2010 Kia Forte

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2010 Kia Forte EX — Flash Drive

By Staff of MSN Autos

View Pictures:  2010 Kia Forte EX

The Kia Forte is a smart-looking vehicle. The styling is fresh and stands out against its competitors the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla, thanks to the wrap-around headlights and the chiseled body lines. You can feel the solidity of the car just by opening and closing its doors. Clearly, Kia has built this car well. Inside the Forte, the controls are easy to read and the quality of materials is good. Headroom and legroom in the front and back seats is good. The rear seat is comfortable for two adults, and it is easy to get infants in and out of their child seats. Driving the car during the commute was a pleasure, because the Forte is a miser at the pump, even with a 4-speed automatic transmission. I achieved 30 mpg in mixed driving. While the Forte is slightly underpowered, that sacrifice is worth it to achieve better fuel economy. –Joe Chulick

Kia would have you believe that the Forte is a well-equipped luxury car for a bargain-basement price — that a full feature set equates to luxury. I was skeptical. Does that mean that Wal-Mart is a luxury store because it sells so many different items? And would all of the Forte's features imply lower quality to meet the price target? In reality, the Kia Forte is not so well-equipped; there was nothing in this $19,000 car (as tested) that seemed like a luxurious feature. But it didn't feel like a cheap car, either. In fact, the Forte is impressive. Kia has simply built a creditable car that can compete on any criteria, not just price. I found myself unable to pinpoint why the Forte isn't best-in-class in this segment, but it's not. It is very good, but somehow it just doesn't have character enough to stand out. –Paul Hagger

Kia's new Forte compact sedan is the latest evidence that design is a top priority at the South Korean automaker. It has a great-looking and distinctive exterior design. A lot of thought seems to have gone into the layout of the controls and the quality of the materials used in the interior, so that everything is easy to use and feels upscale. The 2.0-liter engine and 4-speed automatic transmission deliver enough power to merge with traffic, while still getting close to 30 mpg in combined city and highway driving. The steering wheel tilts but doesn't telescope, and this made it hard for me to reach the wheel once I had the seat in a comfortable position. A really nice feature is a deep, open bin in front of the shifter that is a perfect place to store anything that you might need to access while driving. It includes USB and auxiliary inputs and a power port. –Mike Meredith

Following Kia's innovative Soul, the all-new Forte does what Korean automakers seem to excel at — it offers plenty of standard equipment wrapped up in a stylish package, all for a price lower than the competition. The Forte's clean design won't necessarily stand out in the crowded small-car market — I admit to mistaking our test car for a Honda Civic — but it is still a good-looking sedan. Nice materials and a 2-tone color scheme make the interior feel upscale. Also, our Forte was equipped with comfortable leather seats. The trunk is large and the back seat can fit at least two adults. Most surprising was that the Forte is fun to drive. The engine is peppy and provides good acceleration for a car in this class. Larger in almost every interior dimension than a Civic, but priced considerably less, the Forte is a must-drive for anyone considering a new entry-level sedan. –Perry Stern

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BB05 - 9/16/2014 12:52:41 PM