Proficient indeed, for the new Kia Forte, is a great vehicle from the Korean automaker that fit superbly in between the subcompact Rio and the mid-size Optima and covers every angle possible with three different body styles of compact cars—including a Forte sedan, Forte 5-door hatchback, and Forte Koup two-door.
When the Kia Forte was introduced, we were impressed by its sharp styling, quality cabin, agreeable driving dynamics and generous features list. But then the competition and most compact cars went crazy with new designs and upgrades and so the Forte kind of stay behind in many areas and attributes. But not this new Forte -- this one is a different story... It was the first car to get the crisp new Euro-influenced look that has characterized all of Kia's latest cars, and even though is easy to overlook, the Forte has earned its own place and name, replacing the good but anonymous Spectra just three years ago.
The Forte's features list also remains a bright spot, since Kia has only increased the amount of stuff you can cram into this relatively diminutive car. And in a sign of modern priorities, power locks and windows might not be standard, but Bluetooth, satellite radio and an iPod interface are.
Boasting a striking design and a modern interior, Kia introduced its first-ever two door coupe in 2010. Based on the KOUP concept vehicle that debuted at the 2008 New York International Auto Show, the Forte Koup features a performance-inspired look that is aggressive and sleek. It is 2.4 inches lower, 2.0 inches shorter and 0.4 inches narrower than its sedan sibling, but with the same wheelbase.
The Forte Koup provides comfortable seating for up to five passengers. The Kia two-door’s lowered stance provides better aerodynamics for a more exciting and spirited ride with a highly competitive drag coefficient (Cd) of 0.31 and aerodynamic lift coefficient (Ci) of just 0.21.
For 2013, upgrades and enhancements include: new 16-inch wheel design, LED daytime running lights (standard for SX), standard power folding outside mirrors, standard washer fluid warning lamp, and new Crimson Red and Metallic Bronze exterior colors (replacing Spicy Red and Metal Bronze).
Offered in EX and SX trim levels, base power for the Forte Koup is generated by a 2.0L four-cylinder engine that features Continuously Variable Valve Timing (CVVT) and multi-port electronic fuel injection. The SX model features a responsive 2.4L four-cylinder engine, also with CVVT. Torque is communicated to the pavement through a six-speed manual gearbox or available six-speed automatic transmission with Sportmatic. The Kia-engineered body achieves high torsional stiffness giving Forte Koup taut, responsive handling, a smoother ride quality and greater refinement than its competitors.
Built on a lightweight, hydro-formed subframe, Koup’s front suspension employs MacPherson struts similar to the sedan, but with wider L-shaped lower arms for enhanced high-speed stability and an increased caster angle, which provides greater self-centering and a sharper steering feel while driving. The SX trim also comes with a sport-tuned suspension set to provide a firmer ride with reduced body roll and improved handling.
On the inside, the Forte is simple and no-nonsense, with a look that's not trend-setting but certainly impressive as well as stylish, featuring a host of standard interior 'goodies', beginning with supportive, nicely appointed sport seats outfitted with more aggressive bolsters on the seat cushion and seat back for optimal comfort. Additional standard equipment on all Koup models includes air conditioning, power windows, power door locks with remote keyless entry, cruise control with steering wheel-mounted controls, a driver’s seat height adjuster, adjustable rear seat headrests, tilt steering column, rear defroster, center console with dual cup holders and storage area, dual map lamps with ceiling-mounted, drop-down sunglasses holder and variable intermittent windshield wipers.
The SX model offers additional standard touches such as: unique sport cloth seats with vibrant red stitching, a tilt and telescoping steering column, speaker lights, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, metal pedals and metal finish trim. Both EX and SX trims also offer an optional power sunroof with tilt.
A Supervision™ gauge cluster with trip computer, standard on SX models, further enhances Koup’s energetic personality with its red-hued glow and message display shown at the bottom of the cluster. This display includes information on distance to empty, engine coolant temperature, elapsed time, door-open alerts, fuel consumption, average mpg and instantaneous mpg.
Dimensions & specifications
Wheelbase: 104.3; overall length: 176.4; width: 69.5; height: 55.1
All vehicle measurements are in inches
Engine: 2.0L four-cylinder – 156 hp at 6,200 rpm and 144 lbs-ft of torque at 4,300 rpm; 2.4L four-cylinder – 173 hp at 6,000 rpm and 168 lbs-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm
Transmission: six-speed manual, six-speed automatic.
EPA Fuel Economy: 2.0L four-cylinder – 24 city/33 hwy. (manual), 25 city/34 hwy. (automatic); 2.4L four-cylinder – 22 city/32 hwy. (manual), 23 city/31 hwy. (automatic)
Cargo capacity: 12.6 cubic feet
Dual front airbags, front seat mounted-side impact airbags, dual side curtain airbags, four-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock, electronic brake force distribution, brake assist, traction control, electronic stability control, tire pressure monitoring system, Bluetooth hands-free phone system, side-impact door beams, and remote keyless entry. SX adds front fog lights.
Optional safety features include navigation system with rear camera display, push-button start with Smart key, HomeLink universal transceiver, and remote engine start.
Basic: 5-year/60,000 mile
Powertrain: 10-year/100,000 mile
Corrosion: 5-year/100,000 mile
Roadside Assistance: 5-year/60,000 mile 24-hour
The base Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the 2013 Kia Forte Koup two-door starts from $17,400 for the EX manual up to $19,800 for the SX automatic. Destination charges add $775.