2011 Kia Forte
February 10th, 2011Written by Kevin "Crash" Corrigan Added February 10th, 2011
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People often say, “You don’t get much for your money nowadays,” but perhaps that’s simply because they’ve been looking in the wrong places. I’ve just spent a week in the new Kia Forte 4-door EX and not only is it a pleasurable vehicle to drive, but also fairly inexpensive to purchase, and offers considerably more than one might first expect. Let’s take a closer look at the Kia of today.
When the company originally came into Canada, it sold its products much like its sister brand, Hyundai. In fact, for several years the two companies showcased a remarkably similar lineup. I feel this often confused buyers and I’m glad to say that this situation has finally been addressed. Today, whilst Hyundai aims slightly more up-market with products like its Genesis & Equus models, both of which have received highly favourable reviews of late, things on the Kia side of the fence are also looking pretty sweet.
Kia has been busy reinventing its product line and is quickly establishing itself as the sensible choice for the younger generation of Canadian go-getters, and with good reason. The Forte may be priced in the entry-level category (prices start at just $15,995, with the coupe starting at $18,995), but the features included on this vehicle make it a rather tempting option for those looking to “have it all” without paying the price typically associated with that phrase.
The entry-level LX gets you a smart looking 4-door sedan with a 6-speed manual transmission. The vehicle is a decent size with a fairly spacious trunk and, although I only sat in the rear seat for a moment or two, simply to test it out, I would imagine it to be pretty comfortable back there, even on a long journey. The interior has been well thought out and, although the new wave of soft touch plastics has perhaps missed a spot or two, particularly on the door panels, I’ll readily admit to feeling suitably impressed. It’s comfortable, with good all-round vision, and the controls have been well placed and are easy to understand. In fact, taking into consideration the price of the vehicle, I think the company has done a grand job of making you feel good behind the wheel.
In fact, the only exception to what I’ve just said, and perhaps I’m being a little picky here simply because the rest is so good, is that the steering wheel would benefit by a visit from the soft-touch genie. You’ll frequently hear me rant about this on a lot of vehicles, and I won’t stop until the car companies finally take note, but what’s the most important fixture in an automobile? It’s everything you constantly touch, and what part of the car do you touch the most? You’ve got it, the steering wheel. You know, it’s all well and good to make the dashboard soft and luxurious, but when does anyone drive along caressing that? Trust me on this one Mr. Kia; improve the feel of the steering wheel in this vehicle and you’ll be hitting a home run.
Moving on, all Forte models are powered by a 156hp 2.0L I4 engine which, I have to say, is quite sprightly for its size and, whether you go for the stick or the automatic, they’re both six-speed versions. Now that’s something which few manufacturers can boast of on a vehicle in this price range!
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