 highway mileage ratings. This GT sport sedan model is around $24,000 – $26,000, which means it’s easily $20,000 less than the average vehicle purchase in America today!

The Forte GT rolls with a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder pumping 201 horsepower,  mated with a seven-speed dual-clutch standard automatic transmission with equipped with bracing style paddle shifters. There is also a 6 speed manual edition if you want to get the most of this GT model.

Off the line this Forte does a respectable 6.4 second 0 – 60 … with a lot of power at the higher end … making it great for confident highway driving. 

The Forte GT has three drive mode settings … Comfort, Smart, and Sport.

The sport tuned suspension is particularly good for twisting turning back road driving, but the stiffness can be a little rough on uneven paved surfaces, though overall the ride is well cushioned for driver and passengers.

For car buyers frustrated by the lack of availability of new and pre-owned cars, compact cars like this KIA Forte are probably easier to find … and get a good deal on than high demand SUVs. 

The companies that stayed in the game with newer and sharper small cars … Nissan, Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, Volkswagen  … may now reaping the benefits of the long drought in economy car sales.

Even the lowly Toyota Corolla is now reborn in a Gazoo Racing (GR) Hot Hatch all-wheel drive 300 horsepower rally and street racer for around $30,000.