As of late, compact sedans have been creeping toward mid-size, and that leaves the Forte as one of the most manageably sized models in its class. With a good seating position, a back seat good enough for two adults, and cheerful but unremarkable interior appointments, the 2012 Forte impresses as uncomplicated yet comfortable.
The rather tall roof helps, as does the high seating position, so you get a reasonably good outward view from the driver's seat, as well as an airy feel and the impression of a lower beltline. The down side is actual seat comfort; front seats are a bit short and flat, and the rear bench is carved out for maximum space but not altogether contoured for adults. In back there's enough headroom for adults, too, so it's really legroom (or shoulder) limited. Interior appointments stand as better than what we've seen in the latest Honda Civic--though certainly not with the best. Even compared to its cousin, the Hyundai Elantra, there's a little more plastic, though it all feels well put-together.
Kia has done a great job sealing out road noise, but the engine can get thrashy when pressed into its upper rev ranges.