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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Seeing as how I have been reading lots of reviews of the Forte online and all of them are from car magazine reviewers, I thought that I would do a "real world" review of my new Forte SX sedan.



I have had my Kia Forte SX sedan for exactly 1 week now and I have to say that I am enjoying this car far more than I had originally expected. I didn't actually have the luxury to test drive an SX model before committing to purchasing this beauty. I did test drive a Koup in the EX trim with a 5 speed manual transmission as that was all that my dealership had in stock. I was quite happy with the feel of the vehicle and the roominess of the interior seeing as I am 6'7" and do notice when a vehicle doesn't quite fit. The whole time I was driving the vehicle and checking out the features when I was back at the dealership I kept thinking about what the SX would be like in comparison. Obviously it was hard to picture how nice the leather would be and what the headroom might be like when you add a sunroof, but I was comfortable enough with how the EX was in the Koup that I went all in and signed away for a sedan in the SX (here in Canada we only have the one package when you buy the SX - leather, sunroof, auto climate control and the 2.4L engine).

Of course I did my research before buying by scouring the web for written reviews and video reviews on the Forte so I knew what features were on the vehicle and what the reviewers liked and disliked about the car. I was concerned about a couple of things that I read about. First off, the ride quality of the SX and the firm suspension. A few reviewers gave the SX poor grades on this and I had yet to feel it, so I was a bit concerned. The second concern was the manual 6 speed transmission. Some reviewers said it was too notchy and clunky a shift and the clutch was too sensitive causing one to stall it too often. Another concern, but having driven the 5 speed manual in the EX Koup I found that I really liked the clutch and shift on that.

After being blown away by the fantastic sales people at my local Kia dealership, and by all of the great incentives that they offered to get me into the car, I really thought that there had to be a let down somewhere and I was really hoping that it wouldn't be with the car. In the back of my mind I kept thinking that if I hate the car, the dealer will allow me to trade it in so it wasn't that big of a risk.

Finally my new car arrived at the dealership as they took a week and a half to get one in from another dealer in the 6 speed manual SX in the Titantium. Once I sat in it I could tell how nice the leather was and how well the car fit me. The ergonomics of the car were perfect. The stereo is at the right height, the instrument cluster is clearly visible, the turn signal and wipers were in the right place too. It all fit so well and were in the logical places so that you didn't have to hunt around for anything while you drove. Well done Kia!

Now I don't know what a lot of these reviewers would consider a firm or stiff ride, but I don't think that the SX is too firm or too stiff a ride. It has a very tight ride as it is sport tuned, but I love that feel. The steering is excellent and the car hugs the curves of the road. I do see what they mean about low end power being a bit lacking, but once you get the car above 3000 rpm, you can feel the power. I'm sure that is a good thing for gas consumption.

The shifting on the SX is very smooth, with the only issue being on a very cold day when you just start it up, the shifting can feel a bit clunky until the car warms up. That is very common on a cold engine though. The clutch is a bit sensitive and it can stall on most drivers the first few times you drive it, but it is something that is very easy to get used to. I now give it a bit of gas and let the clutch out a bit slower and it is a very smooth take off.

The Bluetooth handsfree feature is unbelievable when paired with my BlackBerry Curve. The voice recognition hasn't made a mistake yet and everyone says that I sound as clear as I would on any cellphone. Better yet, I can hear people on the other end very clearly. Kia has to be one of the best with their Bluetooth feature and the fact that it is standard equipment on all of their Forte models says something about the company. Most companies will only include Bluetooth if you get their top feature package or the only put it on their higher end cars. Kia is ahead of the game with this.

I could go on and on about the positives of this car (and there are so many) but you probably want to know what I feel are the negatives or things that Kia needs to work on with the Forte. Well, there aren't many at all. One thing that I was disappointed in was that considering all of the features on this car, they left out putting in a factory alarm (on the Canadian models). They did put in an engine immobilizer, so that if you don't have the key with the chip in it, you can't hotwire the car, but most cars have a car horn alarm that sounds if someone opens the door/trunk without the key or remote. This isn't on any of the Canadian models. I also wish that they had the ability to add on a Navigation package like their competition does. I hear that they will have this and an Infinity 9 speaker stereo upgrade option on future models, but for now there isn't anything. Lastly, for a sporty, 173hp/168lb-ft engine, this car should be much quicker, but as I mentioned before, they did want to focus on fuel economy so that's probably why they didn't put as much tire-smoking power in this car.

So that's my attempt at the layman's review by a layman. Hope it helps anyone that may be on the fence about buying this car. I know that I had a lot of questions/concerns before I bought but I have NO REGRETS after my decision. I will recommend this car to anyone that is looking for this type of car.

Let me know if you disagree with any part of my review and I'll be happy to backup what I've said. :D

JibbaJabba34
 

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DITTO!

That sounded a lot like the exact same process I went thorugh but ended up with an Electric Blue SX with the auto trans as my wife will be getting this car after 5 years.

I agree that even with the 2.4 you'd expect a quicker launch but you're right, the final gear ratio is all about economy and not performance.

I've had mine 4 weeks now and am appreciating more all the time.

Cheers.
 

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I agree that some reviewer tend to compare with higher level of vehicle they get to try. I'm glad to hear about your review Jibba, but I would like to add something else I would like to see available as an option. An upgrade Sound system like the Soul has but without the flashing lights LOL. Can't wait to pickup my car in 11 days.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Mike, are you sure that the Soul has an upgraded sound system from the Forte? I was in one and it had the exact same head unit. I think it was also a 6 speaker one and it also has the flashing lights on the speakers in the US (not in Canada). This would be the exact same setup as in the Forte Koup. I may be wrong as I didn't really look too hard at the Soul. Hopefully they will go with an optional upgrade of a 9 speaker Infinity system as I heard one Kia forum mentioning for next year.
 

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I agree that you appreciate this car more and more as you log the miles. I find the car to be a level above it's class in many respects. Regarding the bluetooth, I love it but I find when I'm on the highway some people have a hard time hearing me over the wind/road noise. This doesn't happen all the time but I think if the person on the other end is in a noisy area they can't hear me as well. In short, I think I come across clear but not as loud as if I was holding my phone. I have no trouble hearing anyone though and the system works fine with the voice recognition.
 

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This is what is available for the 4U Soul

Premium audio components (including centre dash-mounted speaker, cargo-mounted subwoofer and 315-watt external amplifier)

From the Canada side that is!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Wow! That is a nice stereo upgrade! The Forte's sounds good, but I'm sure it would sound a lot better with a stereo upgrade like the Soul has!
 
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