Sunday, May 22, 2016

Can This Forte make an inroad?

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Kia redesigned the Forte for the 2014 model year, and the results were amazing. Here is a car that in any of its iterations, sedan, hatchback, or coupe, that offers a decent price, acceptable acceleration, generous standard features, and a comfortable cabin with good material quality. Regardless of the body style you prefer, you might find the 2016 Kia Forte to be one of the most attractive options.

      The 2016 Forte keeps that ball rolling with nothing more than minor tweaks and option changes. You can get three different engines on the 2016 Kia Forte, and 2 out of those 3 offer competitive power and acceleration. The 2.0 liter 4-cylinder engine make it one of the quickest cars in the segment, while an even stronger 1.6 liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine is optional on the SX versions of the coupe and hatchback. If you place economy ahead of power, than rest assured that all of the Kia Forte's powertrains offer competitive fuel economy.

      The 2016 Kia Forte is available as a sedan in LX and EX trim levels, The 2-door coupe is offered in both EX and sportier SX trims, while you can get the hatchback in all 3 trim levels.

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      Standard features on the LX sedan include  15-inch steel wheels, heated mirrors, a/c, full power accessories, trip computer, a tilt and telescoping steering wheel, height adjustable driver seat, 60/40 split folding rear seat, Bluetooth, and a 4-speaker sound system.

      Optional on the LX is the Popular Package, which includes automatic headlamps, cruise control, upgraded interior upholstery and trim, rear seat armrest, rear view camera, a 4.3 inch touchscreen and 6 speakers. There is also a Popular Plus package, which adds all of the above, as well as 16-inch alloy wheels.

      Upgrade to the EX and you will enjoy all of that plus the more powerful 2.0 liter engine, 17-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, LED running lights, power folding outside mirrors, a leather wrapped steering wheel, adjustable steering effort and a cooling glovebox.

      For the EX there is an optional Premium Package that includes a sunroof, keyless ignition and entry, auto dimming rear view mirror, leather upholstery, heated front seats, 7-inch touchscreen, a navigation system, and Uvo.

      On top of this you can add the EX Premium Plus package that adds LED tail lamps, 10-way power driver seat with ventilation, driver memory settings, a heated steering wheel, dual zone a/c, an upgraded gauge cluster and heated outboard rear seats.

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      From a features standpoint, the EX hatchback and coupe essentially mirror the sedan. The SX versions include those features but add a turbocharged engine, larger front brakes, 18-inch wheels and unique front and rear styling. The EX and SX's Premium Tech packages pretty much provide the options found in the Premium and Premium Plus packages.

      The Forte LX is powered by a 1.8 liter 4-cylinder engine making 145 horsepower and 130 lb ft of torque. Power is to the front wheels by either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed auto transmission. EPA ratings are 31 mpg combined with the auto, and 30 mpg combined with the manual.

      The EX gets a 2.0 liter 4-cylinder engine kicking out 173 horsepower and 154 lb. ft of torque. This engine only comes with the 6-speed auto transmission. EPA ratings are 28 mpg combined for both the sedan and hatchback body styles.

The SX versions of the Forte Koup and hatchback come with a 1.6 liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that thumps out 201 horsepower and 195 lb. ft of torque, On both body styles, you can get either the 6-speed manual, or 6-speed auto transmission. EPA numbers for the 1.6 are 25 mpg combined with the manual, and 25 mpg combined with the auto.

      Every 2016 Kia Forte comes standard with anti-lock brakes, traction and stability control, front side airbags and side curtain airbags. A rear-view camera is optional on the LX and standard on the EX. Uvo is also optional, and works much like OnStar.

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      In brake testing, my Forte5 SX tester stopped from 60 mph in 114 feet, which is starting to get a little on the long side for this segment. The Forte also earned 5 out of 5 stars for overall crash protection.

      The 2016 Kia Forte is much more than an econobox stuffed full of gadgets. Boasting an attractive cabin that is trimmed with quality materials in the higher trim levels, the Forte gives the more premium brand compacts a run for their money. Also, the Forte's high tech features are well designed and easy to use. Seat comfort front and rear in the sedan are good. The Koup's back seat is also large enough for adults, and resonably easy to get to. The driver seat on the Koup is mounted higher for those of us who might be vertically challenged, but for those that aren't, it creates a headroom issue.

      The 2.0 liter engine in the Forte EX is one of the more responsive engines in this class. Although the output doesn't lead to blazing acceleration, the Forte EX is certainly faster than most. However, this powertrain can be loud and buzzy at points. The available 1.6 liter turbo engine in the Koup and hatchback have the power to turn this into a speedy little car.

      The auto transmission provides smooth shifts, and is surprisingly responsive during downshifts in more spirited situations. The manual transmission is slick-shifting and makes the most of the 1,6 liter engines' power.

      Most of the shoppers in this segment will likely be ok with the overall ride quality of the Forte. However, the suspension can occasionally be a tad firm and unrefined. Rougher roads provide a somewhat busier feeling, while rivals feel more controlled. While the Forte feels steady on the twisty bits, other cars give you a more connected feeling.

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