As I mentioned before, the Forte’s steering feels tight and communicates decent road feel to the driver. The car has a low profile and there was minimal lean on curves. The suspension is fairly supple but feels firm on turns. You feel the bumps in the road but you won’t spill your coffee. The car was responsive whenever I turned the steering wheel and the Forte felt quite nimble on the small streets in Calistoga and Yountville. The turning radius was great. I did not go crazy in the Forte and push it to the limit or anything but I doubt most buyers of the Forte won’t either. Even when I was carrying extra weight in the back while moving the rocking chair and ottoman (in the trunk), the Forte gripped the road very well on turns.
I really liked the styling on the Forte. It’s light years ahead of the Spectra, but that’s not really saying much. The Forte is a good looking car. It has good proportions. Unlike the latest Honda Civic where the cabin is pushed almost all the way forward, the Forte has a hood that’s just long enough to give it a proper sedan look. The back window is raked just enough to give it a modern aerodynamic look. The profile is sporty for a sedan without resembling a wedge like on a Prius, and the wheels are pushed pretty far into the corners for a compact. The headlights are a good example of the new Kia corporate look, which works well on the Optima and scales well to this compact sedan. The taillights on the Forte are stylish as well, with sharp lines and angles and intricate design details that convey a level of attention that’s rare on a sub-$20K sedan.
The Forte is a very well-packaged proposition for under $20,000. It is stylish, fairly quick on its feet, handles well on highways as well as in the city, roomy in the trunk and in the cabin, has plenty of amenities and options, and you get leather seats for under twenty grand. Plus the car gets good MPG. I drove it to work a few days and took it on a road trip on the weekend, and the Forte did a great job at both tasks. It will not turn heads or get placed out front by the valet, but it will not shame you either in the parking lot. It is a compact sedan that will surprise you in many positive ways.
Who should buy it?
This is not a driver’s car. This is not an edgy car. So if you’re looking for driving dynamics or to stand out from the crowd, the Kia Forte is not for you. The Kia Soul, for example, is also a compact car but with styling that will get you more attention. However, if you’re looking for a solid compact sedan that’s both stylish and sensible, the Forte is a good bet. If you’re worried about reliability on a Korean car, build quality has also improved dramatically at Kia. The 10-year/100,000 limited powertrain warranty is better than the standard warranty you’ll find from many other manufacturers.
Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by the Kia Forte. Its styling, performance and build all exceeded my expectations for a sedan of this size and price range. It is a very nicely packaged compact sedan that will get you from point A to point B during the week with no problems and get you around on weekends in style. It is not an econobox that you’d be ashamed of driving to the high school reunion. For less than twenty grand, you get a lot of features and appointments in a solid sedan.
|The official website of Kia Motors – www.kia.com|
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