2010 Kia Forte
The goal for these next few hundred words: Try not to use the word "Forte" to refer to the 2010 Kia Forte sedan in a cliched manner.
As in, "being green is the Kia Forte's forte." Let's see if I can do this.
The 2010 Kia Forte compact replaced the Spectra, and the bet here is that few even noticed the Spectra's departure.
Built to compete with the Toyota Corolla, the Honda Civic, and the Hyundai Elantra, this new car is offered in sedan and coupe flavors, and a five-door hatch is in the works, as shown at the 2010 New York Auto Show.
So what makes a Forte sedan so darn "green?" After all, it's not a hybrid, diesel, fuel cell, or anything "cool" like that. No, it's simply a small car that offers big fuel-economy numbers: 25 mpg city and 34 mpg highway, according to the EPA.
I spent a week behind the wheel of a Forte sedan this month, and here's what I learned during my evaluations.
My fuel-economy numbers won't please the hard-core hyper-milers: I averaged 23.2 miles per gallon, which is a bit on the shallow side. Blame it on city traffic and a journalist's heavy foot, or call out the EPA for unrealistic expectations, but that's what the calculator says. You be the judge.
There's something to be said for conventional gasoline engines in compact cars. Light weight means better acceleration, and the Forte is competent around town in this regard, although it's highway merging skills won't blow anyone away. The boom of the engine might, though. The four is a bit buzzy at low RPMs, but step on it at an on-ramp, and it gets loud, with a bit of reverberating boom as it makes it way to redline.
The automatic shifts smoothly enough, but a transmission with only four forward speeds seems a bit outdated. Plus, the shifter occasionally got hung up on the notched shift-gate when being brought out of park or reverse.