2011 Kia Forte
February 10th, 2011Written by Kevin "Crash" Corrigan Added February 10th, 2011
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But the good news doesn’t end there. In fact, it’s just the start! Let me list a few of the niceties which come as standard on the 2011 Forte, and I’m talking about the base model here... 6 airbags, anti-whiplash front headrests, 4-wheel disc brakes, anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, power windows, power door locks, AM/FM/CD/MP3 with AUX and USB input ports, voice-activated Bluetooth, steering wheel mounted audio controls, and it even flaunts heated exterior mirrors. Now you have to admit, that’s a lot of what people want, and we’re still only talking of the $15,995 base model!
Of course not everyone enjoys playing with a stick shift, so an extra $1,200 will replace the manual gearbox with a modern, super-smooth 6-speed automatic. Summer is coming, or so they tell me, and you may wish to add a further $1,400 to that and have yourself some ice-cold air conditioning for those hot and sticky days. This price also includes keyless entry with the Panic Feature.
Moving on up to the top of the range we come to the EX which I was fortunate enough to enjoy for a week. Loaded with everything, this model moves the tire/wheel size up to 16 inch, and adds a power tilt & slide sunroof, steering-mounted cruise control, windshield wiper deicer, telescopic steering and, perhaps best of all (I had it during the coldest days of winter), heated seats. And when I say “heated,” we’re not talking of just the bottom pad which you sit on, but the seat backs too! All this and we still haven’t managed to break the $20k barrier! Now that’s what I call real value for your money!
This is all very well and good, but if the vehicle drives like a bucket of bolts, it doesn’t matter if these features come gold-plated with a signed autograph of Celine Dion. Well, you don’t have to worry on that score because I’d term this vehicle one of the best rides in its price range that I’ve ever driven. In fact, although I typically receive test vehicles for a week at a time, I don’t often get to drive them much more than a couple of hundred km, simply because of my schedule. However, the Forte came in a week when I had a lot of driving to do, and I piled the miles on it in some of the worst weather we’ve seen this winter. Admittedly, the company was smart enough to fit the vehicle with winter tires (something which, in my opinion, everyone should do), but I was truly amazed by how well-mannered and sure-footed the vehicle performed. The suspension has a firm yet cushioning ride, in many ways somewhat like a European car. The 4-wheel disc brakes prove more than capable of stopping the vehicle, with decent pedal feel.
The way I see it, Kia is heading in the right direction with products like this. Over the past year I’ve had the Kia Soul, which I still often rave about, and this week I’m in the new Sportage, which I’m also enjoying! Perhaps it’s because I like to feel that I’m getting value for my money. Whatever way you look at it, if Kia can impress me over and over like this, then it’s probably worth a stop at your local Kia dealer when you’re in the market for a new vehicle.
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