Let me start by saying I LOVE my 2015 Forte Hatchback. It's probably the best car I ever owned. Are there things about it I don't like? Yes, that's why I only gave it 4 stars (didn't know how to give it 4 1/2 stars). Having said that, I would buy another one in a heartbeat. PROS 1. This is the 2nd KIA I've owned and both of them have been perfect mechanically. I haven't had one mechanical issue. It just cannot get any better than that. I also know two other people who had KIAs for at least 3 years and neither one of them had a single mechanical problem. 2. The car is sleek and people constantly tell me how cool it looks. I love looking at it every time I approach my car. 3. It's extremely comfortable and I thoroughly enjoy driving it. Is it fun to drive? I think so. 4. The A/C system works great in a very hot, southern climate. It even came with front seats which can be heated (I don't need that where I live) and/or cooled. 5. The UVO system is terrific and very easy to use. 6. The instrument panel is clear, easy to read, and very informative. I could do almost everything I wanted without ever looking at the manual. 7. I love my Sirius XM Satellite Radio. 8. Lots of storage space with 5 door Hatchback plus the special storage container under the normal floor in the rear is very handy. 9. My KIA dealer treats the customers like gold. 10. Very affordable but it has the quality of a more expensive car. 11. Very good highway mileage 12. Nobody beats the KIA warranty. I feel great because I had no problems, but if I did, it's always covered under the warranty. CONS 1. Wind noise, especially on the highway (seems to be a problem with KIAs) 2. Poor city stop and go mileage. Maybe it's because I'm always taking very short trips with lots of traffic lights where I accelerate briskly? It's hard to tell if it's my driving style or the vehicle. I think it's a combination of both. 3. The standard tires are just OK but very noisy. I'm used to riding on Michelins which are far superior. 4. The instrument panel is very cool but one gauge says MPH instead of MPG for the average miles per gallon 5. With one exception the navigation system works great, plus it has a large, easy to read screen. That one exception,unless I have a specific address to punch in, is it's often difficult to find what I'm looking for . For some unknown reason it's hard to find venues. In other words, it isn't user friendly.
This car excels in terms of design, comfort, and features. In addition, when an opportunity presents itself, the manual shifting turbo engine is wickedly good fun. Is this a car to take track-racing? Of course not, but the upside is that it's a pleasant and fun daily driver. However, know that the stiffer suspension disallows this car from being a comfortable highway cruiser when the pavement gets dicey. Nevertheless, if you're in the market for a fun-to-drive hatchback with space for 4 (not just seating, but actual space!) definitely check out the Forte5 SX. So far, my mileage has been about 3 better than the rated MPG from KIA, and that's in 50/50 mixed driving. I've also gotten (mostly) used to the much-maligned flex-steer. I rarely take it out of the 'normal' setting. On occasion I'll use 'sport' on a crowded, twisty interstate, and even less frequently I'll use 'comfort' when cruising on a well-paved, empty highway. Worth noting, even though UVO works well, the stock speakers are absolutely terrible. Given that UVO is such a key component of KIA's marketing, they should immediately discontinue the current speakers and use the Infinity upgrade materials they have available for other vehicles (but not the Forte . . .?). Finally, given KIA's incentivized sales approach, there is no way not to get a good deal. Especially on this under-marketed, under-appreciated, and undersold car. Based on all the info I can find online, I ended up paying less than inventory price by a couple hundred dollars.
I've always had a soft spot for hot hatches. One of my favorite cars was a prior GTI even though it was also the least reliable car I've owned. I never thought I'd see myself in a KIA but they have really stepped up in recent years. Their designs and reliability are some of the best in the business now. The Forte5 SX with the 6 speed manual is a blast to drive. The power is readily available at low RPMs. The interior is spacious and fits my 6'7 frame well with plenty of room to spare. I don't even need to have the seat all the way back which is exceptionally rare. The ride is quite comfortable. I'm averaging 31mpg(hand calculated, computer says 32-33) in mixed driving. The power folding mirrors may seem a bit gimmicky at first, but they sure are nice to have in a narrow 2 car garage. It's not quite as quick as a GTI nor does it handle quite as well, however you can buy one of these in SX trim for under $18k with a long warranty to boot. Put a little of that savings into some suspension and power upgrades and you're on par. If you're looking for a fun hatchback definitely give one of these a test drive.
