The all-new 2010 Kia Forte compact sedan is one such example.
I thoroughly enjoyed a recent week in the Kia Forte SX, the most expensive of three trim levels. Yet even though the tester was dressed up with extras that included leather seating surfaces, heated front seats and a power sunroof, the bottom line on the sticker came in at a very affordable $20,490.
I loved its sleek looks. Those integrated, swept-back headlights added a sporty feel, magnified even more by 17-inch alloy wheels.
The 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine (173 horsepower) performed admirably for a four-banger, and a sport-tuned suspension was an able bump-eater and did not present anything like a stiff ride. Only the steepest uphill climbs made the power plant groan, and it felt good to be getting spot-on EPA-estimated fuel economy readings of 23 miles per gallon in the city and 31 mpg on the open road.
Steering was super-responsive. The Forte ate up an orange-coned slalom course I set up in an abandoned store lot.
This discount driver was far from stripped. The safety, interior and exterior features lists on the tested Forte were lengthy. They included goodies you normally don’t get in this price range, including electronic brake distribution, traction control, electronic stability control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and a three-month complimentary subscription with the Sirius Satellite Radio system.
Interior space is good, but three beefy passengers in the back might struggle. Throw in Kia’s generous warranties, and this Forte makes quite the value package.
The new, funky-looking Kia Soul urban vehicle might be getting the lion’s share of publicity, but the Forte has what many claim they are looking for – a liberally-appointed, practical-sized family sedan at a bargain price.