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View Poll Results: 2010 Kia Forte
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Old 06-11-2009, 01:59 PM   #1
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2010 Kia Forte

What do you guys think? Could this be a good competitor against the upcoming Ford Focus?





While other automakers are mired the muck of one of the worst auto slumps in history, Kia is busy going about the business of reinventing itself. Flush with confidence after the recent successful launch of its all-new Soul, Kia has reloaded and is firing another shot across the bow of its competition with the 2010 Kia Forte, its new bread-and-butter car that replaces the Spectra.

Changing the name to Forte from Spectra is a big part of Kia's brand makeover, designed to help take it from cheap date to belle of the ball. While the Spectra has been a volume seller for Kia here in the U.S., the automaker says the car never connected with consumers in a meaningful way.

But make no mistake: Forte is much more than just a badge swap. Built to go head-to-head with the likes of the holy trinity of compact cars -- the Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, and Mazda3 -- the Forte bears no resemblance to nor shares a platform with the outgoing Spectra. Kia made it crystal clear this is a new car, inside and out.

The Forte's sheetmetal duds, penned at the Korean automaker's California design studio, are neatly pressed, featuring a version of Kia's new look front fascia with swept-back headlights. Its creased hood flows nicely into the A-pillar and there's a subtle beltline that runs from the headlights to the attractive trapezoidal taillamps. Out back, the rear deck features a neat spoiler effect. At 178.3-in. long by 69.9-in. wide by 57.5-in. high, with a 104.3 in. wheelbase, the Forte is well-proportioned and sports a wide track for the segment. Bottom line, this is one slick-looking compact.

Ok, so it looks the part, but does it drive it, too? After our stint behind the Forte's well-executed multi-function steering wheel, we'd put it right up there with the best the compact segment has to offer.

The Forte comes in three trim levels: the base spec LX, the volume EX (both of which are powered by a 156-hp 2.0L four mated to either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic rated at 25 city/34 highway mpg), and the top trim SX. A special fuel economy package for the EX comes with a five-speed automatic, Kia's Motor Drive Power Steering, an optimized alternator, silica tires, and aero enhancements, and nets the car an impressive 27 city/36 highway mpg rating.

We spent the bulk of our drive time in the top level Kia Forte SX, which is powered by a 2.4L, 173 hp four banger mated to the optional five-speed automatic transmission (a six-speed manual is standard in the SX). Kia says 0-60 times are in the mid 7-second range for the SX.

It proved a competent powertrain in virtually any day-to-day driving situation, and boasts more power with better fuel economy (23 city/31 highway) than its Mazda3s and Corolla XRS trim-level rivals. But where the Forte really shines is in the suspension feel. Kia's engineers took great pains to tune the car's ride and handling, and it really shows.

While the Forte is fitted with fairly standard hardware -- an independent front with MacPherson struts and a stabilizer bar, plus a torsion beam rear with struts and coil springs -- it strikes a nice balance between comfort and sport, leaning a bit more toward the sport side of the equation. It sucks up bumps without crashing into them, and in the twisty section of the drive it felt downright sports car-like, exhibiting little body roll.

There's a small dead spot in the engine-speed-sensitive, power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering setup, but overall the wheel feel has a nice weight to it and generally goes where you point it. The SX's discs (all Fortes come with four-wheel discs as standard equipment) stopped the 2868-lb car with little drama. The discs are aided by an impressive acronym soup of safety features including ABS, ESC (stability control), BAS (brake assist), EBD (electronic brake force distribution), and TCS (traction control). All of those features, as well as six airbags and front active safety headrests, are standard across the Forte range.


In the cabin, the Forte leads its class in several categories, most notably its 14.7 cu-ft of cargo volume, which can be expanded greatly if you fold down the 60/40 split rear seats (optional on the LX). Headroom can be an issue in the back seats for taller passengers, however. Build quality on the pre-production examples we sampled was first rate, and the materials are on par with other offerings in the segment.

The center stack is clean and uncluttered and the cubby located below it features two 12-volt outlets flanking an iPod dock -- a thoughtful touch. The three-gauge cluster is also easy on the eyes and there's a fuel efficiency monitor on auto-equipped models. The cabin was relatively quiet at freeway speeds, with little wind noise exhibited, although the SX's 215/45R17 tires did make a racket over certain surfaces.


Other standard features across the range include Bluetooth hands-free integration and a CD/MP3 system with three months of free Sirius satellite radio. Options (depending on the trim level) include leather seating, an up-level-wheel/tire package, and sunroof. One notable omission from the option list is a factory navigation system, although an aftermarket Garmin package will become available.

In the past, Kia made its hay as being the brand with the cheapest cars. While that's not necessarily the case anymore (our SX tester with the leather package and sunroof checked in at $20,490), when you factor in the wealth of standard features, the Forte is still a value player relative to the rest of the segment.

After our day in the Forte sedan -- the flagship of an emerging Forte line that will soon be joined by the Forte Koup and possibly a hatch and hybrid in the future -- we can safely say that Kia's transformation from purveyor of budget transportation with a great warranty to a respected, top-tier brand is nearing completion. How consumers react to this change will hold the key to the Forte's future success.

Text Source: MotorTrend


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Old 06-11-2009, 02:16 PM   #2
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nope. its made by kia. kia is the auto industry's D student
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Old 06-11-2009, 02:21 PM   #3
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It's a nicely styled little sedan and coupe, but I certainly hope the next-gen Focus will be a bit upmarket of it (and competing more with Golf/Jetta).

But I'd say it's a worthy competitor for the CURRENT U.S. Focus...
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Old 06-11-2009, 02:27 PM   #4
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Another honda ripoff lol. Actually looks like a civic and a wrx had a baby.
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Old 06-11-2009, 02:34 PM   #5
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looks like a civic in the front and a lancer in the back
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Old 06-11-2009, 05:50 PM   #6
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I like it because this vehicle is not trying to stand out too much, not like other car manufactures for example the nissan cube; where it's just something I would not be caught dead in one.

It would most likely be on my list of cars to consider buying in the next.... 2-3 years.
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Old 06-11-2009, 06:10 PM   #7
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no way possible
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Old 06-11-2009, 06:16 PM   #8
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its a kia, enough said
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Old 06-11-2009, 06:41 PM   #9
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^^^ Thanks!!!!
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Old 06-11-2009, 06:59 PM   #10
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That is one NOISY interior, but I like it. Probably falls apart in a year or so. Although, Kia is beginning to make up for a larger percentage of automobiles on the road, every year.

I don't think it will ever be a competitor to the Focus as it already has a great repertoire and fan base.
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