We shopped for a replacement car when the previous vehicle was declared a total loss. Couldn't beat the financial incentives at Kia, and this car is an extremely attractive package for the money. Fit and finish is fantastic, base equipment exceeded our expectations. Was a bit concerned about the smaller engine/turbo combination, but it has proved to be a perfect powerplant for this car: keeps it light and more than adequate acceleration. Ride quality, even with the low profile tires fitted, is several levels above the car we replaced, a 2010 Kia Forte Koup. At this point, admittedly early on, we are completely satisfied with this vehicle, and love the practicality of the 4 door hatchback design.
After purchasing the car I felt as though you wanted a review too soon. I hadn't gotten to know the ins and outs of the car yet. Now I can give an honest and detailed review. 2017: I've gotten to know this car better since I bought it in 2014. First of all, the acceleration, handling, steering they're all good. But, I've noticed that the brakes tend to lose pressure if I am applying the brake while encountering a severe bump or pothole, or even a patch of ice. According to the service department my brakes are fine so there must be a problem in the engineering or design. 2017: The brake response to loose gravel, ice or rough patches when applying the brake hasn't gotten any better. But I've learned to adjust my braking in order to accommodate it. I hope, in the future, you have an ordinary driver test your brakes and give you an honest opinion. If they do, you're bound to change things. Second, this car is noisy! I have all windows closed and it still sounds as though they are open! And, even with new tires I get bumps aplenty when traveling even new paved roads. I don't know if it is suspension or tires but it rattles my teeth. 2017: The noise hasn't improved. Besides the rattles the car is developing, the wind noise and road noise is still pretty loud. I've even considered having thicker carpet installed, or maybe an undercoating. The windows are still very touchy. Speaking of the windows, they don't work very well. If you try to raise or lower them just a bit, the motor takes over and they open or close completely. Inconvenient and potentially dangerous in the wrong situation. Third, and this is VERY important, the dashboard lights up even when you don't have your lights on. I'm old enough to know that a lit dash board is a sure sign of your headlights being on. When the dash is already lit you can forget to turn them on. For inattentive drivers this can be disastrous. Also, your headlights do not melt snow. In most of this country you get snow in the winter. If the headlights don't melt it you can't see and the other driver can't see you. It's dangerous. 2017: With the increasing number of cars out there with light up dashboards, I am seeing an increase in unobservant people driving with their lights off. I hope you reconsider and turn off the dash lights in future models. I also hope you go back to incandescent head lamps so the snow will melt from the heat and make driving safer. I do like the back up camera. I was confused at first but now I truly appreciate it. The remote. This overly large remote is so sensitive that it sets off the alarm if I bump my pocket. It needs to be smaller with recessed buttons, or have a cover over the buttons to prevent accidental operation. The trunk door. This door can be opened from the outside if I am in it with my remote in my pocket THAT is dangerous for those who prefer to keep their doors locked. You REALLY need to look into that. The windows fog up in the winter if the fan isn't blowing full blast. The windshield wipers do not do a very good job, especially the rear wiper. 2017: The back up camera is still an improvement but the remote, the trunk door and the defrosters are still a problem. If the inside windshield is the least bit dirty, the defrosters don't defrost. The service department in my area is GREAT! These guys do an amazing job keeping the car in good condition, but I notice that the engine still sounds rough sometimes even after a tune up. I'm at about 28,000 miles I hope this won't be a trend as it gets older. I wish it got better gas mileage. I get about 30 mpg on the highway and around 25 in the city but I thought an engine this size could be better. I'll worry about the resale value later. All in all I like the car for what it is, an economy car. But I hope your future cars can address these points I have indicated because there is a good chance I will buy another KIA in the future. 2017: I am going to be hanging on to this car for a few more years yet so you have time to consider my concerns. Because, if they are still a concern with the next car, I'll find one where they aren't. Thank you for listening. I DO like your cars. I hope they get better.