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2013 Kia Soul, Silver, 14 mi., $19,690
Review of the 2012 Kia Forte
IntroductionKia Motors America (KMA) introduced the Forte compact sedan following the successful launch of the widely acclaimed Soul urban passenger vehicle last year. Sporting a bold look set apart by crisp lines, swept-back headlamps and a glossy profile, the Forte projected a wide, firm stance that conveys motion both while cruising on the highway and parked in the driveway. The 2012 Kia Forte is available in three trim levels - LX, EX and SX. Kia has now introduced a sleek, muscular and fuel-efficient five-door compact hatchback to its successful Forte lineup. The Forte now offers six-speed manual and six-speed automatic transmission options for 2012.
Exterior Design and Special FeaturesWith a wheelbase of 104.3 inches, an overall length of 178.3 inches, an overall width of 69.9 inches and overall height of 57.5 inches, the Forte offers comfortable seating for up to five passengers. The SX trim offers a more athletic profile with 17-inch alloy wheels paired with P215/45R17-sized premium tires. With forceful design cues, the trendy Forte firmly establishes itself as a strong contender in its segment. The Kia Forte, with 96.8 cubic feet of passenger volume, has one of the roomiest interiors in the segment. Its trunk also offers a best-in-class 14.7 cubic feet of cargo space, perfect for luggage and weekend getaways. The Forte come with a host of interior features including comfortable, nicely appointed full cloth seats, a six-way adjustable driver's seat, tilt steering column, and rear defroster. The EX and SX models get a number of additional standard luxurious touches such as: power windows and door locks; remote keyless entry; air conditioning; map lamps; steering wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls; tweeter speakers; dual front and rear cup holders; and floor mats. The EX have an optional Premium Package that includes a power moonroof and 16-inch alloy wheels, or a Leather Package that includes leather-trimmed seats with front seat warmers, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob and metal-finish trim. The SX also features a unique black interior with sport cloth fabric adorned with red stitching, a telescoping steering column, Supervision gauge cluster, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob and metal-finish trim and pedals. Power moonroof and leather-trimmed seats with front seat warmers are optional. A standard four-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system fitted with SIRIUS Satellite Radio capabilities with three months complimentary service. An auxiliary audio input jack and USB port for connecting personal MP3 players as well as Bluetooth connectivity with steering wheel-mounted controls, which enables hands-free operation for all compatible cell phones are standard. A standard six-speaker surround-sound audio system is optional on the EX and SX. Forte's advanced audio system also includes Speed Dependent Volume Control (SDVC), which automatically increases the volume at higher speeds for better listening enjoyment, and Power Bass, which automatically enhances the bass response and tone.
EngineThe Forte LX and EX are powered by a 2.0-liter DOHC four-cylinder engine rated at a class-leading 156 horsepower and 144 pound-feet of torque, that features Continuously Variable Valve Timing (CVVT) and multi-port electronic fuel injection, both of which provide for greater performance and fuel economy. The SX comes with an upgraded 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine, also with CVVT, which delivers 173 horsepower. Four transmission options are available - a standard five-speed manual transmission or an optional electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission (LX and EX models). The SX model features a standard six-speed manual transmission and an optional five-speed automatic transmission with Sportmatic. The 2.0-liter engine delivers a competitive 25/34 mpg (city/highway) when teamed to either the five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmissions, while the 2.4-liter engine delivers a notable 22/32 mpg when paired with the six-speed manual and 23/31 with the five-speed automatic. The optional Fuel Economy Package, available on the EX model with the 2.0-liter powerplant, includes the five-speed automatic transmission, Motor Drive Power Steering (MPDS), "smart" alternator, silica tires and aero enhancements. These improvements result in 27/36 mpg and a class-leading combined fuel economy of 30 mpg.
SafetyThe Forte offers a class-leading level of standard safety equipment including dual advanced front airbags, four-wheel disc brakes with an Antilock Brake System (ABS), front active headrests, front seat-mounted and side curtain airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, side impact door beams, front and rear crumple zones, Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BAS), Electronic Stability Control (ESC), a Traction Control System (TCS), and a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS).