Saturday, August 5, 2017

Kia Forte

By John Heilig

  • MODEL: 2017 Kia Forte5 SX 
  •  ENGINE: 1.6-liter turbocharged I-4 
  • TRANSMISSION: 7-speed automatic
  • HORSEPOWER/TORQUE 201 hp @ 6,000 rpm/195 lb.-ft. @ 1,500-4,500 rpm  
  • WHEELBASE: 106.5 in. 
  • LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 171.3 x 70.1 x 57.1 in. 
  • TIRES: P225/40R18  
  • CARGO: 23.2/56.4 cu. ft. (rear seats up/down)  
  • ECONOMY: 25 mpg city/30 mpg highway/31.3 mpg test 
  • FUEL TANK: 13.2 gal 
  • TOWING CAPACITY: Not recommended 
  • CURB WEIGHT: 3,017 lbs  #/HP: 15.0  
  • COMPETITIVE CLASS: Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus, Nissan Sentra 
  • STICKER: $28,420 (includes $895 delivery, $3,725 options) 
  • BOTTOM LINE: The Kia Forte 5-door is a surprisingly comfortable for what is essentially a compact car. In addition, it has great cargo capacity.

          The calendar called for an extended rip to Virginia to see grandchildren (and children). The ride of the week was a Kia Forte 5-door, which is essentially a compact car in mid-size clothing. Meaning? It’s rated as a mid-size due to dimensions, but I thought it was a compact.
          Surprise! The Forte5 (there’s a sedan version as well) offered good ride quality with a minimum of road noise. Road noise was dependent on road surface. On concrete a significant amount of road noise entered the cabin, making enjoyment of the audio system and basic conversation difficult. However, on smoother road surfaces, the ride is essentially quiet. Therefore, engine noise is relatively non-existent, despite there being an inline four under the hood. 
          That engine has good power, thanks to a turbocharger on the 1.6-liter engine. A 2.0-liter engine is on non-SX trim levels. Total horsepower is 201, powering the front wheels through a 7-speed automatic transmission. Interstate operation is good. We could keep up with just about anything on the road. And for a change, my economy readings actually exceeded the EPA highway estimates.
          Handling is good on both straight and winding roads. We had our share of Interstate miles, but we also enjoyed a significant number of back country roads that were paved with gravel and dirt. 
          It seems that whenever we visit the children, we are carrying stuff back and forth. This weekend was no exception. Besides our luggage and golf clubs, we brought food down and used clothes up. We reached a point setting up for our homebound trip when I was looking for more stuff to load, which is very uncharacteristic of me. The advantage of the hatchback design is utility. It makes the Forte almost like a small SUV with a sedan personality.
          Front seats are comfortable. They were upholstered in black with red stripes on the sides. They offered good side support. In addition, they were heated and cooled. Despite driving in summer weather, I enjoyed the heat on my tired back. The HVAC system accommodated us well in the outside heat.
          The audio system was confusing. Among the sparse choices were AM, FM and Apple Play, but sometimes it was difficult to get my phone’s music files to work. And often when I shut the car off I had to go through the entire start-up procedure again. However, once I got everything up and running, tone quality was great. Also, phone conversations were clear, with the caller’s name and number displayed on the infotainment screen. 
          Blind spot detection was fairly standard with lights on the outside mirrors. The BSD beeps at you if you put your turn signal on when there is a vehicle there, and it’s very sensitive. Another good feature is that the outside mirrors fold when you lock the car. Our tester was also equipped with a rear cross traffic alert. 
          Besides the large cargo volume, there is a cubby at the base of the center stack that has USB, AUX and two 12-volt plugs. The center console/arm rest is small. There is room for water bottles in all four doors, plus three assist handles to aid in entry and egress.
          Rear legroom is tight, but there is a low center hump that might make riding in the middle position more comfortable. 
          The overall feeling is that the Forte5 is a comfortable car to drive and ride in. It offers a quality ride that is surprising in a small car.

(c) 2017 The Auto Page Syndicate 

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