Track Tested: 2010 Kia Forte SX

Track Tested: 2010 Kia Forte SX

2010 Kia Forte SX tests hundreds of vehicles a year, but not every vehicle gets a full writeup. The numbers still tell a story, though, so we present "Track Tested." It's a quick rundown of all the data we collected at the track, along with comments direct from the test drivers. Enjoy.

It's rare that a sedan in this class surprises us. Compact budget sedans like the 2010 Kia Forte aren't really supposed to surprise you, they're supposed to get you to and from work as efficiently and trouble-free as possible. Surprises are generally a bad thing in this category.

That wasn't the case here, however, as the Kia Forte turned in some track test results that had our test driver taking notice. We don't want to oversell this. The Kia Forte is not going to run circles around a Honda Civic Si, but as the numbers show, it wouldn't be all that far behind.

Granted, our Kia Forte test car was the SX model, which gets an upgraded 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with 173 horsepower, a five-speed automatic and 17-inch wheels and tires. Still, with a starting price of $18,495 it's every bit the economy sedan. Click through to see how it fared at the track and why it might surprise you, too.

Vehicle: 2010 Kia Forte
Odometer: 2,181
Date: 10/20/09
Driver: Chris Walton
Price: $20,890

Drive Type: Front-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Five-speed automatic
Engine Type: Inline-4
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 2,359cc (144 cu-in)
Redline (rpm): 6,500
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 173 @ 6,000
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 168 @ 4,000
Brake Type (front): Ventilated disc
Brake Type (rear): Disc
Steering System: Speed-proportional power steering
Suspension Type (front): MacPherson strut
Suspension Type (rear): Torsion beam
Tire Size (front): P215/45R17
Tire Size (rear): P215/45R17
Tire Brand: Goodyear
Tire Model: Eagle LS2
Tire Type: All-season
Wheel Size: 17-by-7 inches
Wheel Material (front/rear): Alloy
As Tested Curb Weight (lb): 2,952

Test Results:
0-30 (sec): 3.1
0-45 (sec): 5.6
0-60 (sec): 8.6
0-75 (sec): 12.8
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 16.4 @ 84.9
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 8.3
30-0 (ft): 30
60-0 (ft): 118
Braking Rating: Very Good
Slalom (mph): 67.3
Skid Pad Lateral Acceleration (g): 0.86
Handling Rating: Excellent
Db @ Idle: 38
Db @ Full Throttle: 68.2
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 60.3

Acceleration Comments: Almost enough power to spin the tires at launch, but it still manages a chirp. Power trails off as you near the redline, but it never feels/sounds as if it's going to explode.

Braking Comments: Very good anti-dive character, firm pedal feel, very good fade resistance. Tires are playing a part, but they're not the only reason for the good results.

Handling Comments: (Skid pad) Impressive grip and poise. Again, tires are helping quite a bit here, but the chassis has an inherent balance as well. Steering feel was unremarkable. (Slalom) I was shocked by how well the Forte went through the cones on the initial "get to know you" run and confidently ramped up the speed to almost 70 mph by the fourth pass. Wow. Excellent in transitions, with good turn-in and rear-end poise. The steering is only so-so, as I beat the power steering pump once or twice during quick transitions.

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