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2011 Kia Forte SX 5-Door Review

Fun Five-Door Hatch

A three-quarter front view of a red 2011 Kia Forte SX 5-Door

In short: A versatile, budget-oriented 5-door hatchback.

Available as a five-door hatchback for the first time in 2011, the latest iteration of the Kia Forte offers the same great value as the sporty compact sedan with the added bonus of an extra 4.7 cubic feet of cargo space. Wisely taking its style cues from stellar competitors like the Mazda 3, the five-door hatch arguably improves upon the already cool looks of the Forte sedan, with sleek sheet metal belying its budget price and forecasting fun times to come. Although the Forte hatchback may not be the fastest out of the gates (it took our tester all of 8.9 seconds to break the 60 mph mark from a standstill), this quick-handling runabout nonetheless makes for an enjoyable drive thanks to its firm, sport-tuned suspension and responsive steering.

Starting at just $16,895, The Kia Forte 5-Door is truly a steal on wheels, with its comfortable cabin offering amenities that many manufacturers make you pay extra for. Along with a handsome leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear shifter, the base model EX also includes cool features like Bluetooth wireless technology, USB and auxiliary input jacks and a six-speaker audio system with Sirius satellite radio. Of course, those who step up to the premium SX trim level can further trick out their Forte with the optional Tech package, which includes a voice-activated navigation and infotainment center and automatic temperature control, among other perks. However, our favorite feature remains Kia's generous warranty, which offers 5-year/60,000-mile basic coverage and 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain protection.

Warranty/Service: Ten-year/100,000-mile powertrain limited warranty; five-year/60,000-mile basic limited warranty; five-year/60,000-mile roadside assistance


QUICK SHEET
Base Price: $19,395 / As Tested: $23,640

Technical Specifications

Vehicle type: front engine, front-wheel drive, 5-passenger, 5-door hatchback

Engine: 2.4-liter DOHC CVVT 4-cylinder engine
Horsepower: 173 hp @ 6,000 rpm
Torque:168 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic with paddle shifters

Curb weight:
3,385 lbs
Wheelbase: 104.3 in
Length/Width/Height: 170.9/69.9/57.5
Turning circle: 35.4 ft

Brakes:
front vented disc brakes; rear solid disc brakes; 4-sensor, 4-channel ABS with brake assist; electronic brake-force distribution
Suspension: independent MacPherson strut front; torsion beam rear; coil springs; shock absorbers

Traction: electronic stability control; traction control system

EPA City:
23 mpg
EPA Highway: 32 mpg

Safety:
dual front advanced airbags; front seat-mounted side airbags; full-length side curtain airbags

Top Speed: 127 mph
0-60 mph: 8.9 seconds

Likes: value; practicality

Dislikes: TBD

 

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Photography: AlphaMedia

PNW052411 (Updated: 10/25/11 NW)

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