2010 Kia Forte Photo
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On Performance
On Performance
The Forte doesn't handle with the verve of some other cars in its class, but it keeps up with the pack in every other way.
7.0 out of 10
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Buying Tips:

Go for the EX Fuel Economy Package because you'll end up with a better-driving car, thanks to the electric power steering (which we don't always like, but it's better here) and the five-speed automatic. Plus, you'll save 1 or 2 mpg.

The rather tall roof and wider body works wonders for passenger space in the Forte. Front seats aren’t generously proportioned, but there’s adequate headroom even with the sunroof for this 6’6” driver, with lots of legroom, and the backseat has plenty of space for two adults, three in a pinch—though legroom is limited. The trunk is huge. Overall, Kia has done a great job damping the noise and vibration that usually accompanies the cheapest small cars, and even over the coarsest road surfaces the cabin boom isn’t excessive. Seat materials are unremarkable, and while there’s definitely some hard plastic around the cabin, we couldn’t find any ragged edges.

All safety features are standard across the entire 2010 Kia Forte line; that includes dual seat-mounted side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, front active headrests, anti-lock brakes with brake assist, and electronic stability control.

All 2010 Kia Forte models get Bluetooth, Sirius Satellite Radio, and an auxiliary input jack for the audio system, plus steering wheel controls and voice activation. The EX model adds air conditioning and power accessories, while the SX adds fog lamps, plus upgraded upholstery and trim. The SX model is the “image leader” of the lineup; in addition to those details and the stronger engine, it gets a sport-tuned suspension, larger brakes, and showy 17-inch alloy wheels.

Other options on the 2010 Kia Forte are limited to a power sunroof, leather seat packages (heated in front), and a Convenience Package that adds A/C and other upgrades to the LX.

Other Choices:

If you like the 2010 Kia Forte, also consider:

  • Toyota Corolla
  • Mazda Mazda3
  • Hyundai Elantra
  • Chevrolet Cobalt
  • Ford Focus

Reason Why:

The 2010 Kia Forte lands in a crowded field of compact sedans, though it holds its own thanks to its ride and refinement, which are near the head of the pack, and its very generous list of standard technology and safety features. Bluetooth and steering-wheel controls with voice activation aren't standard on any of these other models, but they are on the Forte—even the base LX model. Within this group, the Corolla is the legendary leader for reliability, longevity, and all-around frugal driving, but the Corolla isn't quite as refined as the Forte. The Hyundai Elantra is another one of our top picks in this class, but the Forte strikes a simpler, more elegant, pose from the outside. The Chevy Cobalt is especially roomy and has a good ride but skimps on the features, while the styling on the Focus still isn't to everyone's liking. Among these, our favorite is the Mazda3, but admittedly it's not perfect, and in terms of features, the Forte has it beat.

The Bottom Line:

The 2010 Kia Forte is a strong contender in every way—a surprisingly good-looking, enjoyable-to-drive car that will hold the budget down.

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