2010 Kia Forte Review | Edmunds.com

2010 Kia Forte

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Kia Forte Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.0 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 4-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 156 hp @ 6200 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 25/34 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2010 Kia Forte

  • Unlike the bargain-bin Spectra that it replaces, the new 2010 Kia Forte is good enough to compete against perennial segment stars from Honda, Mazda and Toyota.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Attractive exterior design, good fuel economy, excellent handling in SX trim, affordable, long warranty, standard Bluetooth.

  • Cons

    Four-speed automatic's overly wide gear spacing, tepid handling except for SX.

  • What's New for 2010

    The 2010 Kia Forte is an all-new compact car available in sedan and coupe body styles. It offers impressive styling and feature content at an attractive price.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (8 total reviews)

Great car for a great

by on
Vehicle: 2010 Kia Forte Koup EX 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl 4A)

My husband and I owned this car for a year, and I loved it! We put 20k miles on it with no problems, and the gas mileage was great.. We made it from San Diego to Phoenix with one tank. The body style is classy, not like the older kia's. The interior also looks extremely nice with leather, and I liked the digital radio and the way it worked with sirius. The car was also fun to drive.. It's only a 4 cyl, so it doesn't have a lot of pick up, but it handles really well. We had to trade in our car because it was difficult getting the car seat in and out of the back, but thats the only reason!

Give kia a go

by on
Vehicle: 2010 Kia Forte Koup EX 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl 4A)

Any negative impressions I had previously about Kia have changed dramatically. I bought a 2010 Forte Koup recently and have enjoyed it more and more every day. Exterior styling is best in class. Great features like Bluetooth, satellite radio, ipod inputs. Car is very smooth especially at high speeds on the interstate. Drove the civic, the corolla, and found the kia to be more stylish. The Forte Koup could use a little more pep on the lower end and sometimes there are severe downshifts with the automatic transmission when you gas it hard. Feels great seeing the ECO light come on when cruising at 75mph.

Good car but not best

by on
Vehicle: 2010 Kia Forte Koup EX 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl 4A)

Bought a KIA Forte as a replacement for my Ford Focus. If I had it to do over, I'd get another Focus with SYNC. Automatic transmission shifts VERY early to the point that at times you think it is going to stall. This is by design for fuel efficiency. Good exterior look and good fuel economy; about 30 MPG highway. The bluetooth interface is strange; you can't turn it on and off only using the radio controls. You have to use radio control AND voice command. Inconvenient when more than one person is in the car. iPod interface also drains the iPod battery if left plugged in. This is a known issue. Not a bad car for the money but it could be a GREAT car!

Outstanding car: the kia forte

by on
Vehicle: 2010 Kia Forte Koup EX 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl 4A)

I've been driving many different domestic and foreign cars for 33 years. I can say with certainty that the Forte is one of my top favorites. It's both sporty and classy inside and out. It's turning heads out on the road. All my family members (my wife and 3 kids) love the looks of and driving the car! If you are interested in the Forte and live in the Chicago-land area, visit Rosen Kia in Elgin. They provided me with a no-pressure and pleasant experience. They worked hard to make sure I was a happy customer and I am.

Best decision i made!

by on
Vehicle: 2010 Kia Forte Koup EX 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl 4A)

I've owned my Forte Koup for two weeks now and it seems to get better everyday. Things I didn't notice on my test drive like the awesome sound of the muffler, very sporty, and pep. You really need to get used to ECO mode and learn how to drive with it to tell, but my car is quick. It doesn't feel like it either, next thing you know you're at 70. All the features you have in this car seem like they should be in a high end model. No car that I have looked at has the quality and amount of features standard. I also have to give a shout to KIA, the support for this purchase has been amazing. They won't stop sending me thank you's and free maintenance coupons, etc. I am so pleased with them

Seriously it's a kia!

by on
Vehicle: 2010 Kia Forte Koup EX 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl 4A)

Look I am a die hard Nissa/Infiniti lover, but I was tired of my 07 Versa. This time around I researched forever and narrowed down to the Nissan Sentra SR and the Kia Forte Koup. I bought the EX koup. I love 2 door cars and ultimately that was the deciding factor in the purchase, well that and the warranty. I drive quite a bit and wanted something that I would be happy driving all the time. So far not one disappointment with this car. Now I know it's a KIA and that may be hard to stomach, but please give it a try. You will not be disappointed. And really if your buying it for a race car, don't it's not and neither are any cars in a compact class. These class of cars are not Ferrari's!!!!

Full 2010 Kia Forte Review

What's New for 2010

The 2010 Kia Forte is an all-new compact car available in sedan and coupe body styles. It offers impressive styling and feature content at an attractive price.


Penned by a former Audi designer, the 2010 Kia Forte's sleek exterior signals that it's no longer business as usual in Kia's compact sedan department. The Forte's predecessor, the Spectra, was known for its cut-rate pricing and little else, but the new car announces its presence with authority thanks to crisp overall lines and unusual details like an upswept kink at the A-pillar. There are also derivative elements -- the nose is distinctly Civic-like, for example -- but the Forte is undoubtedly one of the best-looking small cars on the market. The question is whether the car itself is as good as the wrapper it comes in.

As it turns out, this Kia is actually a very competitive car, from its 156-horsepower base engine to its impressive fuel economy. The interior is pleasant, too, with plenty of standard features on most trim levels and decent-quality materials. As with the old Spectra, you get a lot for your money (including a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty), but this time around you're not going to feel as if you're driving a red-tag special. There's even a sharp-looking two-door "Koup" version that heaps an extra helping of two-door style onto the sedan's underpinnings.

