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Quick Road Test: 2010 Kia Forte 2.4L SX

Hot on the heels of the well received Soul, Kia is reinvigorating it’s small car offerings by introducing the Forte. We take the new economical four-door for a spin.


  • Attractive, modern styling
  • Interior fit & finish is impressive
  • Audio system offers full iPod / USB / MP3 connectivity


  • Super sensitive manual transmission clutch
  • Throttle progression tuned for low end sensitivity, dull upper end
  • Flat sounding stereo didn’t match what we heard in the Soul

The Soul had shocked us so much the Forte had big shoes to fill when it arrived at our office.  We were impressed with the fit and finish of the car inside and out. Kia’s new steering wheel and switchgear feel really good. Leather, heated seats, and a sunroof for under $20k.

The same audio system interface from the Kia Soul made its way into the Forte- a very good thing. However, the trick LED lit speakers and thumping sound quality from the Soul did not.  We can’t complain though, as few automakers have audio interfaces that work this well.

We found issue with the manual transmission not feeling as smooth or predictable as we’d like. Often starting out from a stop we’d stall the engine, which bothered us considering we’ve never had that problem in other makes or models. We did not have the opportunity to test a Forte with the automatic transmission.

If you’re buying a Forte for fuel economy, go for the smaller 2.0L EX with the fuel economy package. You’ll get the 5-speed automatic and 36mpg on the highway.

The Forte is equipped comes with an impressive slew of safety features including traction control, abs brakes, front airbags, side mounted airbags, side-curtain airbags, active front headrests, and a tire pressure monitoring system.

Kia has come a very long way in the last few years. With it’s modern lines and refined interior, we’d take the Forte over a Toyota Corolla any day of the week.

As-tested specifications

Model: 2010 Kia Forte SX
Engine: 2.4L 16-valve DOHC CVVT four-cylinder – 173-horsepower,168-ft lbs of torque
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Suspension: Independent front, torsion beam rear
Tires: P217/45R17
EPA Fuel Economy: 22mpg City, 26mpg combined, 32mpg highway
Warranty: 10-year/100,000 mile powertrain, 5-year/60,000 bumper to bumper

Base Price: $17,195
Options: $1,600 (SX leather package, Sunroof)
Destination: $695
As Tested Price: $19,490

2010 Kia Forte Road Test Gallery