2023 Kia Forte Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Transmission, brakes, and steering issues are the main causes of complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Sergei Lemberg | Reviewer: Sergei Lemberg

The 2023 Kia Forte is essentially a 2022 model with only minor changes. The automaker boasts that it’s the “most dependable compact car,” and it combines power and comfort. But complaints from owners are surprisingly similar to those voiced about the 2022 model, with brake, steering, and various safety issues causing problems. Additionally, they are reporting major problems with the sedan’s transmission and complaining that it isn’t comfortable at all.  

Click on other model years to view more problems: 2019   2020   2021   2022

Most Common Problems with the 2023 Kia Forte

Consumer complaints to the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) relate to 10 components and systems. These are the airbags, brakes, the electrical system, exterior lighting, forward collision avoidance, lane departure, powertrain, steering, vehicle speed control, and visibility/wiper.

Several issues are regarded as safety concerns, including the transmission, brakes, and steering.

Apart from NHTSA complaints, owners have raised problems on Edmunds, including quality and comfort issues. For example, one owner comments that the “backseats (are) good for small children and probably adults on short distance for comfort, but it is more compact than a sedan.” Another states that the car is just plain uncomfortable.

Like the 2022 model, the infotainment system is also a problem. One owner states on Edmunds that Apple CarPlay doesn’t stay connected, “and the radio stinks, with nothing much coming out of all the speakers except for the one on the dash. I have to turn the volume up to 45 when in my Ford it was 10.” Another says that “if you have an iPhone and plan on connecting to Carplay – good luck. I’ve had the car for two months and can’t connect or get anyone on the phone to help me.”

2023 Kia Forte Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Steering
6
6
Forward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking
5
5
Electrical System
4
4
Power Train
4
4
Engine
3
3
Forward Collision Avoidance: Warnings
3
3
Air Bags
2
2
Lane Departure: Assist
2
2
Service Brakes
2
2
Unknown Or Other
2
2

Problems with the Transmission

When owners of brand new cars complain that they have their transmission changed within the first few thousand miles of use, it’s a cause for concern. But when you have owners complaining that they have had multiple transmission replacements, the alarm bells should be ringing for everyone.

There are at least 2 NHTSA complaints that report multiple transmission replacements.

In March, 2023, an owner wrote: “I have had two transmission replacements within the first 6,000 miles on the vehicle. And now the 3rd transmission is whining after only 600 miles.”

In May 2023, another owner complained: “I’ve had my car at the dealer four times now within the first 10k miles to get its FOURTH transmission replacement. Kia will not replace the transmission with a brand new one, however settles for used, refurbished transmissions with used parts.” These parts, the complaint states “have been failing on (an) average of 1,000 to 1,500 miles later.”

There is another complaint that mentions that the transmission along with faulty brakes, vehicle speed control, and the electrical system. See more below.

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Safety Issues with Brakes & Airbags

It’s difficult to rationalize how a car with serious safety issues can be described as the “most dependable compact car.” Those vehicles without problems may be highly dependable, but the owners who have bought 2023 Kia Forte vehicles with safety problems may be wondering if they’ve bought lemons.

Transmission, Brakes, and Other Problems

One owner of a 2023 Kia Forte GT describes how “the car shut off in the middle of the street while driving just one house up from my house. I attempted to turn it back on and the car would not turn back on.” The complaint also states that the “often hesitates, fails to shift and turns completely off.” When this happened on a hill, the owner realized it was “a huge safety concern.” Two days later, a similar incident ended in a crash. Luckily no-one was injured.

While moving the car from the home driveway, the car wouldn’t accelerate. “The transmission light, battery lights, and other lights came on. My car then said reverse, neutral, then reverse again.” Nothing she did would move the car. “Shortly after, I put my foot on the brake because I saw a white car speed behind me very fast. I kept my foot on the brake until the coast was clear and the white car disappeared. After that my car immediately went backwards at full speed.” It  jumped out of gear, accelerated, and then stalled before hitting a parked car.

Another complaint, listed as a lane departure and forward collision avoidance problem, also describes a brake failure. The owner states that the car slams on brakes “at random” without any warning. “I can be driving down the road and the wheel (will) try to jerk me into another lane. This car is not safe.”

Airbag Issues

Another safety issue involves the airbags not deploying.

“Vehicle was involved in an accident. No airbags were deployed. Vehicle was declared a total loss. Have reached out to KIA manufacturing regarding the issue.”

Steering Problems

If you can’t steer your car, you’ve got a major problem. An NHTSA complaint reports that there seems to be a steering issue. “It is very stiff and difficult to maneuver. Steering needs to be held tightly to keep (the) car in the lane.”

According to the complaint, the problem is that if the driver can’t control the steering wheel, the car “keeps on going towards the right side. I took the car to (the) service center as well and they also acknowledged the problem.” Believing that they had fixed the problem, the owner states that the issue is still persisting. To make matters worse, there weren’t any appointments available for at least a month. As a result, the complainant asks the NHTSA to “look into this issue so that it can be fixed or I can return the car.”

The complaint was dated May 8, 2023, but in December 2022, Kia America had issued a recall that there was a manufacturing error that could result in a loss of steering control. NHTSA Campaign Number 22V906000 states that as many as 939 2023 Kia Forte vehicles may have a “front left steering knuckle may crack.” Dealers will inspect and replace the knuckle free of charge.

Since the car in question hadn’t been examined when the complaint was issued, there is no indication whether the steering problems were due to a cracked knuckle.

What Should You Do If Your 2023 Kia Forte is a Lemon?

If you think you have a lemon, Lemberg Law will evaluate your problems and see whether this is the probable case. We have successfully negotiated many cash settlements, buybacks, trade-ins, and replacement vehicles for our clients.

The law makes Kia pay, so you don’t have to worry about legal bills if we go to court. So, call our Helpline or fill out a contact form right now.

Sergei Lemberg

About the Author:

Sergei Lemberg is an attorney focusing on consumer law, class actions related to automotive issues, and personal injury litigation. With nearly two decades of experience, his areas of practice include Lemon Law (vehicle defects), Debt Collection Harassment, TCPA (illegal robocalls and texts), Fair Credit Reporting Act, Overtime claims, Personal Injury cases, and Class Actions. He has consistently been recognized as the nation's "most active consumer attorney." In 2020, Mr. Lemberg represented Noah Duguid before the United States Supreme Court in the landmark case Duguid v. Facebook. He is also the author of "Defanging Debt Collectors," a guide that empowers consumers to fight back against debt collectors and prevail, as well as "Lemon Law 101: The Laws That Lemon Dealers Don't Want You to Know."

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