As with any car, of course, things aren't perfect with the Forte. For one thing, the base 2.0-liter engine's four-speed automatic transmission -- the powertrain arrangement we expect most Forte buyers will be opting for -- is saddled with extraordinarily tall gearing. This helps fuel economy, of course, but it also means that you may not be able to summon those 156 horses when you need them. Additionally, the Forte's handling is uninspiring in the LX and EX trims -- we strongly recommend the SX model, as its more powerful engine and sport-tuned suspension make a big difference in the overall character of the car.

All things considered, the 2010 Kia Forte makes a strong case for itself as a legitimate alternative to established all-stars like the Honda Civic, Mazda 3, Scion tC and Toyota Corolla. From fuel economy to backseat space, this Kia is remarkably solid -- and in SX trim, it's also one of the most enjoyable economy cars to drive. There can be little doubt that the 2010 Forte marks Kia's arrival as a serious player in this hotly contested segment.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2010 Kia Forte is a four-door compact car available in LX, EX and SX trims; The two-door "Koup" is available in EX or SX trim only.

Standard equipment on the base LX includes 15-inch steel wheels, a six-way-adjustable driver seat, a tilt steering column, Bluetooth connectivity and a four-speaker CD/MP3 audio system with USB and auxiliary audio jacks. The EX adds air-conditioning, full power accessories, a six-speaker layout for the sound system, cruise control and a 60/40-split-folding rear seat with (on the sedan only) a center armrest and adjustable rear headrests. The EX Koup adds 16-inch alloy wheels, firmer suspension tuning, sport front seats and a sportier exhaust note.

The SX trim tacks on a larger 2.4-liter engine, a sport-tuned suspension, 17-inch alloy wheels, wider tires, foglights, a tilt-and-telescoping steering column, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, an enhanced gauge cluster, a trip computer, unique cloth upholstery and metallic interior trim. On top of these items and the EX Koup's extras, the SX Koup gets unique 17-inch alloys and a sportier version of the SX sedan's suspension, along with illuminated red speaker surrounds that can be configured to blink in time to the beat.

Options on the LX include air-conditioning and the split-folding rear seat, but power accessories are unavailable. The EX has an expanded range of options, including a sunroof, 16-inch alloy wheels (sedan only) and leather upholstery with heated front seats. A Fuel Economy package for the EX sedan adds a five-speed automatic transmission, electric power steering, low-rolling-resistance tires and aerodynamic enhancements. SX options are limited to the sunroof and heated leather seats. Notably, the SX's standard tilt-and-telescoping steering column cannot be specified on the LX and EX trims, which offer tilt only.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2010 Kia Forte LX and EX get a 2.0-liter four-cylinder good for 156 hp and 144 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard and a four-speed automatic is optional. Ordering the EX sedan's Fuel Economy package changes out the four-speed auto for a more efficient five-speed automatic. The SX has a larger 2.4-liter four that generates 173 hp and 168 lb-ft of torque; it gets a standard six-speed manual transmission or the same optional five-speed automatic as the EX.

For most Forte models, fuel economy is above average for the small car segment. The LX and EX (with either transmission) have a 25 mpg city/34 mpg highway and 28 mpg combined EPA estimate. Opting for the Fuel Economy package bumps the EX's figures to 27/36/30 mpg. The more powerful Forte SX has a less impressive 22/32/26 mpg rating with the six-speed manual and 23/31/26 with the five-speed automatic.


Standard Forte safety equipment includes antilock disc brakes with brake assist, stability control, front side airbags, side curtain airbags and active front head restraints.

Interior Design and Special Features

The new Kia Forte's dashboard design doesn't raise the bar aesthetically -- frankly, it's pretty boring -- but it includes easy-to-read gauges, a clean layout and generally intuitive audio and climate controls. Standard Bluetooth connectivity across the lineup is also a nice touch. Materials quality is good enough to satisfy expectations in this segment. Unfortunately, the telescoping steering column is only available on the SX, meaning taller drivers might have a hard time getting comfortable in the LX and EX.

Rear legroom is good for this class, though the Koup's rear quarters are predictably tighter, and they lack the sedan's center armrest. Trunk space is plentiful, measuring an impressive 14.7 cubic feet in the sedan and 12.6 in the coupe.

Driving Impressions

The 2010 Kia Forte isn't exactly a driver's car in LX or EX guise. There's lots of body roll during enthusiastic cornering, and the steering is rather numb. However, the SX model's sport-tuned suspension makes for a night-and-day difference. It's still not as sharp as something like a Honda Civic Si, but the SX's overall driving dynamics put it at the head of the economy class.

In any trim, the ride is comfortable enough, and with the exception of intrusive road noise on some surfaces, the Forte is a confident highway cruiser. The four-speed automatic's tall gearing means you've barely crested 3,000 rpm in 2nd gear at 45 mph -- good for your gas budget, but decidedly unhelpful if you need to pass anyone while traveling at that speed. On the plus side, the the five-speed automatic is a capable unit, particularly when mated to the SX's 2.4-liter engine. The SX's manual shifter, however, is as vague and rubbery as they come.

Talk About The 2010 Forte

Read more about the 2010 Kia Forte

Gas Mileage


  • 25
  • cty
  • 34
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs