Shopping for a new Kia Forte?
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Forget everything you may have previously known about compact automobiles from Kia. While the outgoing Spectra may have been as bland as boiled white rice, the new Forte is more akin to a chili cheeseburger, with added hot sauce. Available as a two-door coupe, a four-door sedan and a five-door hatchback, the Kia Forte is a good-looking car that stands out in a sea of otherwise drab compact competitors.
Not only is it good looking, but it's surprisingly refined on the inside as well, offering a substantial amount of content for the price. The Forte may be an entry-level car, but you'd be hard-pressed to believe that from the driver's seat, or even looking at a Forte parked in your garage. We're giving the 2011 Kia Forte a rating of 8 for FamilyCarGuide, and we'd recommend driving the Forte to anyone shopping for a fuel-efficient and entertaining compact car.
We do have one complaint, but it's with the base LX model only: in 2011, should air conditioning be optional on any car at any price?
The NHTSA gives the 2011 Kia Forte a four-star crash rating, but the IIHS lists the Kia Forte Sedan as a Top Safety Pick, thanks to its performance in frontal offset, side impact and roof strength testing. All Forte models come with anti-lock brakes with brakeforce assist, electronic stability control, front active head restraints, dual seat-mounted airbags and full-length side curtain airbags.
Outside, the lines of the Forte models are uncluttered and flowing, and we'd challenge anyone to find a bad angle on any one of the Forte variants. Inside, the taller roof and wider body give a surprising amount of passenger space, although those with long legs will favor the front passenger seat over the rear seat. Front seats are fairly narrow, but only the largest of adult passengers will find them too small for comfort. Fit and finish inside the Forte is admirable, given the car's price point, but you still have to expect some hard plastic in a car that sells south of the $20,000 price point.