October 9th, 2009
By Clint Williams
Green Right Now
The 2010 Kia Forte, an all-new offering from the Korean automaker, is a handsome entry in a category filled with cute. Crisp lines and swept-back headlamps give this compact car a look much bolder than that of competitors such as the Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla.
But that bold look doesn’t mean bold driving dynamics. Driving the Forte is pleasant enough, but a bit bland.
The Forte comes in three trim levels – LX, EX and SX. The LX and EX are powered by a 2-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 156 horsepower. The SX has a 173-horsepower, 2.4-liter inline four.
The four-speed automatic transmission in the EX test car is calibrated for fuel-efficiency, not fun. The standard five-speed manual might coax a bit more out of the engine.
While not a lot of fun to drive, the Forte is frugal. The EPA fuel economy estimate is 25 mpg in city driving and 34 mpg in highway driving. We drove from Atlanta to Huntsville, Ala., on a little more than half a tank.