We shared the '12 for over 3 years and over 80,000 miles until I bought myself a 2015 Sonata Sport 2.0T Limited 6 months ago. Love that car and reviewed it on here also. Got a great deal. Now that we're back to two cars, mileage will accumulate a lot less. While I was getting the 12 serviced 2 weeks ago and "someone" took my car to work, I was asked "Do you think you can get me a deal on trading my car like you did buying yours ?" So I walked the lot and found a Snow White Pearl Forte5 EX 2.0 GDI - loaded with Premium/Technology package and remote start with black leather with white stitching. I texted the pictures. "I really wasn't a fan of white until you got yours (Quartz White Pearl) but I really like it. See what you can do. If it works out, I'll come sign the papers". The 12 was in excellent condition except for the 82,000 miles they beat down the trade in value on, but with the rebate and financing, it was a good deal regardless. The 12 had leather and sunroof. Great little car. No complaints other than it could have used more sound insulation. Compared to the 12: The tech options are great. Stereo is better. Bluetooth streaming is a world better. It's quieter. Much better legroom - we're both 6ft tall. Headroom was never an issue even with the 12 - sunroof in both. The 2.0GDI doesn't have the off the line punch of the 2012s 2.4 port-injected engine but feels fine overall (same 173hp rating) and better fuel mileage makes it worthwhile. Neither are pocket rockets but we're not race car drivers lol. Has plenty of zip. Warranty can't be beat. This now makes 4 Hyundai / Kia products since 2008 and don't regret any of them. I'm a semi-retired mechanic and choose my/our cars wisely. The only 2 gripes with the 16: 1 - gone with the 2014+ 5 door redesign is the split-folding rear seat bottoms which was great when we needed to haul stuff around. A minor gripe really because the 16 is still plenty roomy with the seat backs folded down. 2 - For the 2016 Forte line up, HID headlights were deleted, even with the Tech package. I remedied that with the same brand HID kit I installed in the 2012. Also installed LED plate and reverse lights - nice difference with the back-up camera at night. Experience has us anticipating the same reliability. The 2008 Sonata we traded for the 2012 Forte is still on the road with nearly 250,000 miles on it. Traded with nearly 120,000 trouble-free miles and came across it recently. UPDATE 3/27/2017 Six months and 7,500 miles now. Engine has loosened up. Feels puncher. Averaging 31-32mpg which is 7-8mog better than the 2012. Nothing other than an oil change and tire rotation.
Got my 2016 Forte5 SX (6-speed, manual transmission) brand new five months ago, and I am still in love with my turbo hatchback. For my needs, it is the perfect fun-to-drive commuter. It is not as sporty/fast as a VW GTI (which is arguably the leader in affordable hot hatchbacks), but it is much less expensive, it should be much more reliable, and it has a much better warranty. Also, the Forte5 SX has the best seat and driving position I found in any compact car I test-drove (I'm a larger fellow, at 6'2 and 230 lbs). Another plus? The Forte5 SX takes regular gas (not premium like many turbos). I had already decided to buy the car before I even found that out. I'm only getting 27.8 mpg so far, but the gas mileage is slowly getting better the more miles I put on the car. No regrets at all, and I plan on keeping it for a long time. For you car guys out there, the driving dynamics may be a little bit different, but the fun-factor/value reminds me of my old 1998 Civic EX but with a comfortable seat. I'm starting to think that Kia is doing now what Honda was doing in the late 1990s--which is a very good thing indeed.
I leased this car as an experiment-- I have never owned a Kia before. I know they had made huge strides in design and engineering but wanted to see how far. I love sporty hatchbacks with manual transmissions and I really found the design appealing. I shopped the Mazda 3 (clunky navigation design and wheezy engine), GTI (far more expensive, and reliability concerns) and Ford Focus (don't like the interior or rear-end styling, also huge turning radius) but ended up getting the Kia. Why? For one, it is a rare car-- I've had my car a year and still haven't seen another on the road. Second, I really like the styling. Third, you just can't beat all the content like heated and cooled seats, LED lights, dual-zone climate control, and heated steering wheel. The interior is also very, very nice-- Looks and feels way more expensive than it is. I also was confident I knew about the car's shortcomings-- Abysmal mileage for a 4-cylinder, not quite as refined ride and handling as the big dogs like Focus and GTI, and not quite as fast. But I wanted a nice, clean, fun, reliable daily driver and that's just what I got. Any things that bug me? Not really, but there are a few ways the car could be better. First, I mentioned the mileage. The engine is clearly a little small for this car-- Even when I don't drive it hard (which is rare) mileage is still in the high twenties at best. Second, the suspension along with the 18-inch tires makes for a bit of a hard ride around town. That's about all I can complain about, otherwise I really like the car.
If you are interested in a Forte, get the hatchback. As far as looks, space,quickness in and out of traffic, and easy to work on, this is really the best hatch you can get. I thought I would never buy a Kia. Reminds me of Honda circa 1986. The only things I can nitpick on is handling is so so around curves, and stock speakers in the EX are horrible. Ride comfort is neither great or terrible. I drove out of the dealership under $20k for everything. Very satisfied.
I was in the market for a used car but ended up purchasing the Kia Forte new because of the rebates. I have never liked hatchbacks but this body type fits my current needs and looks better than most in my opinion. This car is comfortable to drive and even the base model is a great upgrade from what I was in. I was really impressed with the warranty offered with this vehicle.