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How Well Does KIA Forte Drive In Snow? (Answered)

American/Mexican-made Kia Forte is one of those compact sedan cars with a good fuel economy and within the range of the average budget of a person that offers good specifications compared to a premium class sedan of other car manufacturers. Well, how does this compact car perform in snow conditions? Let’s find out that.

With a ground clearance of 5.3 inches, the Forte’s performance in mild to heavy snowy regions is mediocre. However, owners responded confidently to the handling of the Forte in light snow. It offers smart cruise control and heated seats for comfort in the winter and features such as forward collision assist, lane-keeping assistance, blind-spot warning, and other measures to combat the slippery conditions.

However, this does not cover the entire scenario. We’ll start by talking about how some owners feel about this subcompact SUV in snowy conditions, and then we’ll dig deeper into some of the car’s features, such as the Tires, driving systems, and electrical support systems.

Finally, we will see the ground clearance, weight distribution, and wheelbase of the Kia Forte. Make sure to read all the way to the end for some optional traction gear suggestions to help you get even more traction in the snow.

Also read: How Many Miles Can A Kia Forte Last?

Experiences Of KIA Forte Owners

We believe that including some KIA Forte owners in our discussion is critical because it will give you a clear picture of the Forte before you decide to purchase one. This was accomplished by researching a variety of forums to determine the consensus on this vehicle.

In our opinion, the owners of this car are pleased with its performance in cold weather, fuel efficiency, and driving comfort.

Let’s have a look at what customers think of Kia Forte in the snow.

“The transmission is far better than I expected. Snow performance is sub-par; if you live in a wintery area, a different set of tires is advised. Pay for the heated mirrors they’re worth it. Plenty of storage space. Great car for the money would highly recommend.”

Jon (2019 LXS 4dr Sedan)


“Spacey, high-quality interior. Not a fan of the infotainment system. Quiet car, dependable. The car has very good braking system, and I feel safe in it. Stability control makes snow driving easy with snow tires. It does not have much power but gets good gas mileage. Overall enjoy the car.”

Patrick G (2018 Kia Forte LX)


“The car could use some more storage areas like on the side doors, a hook for hanging a purse or bag. Tires seem to slide in the snow. I put on snow tires.”

kla6123kla (2020 Kia Forte)


Does KIA Forte Have Snow Tires?

For a new buyer, KIA Forte comes with All-season tires when it initially comes from the factory. Snow tires need to be purchased separately.

All-Season Tires– It provides excellent performance in all weather conditions, including snowy and icy roads. On the sidewall of all-season Tires, the words ALL SEASON and/or M+S (Mud and Snow) are inscribed.

Temperatures above 45 degrees Fahrenheit are ideal for the rubber compounds used in all-season tires. When it gets too cold, they solidify like a candy bar in the fridge, making them dangerous to rely on even on dry pavement in below-freezing temperatures.

So All-Season Tires are suitable for light winter conditions as they give an all-around performance in all sets of weather conditions but can’t be relied much upon for extreme snowy conditions.

Snow Tires – Snow Tires should be the same size and weight capacity as your original Tires. All four wheels should be equipped with snow Tires; otherwise, the vehicle’s handling may be compromised.

Winter tires are made of rubber compounds that are adaptable in cold temperatures and have microscopic pores. This helps soften the thin layer of water that your vehicle’s weight melts when driving on ice, allowing the flexible rubber to connect with it and create ice traction mechanically.

Snow Tires must have an air pressure of 28 kPa (4 psi) higher than the recommended Tire pressure on the driver’s side of the center pillar, or up to the maximum pressure listed on the Tire sidewall, whichever is lower, according to the user guide.

If you plan to drive in snowy or icy conditions, Kia recommends using snow Tires on all four wheels. Do not exceed 120 km/h if your vehicle has snow tires (75 mph).

If you want to buy snow tires, we advise you to use Tirerack. They have a great tool that allows you to find the perfect fit for your exact model, so you won’t have to worry about fitment issues. Furthermore, they also offer free shipping on most of their orders. Check out their store here!

Also read: Towing Capacity Of A Kia Forte

What Drive System Does KIA Forte Have?

KIA Forte comes with a Front-wheel Drive system (FWD). This system is applicable on all trims of Forte.  It would be best to remember that the Forte does not come with SNOW mode, a driving mode explicitly designed for snowy conditions. Because of this limitation, this vehicle is only recommended for people who live in areas with light snowfall.

FWD offers an excellent balance of efficiency, performance, and winter/seasonal capability. It will keep you safe in the majority of winter weather conditions. FWD manages the burden rather well because most of the car’s weight is above the two driving wheels, which aids in traction.

The front wheels are in charge of steering as well as the majority of braking. Oversteer is less frequent in an FWD vehicle because the drivetrain is practically dragging the car forward. When making abrupt turns, the FWD vehicle pulls the vehicle forward from its front two wheels, considerably reducing the risk of oversteering or the vehicle’s rear slipping or sliding.

