The term “fuel economy” has always brought with it the “economy car” stigma, but there’s a definite shift going on in 2011: good on gas can also mean a good car.


Maybe even a great car.


As if Kia was trying to prove the point, buyers now have a highly versatile Forte5 as well as the sedan and two-door “Koup” to choose from.


The Korea-based automaker refers to the Forte5 as a hatchback, but there’s little to differentiate it from most typical wagons. Some might argue that the rear opening must be virtually vertical for a wagon to be called a wagon, while others believe the amount of storage space is the ideal determining factor.

In any event, if Kia prefers calling the Forte5 (obviously not bothering to differentiate between passenger doors and rear-access cargo openings) a hatchback, then so be it.

In any event, the four-door Forte5 uses the same basic platform as the sedan and both cars are equal in width and in distance between the front and rear wheels. However, the Forte5 is actually shorter in overall length by about 19 centimetres and is trimmer by about 23 kilograms as a result.

Whether entry level or loaded to the hilt, the Forte5 is a handsome, practical and affordable hauler.