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Dec30

2012 Kia Forte Price, Review, Specs

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2012 Kia Forte Price, Review, Specs, what car reviews, The Kia Forte is a new entry into the compact car field with contenders like Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Nissan Sentra, Mazda 3, Mitsubishi Lancer, Ford Focus, and Chevrolet Cobalt. By comparison, including exterior, interior, performance, and price, the Forte looks awfully good.

The Forte boasts class-leading interior space, and, in our opinion, class-leading looks. The interior is classy and intelligently designed, which is to say everything is there where you need it. The seats are comfortable and supportive.

The Forte uses modern four-cylinder engines, notably a 2.4-liter in the upscale SX, which also has an available five-speed automatic transmission with Sportmatic manual shifting.

The 2012 Kia Forte and its 5-door hatchback sibling remain relatively unchanged from the 2011 model year. Fuel economy for the Forte and Forte 5-door improves for 2012 to 26 mpg city/36 mpg highway, a 1 mpg city and 2 mpg highway improvement over previous years.

Lineup

The 2012 Kia Forte is available as the bare-bones LX, the well-equipped EX, and the fully equipped SX.

Forte LX ($13,695) uses Kia’s trusty 2.0-liter inline-four-cylinder engine with double overhead cams, and a 5-speed manual transmission, with a four-speed automatic optional ($1000). Upholstery is cloth. Air conditioning and a 60/40 split rear seat are optional ($1500), while power windows, door locks and cruise control are not available. Standard equipment includes a four-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 satellite sound system with USB and aux input jacks, and Bluetooth connectivity.

Forte EX ($15,795) comes with air conditioning, a six-speaker sound system, power windows, power doors, power mirrors, keyless entry, 60/40 split rear seat. The manual transmission comes standard, but there are two optional automatic transmissions, a four-speed and a five-speed. Wheels are the same 15-inch steel, but five-spoke 16-inch alloy wheels are optional. Options include leather upholstery with heated front seats and a power moonroof.

Forte SX ($17,195) uses a 2.4-liter engine with a six-speed manual transmission or five-speed automatic ($1000). A sport-tuned suspension is standard, along with larger front brake rotors, and 17-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels. The upholstery is a sporty cloth, with metal-finish interior trim and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. Full leather is optional. Fog lamps are standard.

Safety features that come standard on all Kia Forte models include frontal and front side airbags, airbag curtains, anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, traction control, and a tire pressure monitor.

Walkaround

The new Kia Forte is a looker. It’s an excellent example of clean styling, nothing really fancy but with all the right lines. It’s not a big car, and it doesn’t look big.

It’s shaped like a wedge, or appears to be, from the swept-back grille and headlamps carrying through climbing shoulders on the sides of the car, back to the short rear deck. From some angles it looks aggressive, from others subtle. Even the rear door seams carry this wedge line. The Coefficient of Drag is a low 0.29, reflecting the clean wind-cutting shape.

Refreshingly, there are no squared flares over the rear wheelwells. The large taillights have nice angles, and wrap horizontally around the corners of the car and into the trunk lid. The roofline is coupe-like. The 10-spoke alloy wheels on our SX were especially terrific looking. Body-colored mirrors and door handles, hooray.

The front fenders are subtly boxed, but there are no trendy flares there, either. The front valance between the grille and low air intakes is not bulky, as with too many cars, and the three black screened intakes that run the full width of the chin are tidy and businesslike.

The hood, too, is short, accenting the wedge. The short hood and deck mean efficient construction with no excess in overhangs, because the overall length is correct for the compact sedan class. It’s got a long wheelbase and wide track for its size, which is the key to all the good proportioning.

Interior

The short hood and rear deck pay off in interior space. The Kia Forte has one of the roomiest interiors in the compact sedan class, with a total of 96.8 cubic feet of passenger volume. That’s 3.3 cubic feet more than the 2009 Subaru Legacy. And the Forte’s trunk space of 14.7 cubic feet is best in class, matching the redesigned and enlarged midsize 2010 Legacy.

Headroom is good front and rear, while front legroom is ample and rear legroom is 35.0 inches, good for a compact sedan.

The front bucket seats are excellent, in classy leather out of its league for a compact sedan. Great firm but not tight bolstering. Nice 60/40 split rear seat with fold-down armrest with two cupholders.

Driving Impression

The Forte EX gets an EPA-estimated 25/34 mpg City/Highway with either the manual transmission or four-speed automatic, compared to the 23/31 mpg of the 2.4-liter Forte SX with the five-speed automatic. Given the performance difference, fuel mileage and lower base price by $1400 would be the only reason to choose the EX. And, considering there are many other worthwhile SX features, the loss of meat is not worth the savings. In other words, we’d spring for the SX.

However there might be an exception. There is a Fuel Economy Package with the EX, including five-speed automatic, electric power steering, a smart alternator, silica tires for low rolling resistance, and an aerodynamic kit that costs $1600, making an Eco EX about the same price as a sporty SX, but it raises the fuel mileage to 27/36 mpg. So if fuel economy is your priority, this is the best choice.

Kia’s 2.4-liter engine can’t match the reputation of the Mitsubishi 2.4-liter that powers not only the Lancer, but also many Chrysler products, from Jeep Patriot to PT Cruiser. The SX makes a fine 173 horsepower, and its 168 pound-feet peaks at 4000 rpm. It’s fun to work the transmission to use the power; the Sportmatic manual mode in the five-speed automatic makes shifting easy.

Forte is a brand-new car and it uses a new ground-up chassis, caging 63 percent of the cabin with high-strength steel, plus ultra high-strength steel in the side sills. This increases rigidity and improves handling. The Forte replaces the Kia Spectra and there’s like no comparison in the chassis feel, if not overall quality.

Front suspension is your basic MacPherson strut with coil springs, while in the rear there’s nothing fancy, a torsion beam axle again with coil springs. The SX front brakes use 11.8-inch vented discs, and the rears 10.3-inch solid discs, employing an anti-lock brake system with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist. Plenty big and responsive for a car of this weight, we can say after using them hard through a twisty section. EX brakes are the same, but with 11.0-inch front discs.

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2012 Kia Forte Price :

MSRP range: $15,200 – $19,600
Invoice price range: $14,900 – $18,670

2012 Kia Forte specs :

Drivetrain : Front Wheel Drive
Curb Weight (lbs) : 2729
City (MPG) : 25
Hwy (MPG) : 34
Horsepower : 156@6200
Torque (lb-ft) : 144@4300
Wheelbase : 104.3
Length (in.) : 178.3
Width (in.) : 69.9
Height (in.) : 57.5

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