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2011 Kia Forte SX 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 6A)
Purchased SX model with all option packages (rearview cam, nav, sirius w/traffic, bluetooth, leather, sunroof, push-to-start, heated seats, rear spoiler) for $20K, which was my entering price point. You'd be hard pressed to find all that w/a 10 year warranty in any other car at that price. Owned for one month, put over 3000 miles on it, 1700 on a road trip, 1300 over daily 32 mile roundtrip commute. Gas mileage as advertised. As mentioned in a previous review, pictures don't do this car justice. It is a very attractive car. Incidentally, I was interested also in the Koup but found it too tight of a squeeze at 6'3". Despite issues listed below, I am totally happy with my purchase.
Interior AND exterior design. I you like clean, sharp, minimal interiors (without gobs of bells and whistles), this design is A+. Intuitive. As for the exterior, my wife and I find that we are often staring at it, even after a month. Definite head-turner, people want to know what it is. Interior space: As a previous reviewer mentioned, the interior space will surprise you from how it appears on the outside. VERY roomy and spacious, with a huge trunk. More spacious than the 2002 A4 I traded in. Very comfortable over long drives (drove 700 miles in a day twice in it already)
Three areas to improve. First, exterior build/materials. Like a previous reviewer, I already have a very small dent in my rear driver's side door from someone's door lightly hitting it in a parking lot (saw it happen and was shocked there was a dent...perhaps better than a scratch?). Second, handling. Overall, I love the firm handling. However, the firmness almost becomes a safety issue when traversing over bumpy roads. The car can slide and does not maintain a firm grip on the road. Potholes and bumps feel bigger than they are. Third, limited paint colors. This almost was a deal-breaker. Silver, white, black, red (wine), titanium. All rental car colors. Ended up with white though & love it.
2011 Kia Forte Koup EX 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl 6M)
I selected the forte EX coupe over the SX because I didn't want a sunroof and, more important, I already have a set of winter tires and rims that would fit the EX, but not the SX. I was impressed with the long list of standard features that are extra-cost options on cars like the Civic, Cruze, Corolla and Focus. In addition, compact coupes are becoming quite rare now, but the Forte fulfills my needs almost perfectly. Its 156 hp engine, 2845 lbs. weight and 6-speed manual transmission combine for lively performance and excellent gas mileage. In addition, it handles well, absorbs bumps better than my previous vehicle and brakes smoothly. It's also quite unique; I've seen very few others yet.
The car has plenty of interior storage space with compartments, cubbyholes and shelves all over, something that its domestic counterparts lack. With features like traction and stability control handling inspires confidence. The A/C works well as does the cruise control and audio system. The transmission shifts smoothly and once I got used to using the 6th gear, the fuel economy has lived up to what was advertised. I'm good for 34.8 mpg (based on the Imperial gallon) in driving that has been 75% city 25% highway. Former Audi head designer Peter Schreyer has managed to give the Koup a look that is both compact, yet muscular, something like a scaled-down Camaro.
The large rear window might benefit from a wiper. There's a bit of a blind spot where the left windshield pillar and doorframe meet. I wouldn't mind a temperature gauge either. The turn signal stalk could be made a bit stiffer so that when a person is signalling a lane change the flasher doesn't continue to stay on. The EX Koup's standard wheel covers, despite having an attractive design, should have been of a brighter finish. The grey one makes the wheels look dirty from a distance. The horn should be louder and more assertive.
2011 Kia Forte SX 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 6A)
I have been researching this and many other vehicles for many years. This car in particular has always been at the top of my list of FWD sedans and hatchbacks. FINALLY GOT IT! The SX Forte has an enormous amount of power for a four cylinder, best in class handling, and to my surprise, it also rides very comfortably. Go Kia for Great Value, Best Warranty, and Good Steering Feel! The EPA estimated 32mpg on highway. But I wanted to test the best that it could do. After driving in the MOST ECO-FRIENDLY manner, the car went 39mpg on the highway!
I love Kia because it installs hydraulic steerings and makes electric only optional. It has the best on-center feel, which makes it very poise on the highway, and that makes this car feel very heavy and easy to drive on the highway. But it's also still just as nimble as the most nimble car (the Mazda3 S) in its class. The 6 speed auto with sport mode gives best of both worlds. It can really maximize the power or really maximize the fuel economy! Love the STANDARD bluetooth tech., MP3 capability w/ USB input, leather steering, and low profile tires! It looks small from the outside, but it actually has a huge interior and a huge trunk
The off-center steering feel could still be better. The styling of the front end could be better; like it is with the Mazda3 or the Lancer.
2011 Kia Forte EX 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 6A)
I purchased my 2011 Forte EX in January and there are some things I like but others I don't. It is a great city car. If you drive daily on the highway be cautious of strong winds especially when behind an 18-wheeler. It seems to be too aerodynamic and lite in my opinion. I have already been in an accident that cost the other driver about $1,500 to fix a small dent in my drivers door that wasn't hit very hard to begin with. I downgraded from a Volvo S60 so I'm not as happy with this car as I was my last, but for a college student driving to and from work and school it is a very reasonable car, although I am looking to trade it in for the Optima at the end of the year.
I do love the fact that all Kia's now come standard with Bluetooth and MP3/iPod interface. Before I had purchased my Forte I would never have bought a car with cloth interior, but cloth interior has come a long way in the past few years and it is actually quite comfortable. After the end of the spring semester I had to pack up all of my stuff from my dorm to drive home and I was fairly surprised at how much room my Forte had. That is definitely a huge plus in my book.
I know that this car is fairly cheap in todays market and you do get a pretty decent car for around $18,000 but it wouldn't hurt to make the exterior shell of the car so cheap. By that I mean that at 5mph someone barely hit my drivers door and it cost them $1,100 to fix a small dent. When the sun is shining in the cabin of the car you can never read the radio display, which is kind of annoying. But other than that I can't think of anything.
2011 Kia Forte Koup SX 2dr Coupe (2.4L 4cyl 6A)
I purchased a Kia Forte SX Coupe 2 months back for about 16k. It had 6,000 miles on it and was is great shape. Now that the honeymoon is over I'm still very pleased with my purchase. My Kia is definitely turning heads in the parking lot, something that doesn't often happen with a car < 20k. Besides the attractive styling, the comfortable interior with leather and power sunroof (optional) make it a very comfortable daily driver. Further, when you're feeling more engaged, the stiff suspension and ample horsepower make it a blast to drive. Compared to other "economy sport" cars like the Civic or Mazda3, I feel the Forte Koup SX is far and away the best "fun to dollars" ratio.
The large sunroof, 17" rims (I have 18's on mine, easily doable with low-profile tires) and aggressive styling are all top on my list. The clean console and bright display is also a definite plus. The engine size is an excellent balance between ample power and fuel efficiency. Kia hasn't gamed the statistics on the MPG - my trip computer consistently reads 23 city / 35 highway, exactly what was predicted.
An option for power seats would be nice. The Bluetooth software could definitely be improved as well - the car interrupts the radio with a grating "Transfer Complete" a minute or so after you get in the car with a paired device. Call quality is also poor, due to road noise and a low-quality microphone in the pillar. The gear selector for the automatic is needlessly complex - getting the car from Park -> Drive involves twisting your wrist multiple directions in a precise motion, something that becomes tedious if you're getting in and out of the car 10 times a day.
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