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Kia Forte/Forte Koup

The last year for this Forte.

It’s been a good run for the Kia Forte. The car has an impressive list of features meant to erase Kia’s reputation as a budget brand. Since its introduction, the Forte has offered leather, heated seats, and Bluetooth. Push-button start, shift paddles, and navigation are optional. Power comes from a 2.0-liter or 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, and the two transmission choices are a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic. Both engines deliver good performance and return respectable fuel economy. The top SX model aims for a sporty feel inside, with black surfaces accented by silver trim and red lighting. Unfortunately, driving the SX, or any of the Forte models, is not a dynamic experience. Plenty of competitors in the small-car segment are more composed, refined, and fun. Manufacturers have gotten much more serious about their small cars lately, and models like the Mazda 3, the Ford Focus, and the Dodge Dart — to name a few — have raised the bar in refinement, dynamics, and efficiency. That has left the Forte playing catch-up, but that may change when Kia starts selling a longer, wider, and lower Forte, one that sits on an all-new chassis, for 2014. And maybe that’s why the only standard feature Kia added to its Forte models this year was an indicator light for low windshield-washer fluid.

COMPETITORS

Honda Civic

Hyundai Elantra

Mazda 3

Toyota Corolla

new for 2013

A new sixteen-inch wheel design is standard on coupe and hatchback models and optional on sedans. LED daytime running lights are standard on SX models. Power-folding exterior mirrors are now standard on EX and SX models. Crimson red and metallic bronze replace spicy red and metal bronze as exterior colors.

SAFETY EQUIPMENT

Front, side, and side curtain air bags; active front headrests; ABS; electronic brake-force distribution; brake assist; and stability and traction control are standard.

High Mileage

MPG

CITY 22–26

HWY 31–36

PRO

Long list of available features

Both transmissions are six-speeds

CON

Driving dynamics are wanting

Still trying to catch up to the competition

Base Price Range: $16,175–$20,350

SPECIFICATIONS

DRIVE: Front-wheel

TRIM LEVELS: Forte Koup EX, Forte Koup SX, Forte LX, Forte EX, Forte SX, Forte 5-door EX, Forte 5-door SX

BODY STYLES: Sedan, coupe, hatchback, 5-passenger

ENGINES: 2.0L I-4, 156 hp, 144 lb-ft

2.4L I-4, 173 hp, 168 lb-ft

TRANSMISSIONS: 6-speed manual, 6-speed automatic

PASSENGER VOLUME: (coupe/sedan/hatch) 90.7/96.8/97.5 cu ft

CARGO SPACE: (coupe/sedan/hatch) 12.6/14.7/19.4 cu ft

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