I have had my Forte 5 SX with manual for about 29k miles.
It has been completely reliable.
I find it spacious, get 30mpg with suburban driving, it's very quick, and the controls are easy to use.
Negatives are a rough around town ride that smooths out on the highway, it can be noisy on rough road surfaces, the throttle it too light and aggressive - making it hard to drive smoothly.
The Bluetooth works well.
While the engine is noise at high revs, it has a lot of torque, so you really don't need to rev it.
I like the looks, especially the 17" alloys and the rear view.
Better road noise insulation.
Make the throttle less aggressive and add some heft to it.
It's hard to shift when cold.
Soften the springs a bit and increase the dampening.
Have had this car since July. Have 7300 miles. Car is loaded with Nav, sunroof, leather, Sirius radio,
rear camera, etc...It's comfortable inside, good drive on the highway, handling isn't bad but the Jetta I also tested didn't handle any better surprisingly. It has great acceleration for a 4-cylinder, non-turbo and the 2.5 engine is what makes the difference. My only complaints so far are the suspension and the gas mileage. I do mostly highway driving and am only getting 26 - 28 mpg. Also, I feel every bump, big or small in this car. Great value for the money and will be a good car to hand down to the kids but not sure I would purchase another.
My car is a Kia forte SX hatchback.
First let me start off by saying that if you're considering this car, Only buy it if you can get it with the six speed manual. The 2.4liter engine is completely unsuited for the 6 speed automatic. All the shift points are wrong meaning that you end up with a car that is 1.5 seconds slower to 60 than the manual and sucks gas like there's no tomorrow.
My previous car was a 2004 Honda Accord EX-L with a manual 5 speed transmission. This car had an engine that had less horsepower and torque than the Kia and was quite a bit heavier and larger but it was substantially quicker and got 35% better gas mileage than the Kia.
The Honda also handled better.
Bluetooth, and MP3 connectivity. Fold flat rear seats
Where do I start?
BRING BACK THE MANUAL TRANSMISSION - the car sucks without it.
START USING SOME OF HYUNDAI'S NEW ENGINES - you know the ones that are supposed to do better then 20 mpg in mixed driving and don't scream every time you ask for a little bit of power.
Use auto transmissions that are actually properly mated to the engines so as not to down and up shift at all the wrong times.
Put seats in that don't hurt your back after 40min in the drivers seat
I traded in my 8 year old Pontiac Vibe for the Forte EX (ECO), which I use as a long-distance commuter car. I purchased the Forte on price and decent reviews after test driving some of the competition in this class.
I am happy with the acceleration, comfort, interior space, and styling of the vehicle.
Combined gas mileage thus far through the first 2k miles has averaged in the low 30s mpg in my commute of mixed highway and city driving, which is virtually identical to my former Vibe and acceptable to me as the Forte ECO is rated 37/27.
Steering still feels a bit uncertain to me and handling on windy roads does not compare to my former Vibe, which I did not notice in my initial test drive.
Space (best that I experienced in this class and suitable for the car seat in the rear seat), comfort, and generous standard features
More confident steering and centering of steering wheel, does not stick to the pavement in "fun" driving on curvy roads as well as a vehicle in this class should
Purchased Forte in late May 2011. Interioe comfort is good. Mileage could be better that current average of 26 mpg. Took it on vacation and the average mpg jumped to 30.5-more highway miles at higher speeds. On rain slick streets it handles good.
I insisted on having fog lights and with that upgrade package got the sport steering wheel which I love. Having arthritis in hands the grips make it easier to hold onto. I like the automatic lights except I have to turn them to "true on" when it rains in order to have the lights on when the wipers are on.
If the sedan had the 2-door model interior seats it would be a perfect car. Those seats wrapped around you and made it more secure. Upgrading to similar 'on while in gear' and lights off when not in driving gear would make this car comparable to a Subaru.