Building compact, economical cars has been Kia’s forte over the years and for 2010 the Korean manufacturer has added a new Forte to its sales arsenal.
The 2010 Kia Forte replaces the Spectra in the Kia lineup and brings a touch of styling pizzazz that is gradually evolving for Kia, as it becomes more of a global player in the automotive marketplace.
Kia has an ambitious goal to be the “design choice brand without high product pricing” and the Forte is a great example of the current philosophy.
While not an in-your-face design, it is clean and attractive and a worthy challenger for the class leaders, Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla and Mazda3.
This is an extremely important vehicle for Kia in the most competitive class in the Canadian market. In fact, six of the top 10 cars sold in Canada compete directly with the Forte. And almost 50 per cent of all cars sold in this country are compact models, with the Civic, Corolla and Mazda3 accounting for about 40 per cent of that total. Heavy competition indeed, but Kia has high hopes for the Forte, a five-passenger sedan, starting at $15,695.
Available in three trim levels, the Forte has one of the roomiest interiors in its class. Built on an entirely new platform, the Forte has a longer wheelbase than the outgoing Spectra, which allowed engineers to increase the size of the interior package with room for five adults. The longer wheelbase also improves driving dynamics, while wider front and rear tracks increase stability on the road.
Trunk space is also up 17 per cent compared with the Spectra to 415 litres, the largest trunk capacity in its class.
Two brand new engines power the Forte. The LX and EX get a 2.0-litre DOHC in-line four-cylinder, producing 157 hp and 144 lb/ft of torque. The top-of-the-line SX has a 2.4-litre in-line four-cylinder engine, with 174 hp and 169 lb/ft of torque. Standard on the LX and EX is a five-speed manual transmission or an optional four-speed automatic. The SX gets a standard six-speed manual or an optional five-speed automatic with Sportmatic sequential manual shift.
Fuel economy is impressive — 8.3L/100 km (34 mpg) city and 5.8L/100 km (49 mpg) highway with the manual transmission and 8.1/5.8L/100 km (35/49 mpg) with the automatic.
Ride and handling was good for a compact, offering a significant improvement over the outgoing Spectra.
2010 Kia Forte
Type: Four-door compact sedan
Price: $15,695 to $22,195
Engine: 2.0-litre I-4 engine (156 hp, 144 lb/ft); 2.4-litre I-4 engine (173 hp, 168 lb/ft)
• Bluetooth in all models
• Improved, roomy design