2012 Kia Forte Review | Edmunds.com

2012 Kia Forte

Kia Forte Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.0 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 156 hp @ 6200 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 25/34 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2012 Kia Forte

  • The 2012 Kia Forte is a bit outclassed by newer competitors, but it still has a lot to offer in terms of value and style.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Wide variety of body styles; affordable pricing; long warranty; excellent handling in SX trim.

  • Cons

    Tepid handling except for SX; intrusive road noise; lackluster interior; rear seat short on legroom.

  • What's New for 2012

    For 2012, the Kia Forte lineup returns largely unchanged save for the midrange EX model, which gets a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel. Revised gauges have also been added to the EX Technology package.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (16 total reviews)  |  Write a Review


New car

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Vehicle: 2012 Kia Forte EX 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 6A)

I traded my 2009 Nissan Versa Hatchback for the 2012 Kia Forte Ex. So far I love it. It had all the bells and whistles that I wanted without the extra cost. It's a lot more fun to drive than the versa.




Thyrome

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Vehicle: 2012 Kia Forte Koup EX 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl 6M)

This car is a tank! I was not paying as much attention as I should have been and nearly rear ended a truck but instead jerked the wheel at like 40 mph skidded sideways like 50 ft and hit and then jumped a curb, all it did was give the rim a small bit of rim rash it still drives fine and is still in alignment. The mileage though is not what it said it should be even though using medium grade does make a notable difference in this and power. And it is sorta peppy. It has plenty of room, I am almost 6'' and am not skinny. And yes it drives like butter, only problem is the stock tires are not very shall we say "grippy". I am at 35,000 miles with absolutely no issue just tune-up type stuff.



1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Have had forte sedan ex

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Vehicle: 2012 Kia Forte EX 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 6A)

I've only had this car for about a month and have really liked it so far. The ease that the majority of functions in this car is nice compared to my previous car. Even though the majority of my driving has been shorter in-city distances, its gas milage has been pretty close to estimated mileage. I will soon see how well the gas mileage does with a long trip.




20k miles in... great car

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Vehicle: 2012 Kia Forte EX 4dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl 6A)

I got this car because of the fold down seats and the great interest rate. I do a lot of camping and traveling so the fold down seats were critical since I sometimes car camp. I am able to comfortably lay down in the back area for a cat nap during a long trip or to get a good nights sleep. I am trading it in only because I want the four wheel drive but this car performed pretty decent on forest roads for what it is. It rides very nice too. I borrowed some chevy car of the same size for a week and when I got my Forte back, it felt like driving butter! It is reliable too. 20k miles and not a single engine problem at all!



2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Work commuter

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Vehicle: 2012 Kia Forte EX 4dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl 6A)

Needed a new car for my daily commute, and have wanted a hatchback for a while too, so came across the Kia Forte, and found that while its not the top of the line model, it offers everything that I needed in a functional and stylish package.



1 of 4 people found this review helpful

Great mpg ffrom automatic...

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Vehicle: 2012 Kia Forte EX 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 6A)

I rented one, and this Forte gets up to 50-55 MPG on highway if cruising only up to 50 mph speed (no higher) at the magic, low 1,500 RPM mark, A/C off, cruise control on, and windows closed. Accelerate this Forte very carefullly by not letting it run higher than 1,500 RPM for each and all transmission gears it shifts from stop to go in city driving, regardless if other drivers behind you find you too slow. Shift to neutral for all downhill driving as much as possible to receive up to 100 MPG. Shift back to drive if neutral driving reaches below 50 mph. Anyone can do it. Happy traveling...



Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 26
  • cty
/
  • 36
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs

Full 2012 Kia Forte Review

What's New for 2012

For 2012, the Kia Forte lineup returns largely unchanged save for the midrange EX model, which gets a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel. Revised gauges have also been added to the EX Technology package.

Introduction

When the Kia Forte debuted a few years ago, we were pretty impressed with this new small car, finding it offered levels of style, engineering and overall quality that were on par with more well-known Japanese competitors. For the 2012 Kia Forte, the game has changed, as other manufacturers have rallied and made notable improvements. But overall the Forte still holds appeal.

Of particular merit, the 2012 Forte is offered in coupe, sedan and four-door hatchback body styles, one of the few small cars to offer such a selection. If you're interested in something sporty, the Forte coupe (the "Koup") will likely satisfy thanks to its sharp styling and firmer suspension tuning. If it's practicality you desire, Kia's got you covered with the roomy Forte hatchback. The Forte has other positive qualities as well, including long warranty coverage, plenty of standard features and high fuel economy when equipped with the optional Fuel Economy package.

