THE 2012 KIA FORTE 5-DOOR HATCHBACK REVIEW
Full Review by Andy: Truth in Numbers
Lord Kelvin once said, “When you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meager and unsatisfactory kind.” To that add Francis Bacon’s insight that “knowledge is power,” and therein lies an important conclusion: Numbers are powerful. Therefore, polish up your Mathlete star and grab your calculator, because numbers tell the truth about the 2012 Kia Forte 5-Door hatchback.
What Does It Look Like?
Length: 14.25 feet
The Kia Forte 5-Door is a compact hatchback, positioned between the subcompact Rio and the midsize Optima. Its extended roofline glides into the shoebox-size rear window, which looks stylish but hampers rear visibility. Kia claims that the Forte is specifically designed to target younger buyers from Generation Y, but its simple, aerodynamic lines set no trends. Many think it looks like an Audi A3. It turns out that the Forte was designed by Peter Schreyer, whose pen used to draw at Ingolstadt.
(See 80+ images of the 2012 Kia Forte 5-Door).
Trappings & Trimmings
Interior volume: 116.9 cubic feet
The masses of buttons in the Forte’s interior are neatly arranged in a central floating stack to the right of an instrument panel with three overlapping circular gauges, accented by red backlighting. As expected, hard plastics sheathe most of the cockpit, their dark hue offset by – you guessed it – lighter colored plastics. The top-notch SX trim adds unique upholstery and interior trim.
Packin’ a Powertrain
The Kia Forte is available in two trims, each with its own engine. The base EX model uses a 156-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. Stepping up to the sporty SX trim gains an extra 0.4 liters and 17 more horsepower, albeit at the expense of four highway mpg. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard, while a six-speed manual is optional but not recommended due to its slushy swapping and decrease in fuel efficiency. Through the use of low-resistance tires, an upgraded alternator and other improvements, the EX bolsters maximum fuel economy to 37 mpg – impressive but not exceptional.
0-60 mph: 8.7-8.9 seconds
In EX guise, the Forte hatchback is a stereotypical compact car: too firm to be luxurious and too soft to be sporty, i.e., exactly what many buyers want. For those with a slightly dormant enthusiast chromosome, Kia has the sport-tuned SX, which rides on a revamped suspension with a good ole Macpherson strut system up front and a torsion beam system in the rear. In industry tests, the Forte 5-Door SX posted approximately 0.85gs on the skidpad, which is just south of the Forte’s main competitor, the Mazda3. Unfortunately, the stiffened suspension results in a less-than-cosseting ride. Those interested in high-performing, affordable compact liftbacks ought to also look at the Volkswagen Golf or Mazda3.
NHTSA safety rating: Four stars out of five
Several of the Forte’s standard safety features, including four-wheel disc brakes, full-length side-curtain airbags, and front foglamps (standard on the SX trim) are above par for the class. The Forte 5-Door is an IIHS Top Safety Pick for 2012.
Comfort & Cargo
Rear legroom: 35.0 inches
In matters of size and sumptuousness, the Kia Forte runs squarely in the middle of the pack. Its 19.4 cubic feet of space behind the second-row bench seat and maximum 44.2 cubic feet are competitive but not class-leading. Its accommodations are roomy but not cavernous. In short, the Forte earns good grades but it isn’t on the dean’s list. The Honda Fit, Hyundai Elantra Touring, and Chevrolet Sonic hatchback are worth close consideration for their practicality and comfort.
Number of stereo speakers: 6
The 5-Door Forte is available in two levels: the EX ($18,100) and the athletic SX ($19,600). The EX trim has all major modern necessities, including high-tech electronics like Bluetooth, satellite radio, and USB/iPod/auxiliary audio input, along with convenience essentials such as cruise control and a tilt/telescoping steering wheel. Besides the aforementioned mechanical, safety, and cosmetic upgrades, the SX only adds 17-inch alloy wheels and a few leather-wrapped fobs. A variety of luxurious options, including heated front seats and a Technology package, are available.
Truth: Two plus two equals four.
Truth: The improper integral of 1/n from one to infinity is zero.
Truth: Numbers are knowledge, and numbers say that you should test drive the 2012 Kia Forte 5-Door.
Engine: 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder, 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder
Horsepower & Torque:
2.0-liter: 156 hp @6,200 rpm, 144 lb-ft of torque @4,300 rpm
2.4-liter: 173 hp @6,000 rpm, 168 lb-ft of torque @4,000 rpm
Transmission: six-speed shiftable automatic
Fuel Economy: 22/32 – 27/37 mpg
Base MSRP: $18,100
Need More Information on the 2012 Kia Forte 5-Door Hatchback?
video: 2012 Kia Forte 5-Door Hatchback
vehicle eBrochure: 2012 Kia Forte 5-Door Hatchback
Dealer Quote for the 2012 Kia Forte 5-Door Hatchback
More>>> Car Reviews
Copyright © 2010-2012 zAutos All Rights Reserved. Watch car videos at zAutos.com