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.
I have logged 34k miles with no reliability issues whatsoever. I am nearly 6ft tall, 220lbs, and feel very comfortable in this smallish car. I find it notably more spacious in the footwell than both the Focus and Mazda3 I recently rented on biz trips. I am very partial to manual transmissions, and chose this car for that reason. Clutch action is very predictable, and gear changes are positive. Though this car is not exactly fast, the transmission adds great fun to driving, and I recommend a manual for all people who enjoy driving as I do. I average about 33mpg in mixed driving, 37+ on sustained freeway trips.
I was not in the market for a Kia and had no intention of buying one. I had my heart set on a new Honda Civic but decided to test drive the Kia Forte to compare against the Honda. The Kia turns out to have vastly more features than the Honda including, bluetooh, Sirius radio, cruise control, internet capability to name a few. Plus the warranty on the Kia is far better than what you would normally get with a Honda. And at the dealership I went to Dick Hannah Kia in Vancouver Washington they offer you free tires for life and other services that I have never heard of with any other dealership. My salesman was very knowledgeable and seemed to really care about me. Thank you Luis.
Traded in our '04 Optima EX V-6 @ 133,000 for our Forte. The Optima was a great car. Only had to replace the starter. Absolutely luv the forte. Spirited 2.0L, great 6sp auto. Outstanding gas mileage, on a trip from Jax, Fl to Philly it avg over 40 mpg during 1 tank run, i.e. 403 miles and only took 9.7 gal to fill. Averaged 37-38 mpg on the trip. A definite gas saver over the 2.7L Optima. I am 6'1", 256#, a little cramped but otherwise REALLY like this car. Started out with a 2001 Sephia, bought '02 Optima EX V-6 for Mama, Traded both cars in on the same day in Dec '03 for an '04 Spectra and the '04 Optima. Still have the Spectra @ over 103,000 miles.