FWD is undoubtedly better than RWD (Rear-wheel Drive) system as the RWD system lacks in accelerating on snowy roads due to less weight distribution on the rear side which further results in loss of traction.

AWD (All-wheel Drive) and 4WD (4-wheel Drive) shine on parts where heavy snow is experienced, but they also require other car properties such as ground clearance. But FWD outdoes them in terms of price, weight, and maintenance cost, though it lacks the same endurance in off-road snow tracks and conditions.

With no Snow mode and only an FWD system, having winter tires on all four wheels is better for navigating through light snow and icy conditions. Also, since FWD heavily relies on the car’s front side, which further manages the front wheels that propel the vehicle, it is advisable to keep the speed low as FWD lacks high-speed drifts.

Also read: Types Of Gas A Kia Forte Takes (All Generations)

What Electronic Systems Help KIA Forte in the Snow?

Driver Alert Warning (DAW)

By recognizing the driver’s usual tendencies and driving routine, DAW can detect abnormalities in your driving that could be a symptom of driver fatigue or a distracted driver.

When the system detects these issues, it gives visible and audible warnings to the driver, informing them that they are driving carelessly or should consider taking a break from driving on longer trips.

Forward Collision Assist

The Kia Forte now comes standard with forward collision assist, which uses radar to detect potential hazards or threats in the road ahead. This is especially important in the winter when slick and snowy conditions increase braking distances significantly.

Forward Collision Assist helps the driver apply the brakes if the car in front of you abruptly applies breaks. Even if the driver is slow to react, this feature of Forte will help them do so.

Blind-spot Collision Warning

A blind-spot collision warning system detects objects on the road ahead of the vehicle that the driver cannot see. Another car or object may be in the driver’s blind spot, as indicated by aural and visual cues. This is especially useful in snowy conditions because of poor vision due to haze.

The driver’s vision can also be poor due to other reasons, making it difficult for them to see cars in their blind spot. In this case, the system would prevent a collision.

Lane Keeping Assist

Kia Forte’s lane-keeping assist system is also quite good for less snowy conditions. The forward scanning radar will detect if the driver accidentally drifts out of the lane. The system will then make minor steering adjustments to keep the vehicle in its lane.

This is especially important in snowy conditions, as staying in your lane can be difficult when the car drifts and slides on slick pavement.

Furthermore, because distinguishing lanes in thick snow can be difficult, the system will assist the driver in staying in their lane.

Smart Cruise Control

On the Kia Forte, smart cruise control is a safety and luxury feature that regulates the vehicle’s speed based on the car in front of it. If the car in front of you slows down, so will the Kia Forte.

This feature is handy in snowy conditions because it allows the driver to maintain speed while keeping a safe distance from the car in front of them.

All of these safety functions were found in the owner’s manual of the 2021 KIA Forte.

Weight and Distribution

2021 KIA Forte ModelCurb Weight (lbs.)
FE Manual FE IVT2707 2908
EX IVT2908
GT-LINE IVT GT Manual GT DCT2908 2989 3079

All KIA Forte trims have roughly equal curb weight distribution, except for the Turbo, which has more features and is more muscular than the others. In light snow, the curb weight is average, and it is below average in medium snow.

Ground Clearance

All models have 5.3 inches of ground clearance, which is typical for a compact sedan. It is suitable for use in areas with only a thin layer of snow or the less snowy regions. This vehicle is not recommended in severe snow conditions due to its low ground clearance, which may cause snow clogging. In that case, depending on the needs, a pure SUV or truck is recommended.

The Wheelbase

Lastly, let’s talk about the wheelbase (the distance between the front and the rear tires) of Kia Forte. It is also essential because the length of a vehicle’s wheelbase affects how easily it can slip and lose control.

All models of Forte have a wheelbase of 106.3 inches, which is below average for heavy snow conditions. As a result of this limitation, having FWD in a car with snow tires and chains is recommended, as it compensates for the loss while retaining the car’s standard safety measures.

Traction devices for KIA Soul

Snow Chains – Previous owners and experts agree that having class S snow chains for the car available on Amazon is a good idea. Please make sure you get the proper snow chain for your tire size.

Winter Weight Oil – During cold weather, some climates recommend using lower viscosity winter-weight oil.

De-Icing Fluid – Squirt an authorized de-icer fluid or glycerine into the keyhole to keep the locks from freezing. To remove ice from a lock, spray it with a de-icing agent.

Window Washer Solution – Add an approved window washer anti-freeze solution according to the container’s instructions to keep the water in the window washer system from freezing.

Snow socks – They help with traction. It works well with snow chains. It is available here. Always double-check the size of the wheels. Do not exceed the 30 mph speed limit when using snow chains and snow.