That said, we consider some newer small cars to be more appealing overall. The Hyundai Elantra, for instance, has a nicer interior and better fuel economy no matter how you equip the car. The new Ford Focus is another well-regarded choice, as are the revitalized Mazda 3 and Volkswagen Golf hatchback. But if you're looking for something sporty, practical or just high on value, the 2012 Kia Forte is worth a look.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2012 Kia Forte is available in sedan, four-door hatchback and coupe (or "Koup" in Kia-speak) body styles. The sedan is offered in three trim levels including the entry-level LX, midrange EX and sporty SX trim levels, while the hatchback and coupe are available in EX and SX trims only.

Standard equipment on the LX base model includes 15-inch steel wheels, a six-way-adjustable driver seat, a 60/40-split-folding rear seat, a tilt steering column, Bluetooth and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, a USB/iPod interface and an auxiliary audio jack.

Step up to one of the EX models and you get keyless entry, air-conditioning, cruise control, a trip computer, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, illuminated vanity mirrors, full power accessories and a six-speaker sound system. The EX coupe adds 16-inch alloy wheels, firmer suspension tuning, front sport seats and a more robust exhaust note.

The SX comes equipped with a more powerful 2.4-liter engine, a sport-tuned suspension, 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, unique cloth upholstery and metallic interior trim, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. The SX coupe also gets 17-inch alloy wheels, a sportier version of the SX sedan's suspension, and illuminated red speaker surrounds that can blink in time to the beat.

Options on LX models are limited to air-conditioning. The EX has a longer list of available extras, including 16-inch alloy wheels (sedan only) and a sunroof. A Fuel Economy package for the EX sedan and hatchback adds electric power steering, low-rolling-resistance tires and aerodynamic enhancements. SX options include a sunroof and leather upholstery with heated front seats. A Technology package that bundles keyless ignition/entry, automatic climate control, a navigation system and chrome exterior door handles is also available on the EX and SX.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2012 Kia Forte LX and EX are powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 156 horsepower and 144 pound-feet of torque. The sportier SX gets a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that puts out 173 hp and 168 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard on LX models and the Koup, while EX and SX models come equipped with a six-speed automatic that's also offered as an option on the LX. In Edmunds performance testing, an SX hatchback with an automatic went from zero to 60 mph in 8.8 seconds, which is on par with similarly powered cars. The Koup is a bit quicker. With the manual it hits 60 in 7.6 seconds.

The EPA fuel economy estimates for the LX and EX with the manual transmission are 25 mpg city/34 mpg highway and 29 mpg combined. Those numbers edge up to a respectable 26/36/29 with the automatic. Opting for the EX Fuel Economy package ups those numbers to 27/37/30. The more powerful Forte SX isn't too shabby either, with EPA estimates of 22/32/26 with the manual and 23/32/26 with the automatic. The two-door Koup returns estimates within 1 or 2 mpg (some higher, some lower) of the sedan and four-door hatchback numbers noted above.

Safety

The 2012 Kia Forte's list of standard safety equipment includes antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags that cover both rows of seats, and active front head restraints. In Edmunds brake testing, a Forte Koup SX came to a stop from 60 mph in an excellent 118 feet. An SX hatchback stopped in a still above-average 122 feet.

In government crash tests, the Kia Forte earned four stars (out of a possible five) in overall safety, with four stars for overall frontal-impact safety and four stars for overall side-impact safety. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Forte sedan the top score of "Good" in that agency's frontal-offset, side-impact and roof strength tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

The Kia Forte's interior is a fairly comfortable place, with good room up front and backseats with legroom that, while not great, is about par for the category. One notable exception is the coupe's rear seat, which is a tight squeeze by anyone's standards. The quality of the interior is certainly acceptable, but it's a noticeable step down from what you'll find in a Focus, Elantra or Volkswagen Golf. Some Forte test cars we've sampled have also suffered from haphazard construction.

Both the coupe and sedan have a good amount of cargo room, with 12.6 cubic feet and 14.7 cubic feet, respectively. The hatchback version is even better, with 19.4 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats that expands to 44.2 cubic feet with those seatbacks folded down to make a flat load floor.

Driving Impressions

When it comes to the fun-to-drive factor, the 2012 Kia Forte is a mixed bag. The softer suspension underpinning LX and EX models allows for a little too much body roll in spirited driving, and the relatively numb steering feel doesn't help matters any. Both are perfectly passable in everyday motoring, although folks who put a premium on solid handling will want the firmer sport-tuned suspension that's standard on SX models. With it, these are legitimately fun little cars.

Ride comfort is generally good either way you go. Similarly, the smaller engine under the hood of LX and EX models will suit most folks just fine, but the larger 2.4-liter engine powering SX models feels noticeably stronger. We highly recommend the automatic transmission, as the manual is both unpleasant and difficult to use.

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