Kia is going full speed ahead with is new image. The Soul is erasing the memories of the soulless Rio, and now the Forte is adding style that the Spectra never had. prices range from $13,695 to $18,495.
The 2010 Forte is being offered in three different trims: EX, LX and SX. Forte LX and EX are powered by a 2.0 Liter DOHC four cylinder engine, producing 156 HP and 144 lb-ft of torque, that features Continuously Variable Valve Timing (CVVT) and multi-port electronic fuel injection. The SX features an upgraded 2.4 Liter inline four cylinder engine, also with CVVT, which delivers 173 HP.
Why are we excited about a new little Kia? Well, budget-friendly Kia seems to be starting to turn a corner. Its Euro-only Cee’d has been getting good reviews for style and performance. This Forte looks great inside and out compared to the Spectra it replaces, and so our hopes are high.
Press release after the jump.
On the heels of announcing the widely acclaimed, all-new Kia Soul, Kia Motors America (KMA) today introduced the all-new 2010 Kia Forte (pronounced for-tay) compact sedan at the 2009 Chicago Auto Show. Forte blends Kia’s exciting new design direction under the tutelage of Peter Schreyer, Kia Motors’ chief design officer, with a multitude of standard features. The 2010 Kia Forte will go on sale in North America in late spring or early summer of 2009.
“Kia Motors’ product line is rapidly evolving and the Forte compact sedan is another head turner,” said B.M. Ahn, group president and CEO, KMA and KMMG. “The Forte is an aggressively stylish blend of comfort and practicality – and with a host of standard features it provides the great quality and value that consumers have come to expect from Kia vehicles.”
Style in Motion
Sporting stylish and aggressive design cues, the new Forte firmly establishes itself as a strong contender in its segment. With a bold look set apart by crisp lines, swept-back headlamps and a sleek profile, Forte exudes a confident stance that conveys motion both while cruising the highway and parked in the driveway. Available in three trim levels (LX, EX and SX), Forte offers a sleek, sophisticated design. The sportier SX trim offers a more athletic profile with 17-inch alloy wheels paired with P215/45R17-sized premium tires and a rear spoiler.
Smooth and Comfortable Ride
With a wheelbase of 104.3 inches, an overall length of 178.3 inches, an overall width of 69.9 inches and overall height of 57.5 inches, Forte offers one of the roomiest interiors in its class with seating for up to five passengers. The Kia-engineered body achieves high torsional stiffness giving Forte better handling, smoother ride quality and greater refinement than its competitors, with a specially tuned suspension adjusted perfectly for responsive handling on curvy roads. Additional refinements are fitted throughout Forte to help ensure a comfortable ride with good noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) reduction qualities.
2.0-liter DOHC four-cylinder engine, 156 hp and 144 lbs-ft of torque; 2.4-liter, inline four-cylinder, 173 hp and 168 lbs-ft
Built on a front-wheel-drive unibody frame, Forte utilizes an independent front suspension with MacPherson struts and a stabilizer bar and a torsion beam rear suspension with struts and coil springs. This combination helps provide the optimal balance of handling and comfort. An engine-speed-sensitive, power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering system adds the finishing touch for precise handling by providing the most advantageous amount of assist for varying road conditions. In keeping with the sporty essence of the SX model line, a sport-tuned suspension gives the chassis a firmer feel and responsiveness resulting in a sportier and more spirited ride. The SX model also features larger front brakes for improved stopping capabilities.
Attractive and Practical Interior
Forte boasts a class-leading¹ 96.8 cubic feet of passenger volume, while driver and passengers have an impressive 40.0 inches of headroom and 43.3 inches of legroom in the front seats and 37.8 inches of headroom and 35.0 inches of legroom in the rear seats. Forte’s trunk also offers an impressive 14.7 cubic feet of cargo space, one of the largest in its class, perfect for luggage for weekend getaways.
Capitalizing on its spacious interior, Forte pampers its riders with a host of interior features, starting with comfortable, nicely appointed full cloth seats. A six-way adjustable driver’s seat, tilt steering column, rear defroster and dual 12-volt power outlets in the center console are driver- and passenger-conscious luxuries standard on every vehicle.
EX and SX models offer a number of additional standard luxurious touches such as: power windows and door locks; remote keyless entry; air conditioning; map lamps; steering wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls; dual front and rear cup holders; and floor mats. Forte EX and SX models also include standard cruise control with an optional sunroof and leather-trimmed seats. Also standard on SX models is a telescoping steering column as well as sport cloth seats adorned with red stitching, further enhancing its energetic persona.
Forte LX and EX are powered by a 2.0-liter DOHC four-cylinder engine, producing 156 horsepower and 144 pound-feet of torque, that features Continuously Variable Valve Timing (CVVT) and multi-port electronic fuel injection, both of which provide for greater performance and fuel economy. The SX features an upgraded 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine, also with CVVT, which delivers 173 horsepower – more than the most powerful versions of the Toyota Corolla¹ or even the 2010 Mazda3.
Two transmission options are offered for the 2010 Forte: a standard five-speed manual transmission or an optional electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission (LX and EX models). The SX model features a standard six-speed manual transmission and an optional five-speed automatic transmission with Sportmatic®.
The optional Fuel Economy Package, available with the 2.0-liter powerplant, will include the five-speed automatic transmission, Motor Drive Power Steering and low-rolling resistance tires with aero enhancements. These improvements result in class-leading combined fuel economy of 36 mpg (highway).
