Purchased 2011 Kia Forte 5 as a commuter car for wife. Test drove hatchback two times and came away feeling it was a good combination of value, space, safety features, fuel ecomomy, performance and interior room. So far have put on approx 900 kilometers ( approx 540 miles) all in the city and have averaged about 27 miles per gallon. Engine and powertrain ( 6 speed automatic) provide good driving dynamics for the class of vehicle. Unknown is Kia service as I suspect new generation of Kia vehicles are probably ahead of the service in terms of quality. Will find out in time.
Our priorities ar safety, comfort, fuel efficiency, and the fun to drive quality. We bought a KIA 5 Door SX and love it! We think it's tons of fun to and the price was very reasonable. If that isn't enough, the warranty is fantastic. The Forte has a vast array of safety features such as Traction Control, Electronic Stability Control, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, etc. The silky smooth, powerful 2.4 Liter Engine in the SX model packs plenty of power and is far superior to the 2.0 Liter version in the EX model. Every day we can't wait to drive this car. Compare it with the 2012 Ford Focus Hatchback and see which one you prefer.
We already have an 09 elantra touring. The Kia is a step up (173 hp, 6 speed auto) and better styled. We cross shopped it against the Mazda 3 (too little rear seat room) and Subaru Forrester (noisy, handles worse). After about 1,000 miles i'm pretty satisifed with the Kia. Returning about 26 mpg on my commute, and is fully loaded (leather, sunroof, power everything for $21K and change). Much peppier than the elantra, which I still love anyway.
I purchased this vehicle for commuting and as a safe reliable vehicle to pass on to my teenage son. So far I am mostly satisfied with my Forte. It is really comfortable for a small car and it is much quieter than any other small car I have been in. I have the technology package with the nav, backup camera and smartkey. The smartkey is a feature I never knew I wanted, now I can't imagine not having it. I am very pleased with the way this car drives on ice and snow due to the stability and traction control. My only real complaint is the fuel economy. I currently average 28 mpg, mostly highway driving and was really expecting it to be better. Overall I am satisfied and think its a good value.
I traded my three year old PT Cruiser... which I would have kept if it had not gotten such awful fuel enonomy.. So I wanted another hatch back. The seating position of the Forte is like a race car .. I have to get used to that and the smaller wheel.. but handling is precise and very fun.. The Korean tires are made with nylon rather than polyester which I think causes too firm a ride at times.. They otherwise handle just fine.. I had to pay a guy to put on painted body side mouldings.. KIA does not offer factory body side mouldings.. that was a small pain ... first tank of gas with mixed driving was 27.. that's good... Overall quite happy so far.