An all-new five-door hatchback has been added to the Kia Forte lineup for 2011, giving consumers an alternative to the popular compact sedan.
The hatchback offers consumers more flexibility for their everyday needs. Available in LX, EX and SX trim levels for the sedan and EX and SX versions for the hatchback, pricing for the nifty little sedan starts at $14,995 for the base trim model, while hatchback pricing starts at $16,895.
Both the sedan and the hatchback come standard with numerous comfort and convenience features, including power windows, power door locks with remote keyless entry and hands-free Bluetooth wireless technology connectivity, air conditioning, Sirius Satellite Radio capabilities with three months complimentary service, MP3 connectivity and steering wheel-mounted audio controls.
The LX and EX trims are powered by a 2.0-liter 156 hp DOHC four-cylinder engine (25/34 mpg), with Continuously Variable Valve Timing (CVVT) and multi-port electronic fuel injection for better performance and fuel economy. The SX has an upgraded 2.4-liter 173 hp inline four-cylinder engine (22/32 mpg), also with CVVT.
New for 2011 are six-speed manual and six-speed automatic transmission options. Forte LX comes standard with the six-speed manual while EX and SX trim levels have a standard six-speed automatic transmission with Sportmatic clutchless shifting (optional on the LX trim).
Both the Sedan and Hatchback have an aggressive design, with crisp lines, swept-back headlights and a sleek profile. The hatchback shares a forward-facing look with the sedan and has a rounded rear to increase cargo capacity and functionality. From the front and side the sedan and hatchback have clean profiles with sweeping window arches, smooth fender flairs and body-color side mirrors and door handles. Turn signal indicators are integrated into the side mirrors on EX and SX trims. SX models have a more athletic profile and come with a silver-finished exhaust tip and 17-inch alloy wheels mated to P215/45R17 tires.
Comfortably seating as many as five passengers, both Forte models ride on a wheelbase of 104.3 inches and have an overall width of 69.9 inches and overall height of 57.5 inches. They handle responsively in traffic and the ride is smooth, thanks to a specially tuned Kia-developed suspension adjusted for responsive handling on twisting roads. The front-wheel-drive unibody structure employs an independent front suspension with MacPherson struts and a stabilizer bar and a torsion beam rear suspension with monotube shock absorbers and coil springs.
On the inside, the Forte models are roomy and comfortable, incorporating style and function, including a high-visibility center stack and a driver-oriented three-gauge instrument cluster that glows red. Both versions offer many standard interior features, including comfortable cloth seats, a six-way adjustable driver’s seat, tilt steering column, rear defroster and dual 12-volt power outlets in the center console.
Ron Beasley is the automotive editor for Miami’s Community Newspapers. He may be contacted by calling 305-662-2277, ext. 261, or by addressing email correspondence to LetsTalkCars@aol.com.