Music that Moves
Forte comes with a standard four speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system outfitted with SIRIUS Satellite Radio capabilities with three months complimentary service². Standard on all models is an auxiliary audio input jack and USB port for connecting personal MP3 players. Standard Bluetooth® connectivity enables hands-free operation for compatible cell phones. For true audiophiles, the EX and SX packages also add a standard six speaker surround audio system and steering wheel controls.
Standard Kia Motors Safety
Forte offers a class-leading level of standard safety equipment, with features such as active front headrests, advanced two-stage airbags, front seat-mounted and side curtain airbags, four-wheel disc brakes with an antilock brake system (ABS), electronic stability control (ESC) and traction control (TCS), and a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS).
Like all Kia models, Forte is covered by a comprehensive warranty program, which offers unprecedented consumer protection. Included in this program are a 10-year or 100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty, a five-year or 60,000-mile limited basic warranty, and a five-year or 100,000-mile anti-perforation warranty. A five-year/60,000-mile roadside assistance plan is also part of the comprehensive coverage program.
"If you can avoid stalling the engine as you leave the stoplight, you’ll find the 2.4-liter turns out to have a pretty nice power band with useful midrange torque and a smooth delivery. There’s not much going on at the top end, though, so you’ll likely reach for the next gear before the redline at 6,500 rpm. But quick gearchanges aren’t really possible in the 2010 Kia Forte SX, as the engine hangs onto revs while rocking around in its soft mounts. Kia says the Forte SX will run to 60 mph "in the 7s." We expect a very abusive launch will be required and we’re not sure we want to be there. We also get some time with a Forte EX sedan with the four-speed automatic and find this combination even less to our liking, as excessively tall gearing blunts whatever oomph the 2.0-liter four might have to offer." (InsideLine)
"The steering is tight and the both the gas and brake pedals provide plenty of feedback. This dynamic will certainly appeal to younger buyers, although the touchiness of the controls might be a turn-off to more mature ones. As for handling, it’s just ok, and the Forte tends to feel a bit vague in the corners at speed. I hate to rag on the car’s torsion-beam semi-independent rear suspension setup too much, as generally most driver’s, under most driving conditions, aren’t likely to feel the difference between it and the fully-independent kind. Still, it has issues; and not in terms of handling, but in regards to comfort." (AutoGuide)
"While the base engine was up to snuff, we came away disappointed with the 2.4-liter inline-4 found in the SX model. With 173 horsepower and 168 lb-ft torque, the Forte SX looked like it would be able to outpace a Mazda3. Unfortunately, those numbers didn’t translate to the real world. The 2.4-liter powerplant was sluggish to respond to throttle input, and it wheezed and gasped at anything above 3,500 rpm. Surprisingly, the six-speed manual transmission didn’t earn our affection either. Shifting feel was vague at best, and we had problems with smoothly modulating the clutch due to a relatively low engagement point combined with a hesitant throttle. An aftermarket shift kit could go a long way toward alleviating our reservations here. The good news is that the Forte SX still manages to get fantastic fuel economy even with the extra engine displacement. Cars equipped with the six-speed manual are rated at 22/32 mpg, and those with five-speed automatics get 23/31." (AutoBlog)
The 2010 Honda Civic is offered with a choice of four engine and four transmission choices range from a 140-hp, 1.8-liter i-VTEC engine (Civic DX, DX-VP, LX, EX and EX-L), with either a 5-speed manual or an available 5-speed automatic transmission, to a 197-hp, 2.0-liter i-VTEC engine (Civic Si) with a 6-speed manual transmission. Prices range from $15,655 to $24,455.
The 2011 Ford Focus is powered by a fuel efficient 2.0 Liter four cylinder engine that makes 155 HP and 145 lb-ft of torque, made with Ford’s patented Twin Independent Variable Camshaft Timing (Ti-VCT) and direct injection (DI) as well as a gas sipping dual-clutch PowerShift transmission. Prices for the 2011MY haven’t been announced yet; the 2010 models is priced at $16,290.
The 2010 Corolla comes in five grades – Standard, LE, XLE, the sporty S, and the performance-driven XRS. The Standard, LE and XLE models will be equipped with an all-new 1.8-liter engine. The 16-valve, DOHC four-cylinder engine with Dual VVT-i (Variable Valve Timing with intelligence), produces 132 hp at 6,000 rpm and 128 lb-ft of torque at 4,400 rpm. The XRS version is powered by a 16-valve DOHC engine with VVT-i produces 158 hp at 6,000 rpm and 162 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. Prices start at $15,450 and go up to $18,960.
The 2010 Cobalt sedan is powered by an Ecotec 2.2L VVT I4 engine with an output of 155 hp at 600 rpm and a peak torque of 150 lbs-ft at 4900 rpm. Prices start at $14,990 and go up to $17,840.
With the 2010 Forte, Kia has made a step forward. A new exterior styling, an improved interior and upgraded powertrains, the new Forte is a strong competitor on the market. But is it better than the most successful compact cars on the market, the Toyota Corolla and the Honda Civic?
No doubt it is the best looking in its class. But how about driving? Both 156 hp and 173 hp engines develop enough power for a compact car, and a fuel economy of 27 mpg city and 36 mpg highway is quite reasonable. The most logical choice would be the SX with a six-speed manual, but it would be better to also take a look to the EX version. It offers a supple ride and cruising is simply and fun.