Rises to the challenge
SX models utilize the same suspension hardware as other models, but are “sport tuned.” It also features more aggressive 17-inch tires. This ultimately proved great fun for the driver in our family –áme – but not so great for those not behind the wheel. All of my passengers noticed the firm ride, and had to tell me about it, especially on rough roads.
The driver also gets to partake of the nice, fat leather-wrapped steering wheel, decent road feel, and an over-achieving accelerator pedal. Other Forte models feature the 2.0-litre four with 156 hp and 144 lb-ft of torque, but the SX models are exclusively equipped with the 2.4-litre engine, featuring dual continuously variable valve timing – good for 173 horses and 168 torques.
This is the well-known Theta world engine, co-developed with Chrysler and Mitsubishi. It’s used effectively in lots of mid-size cars and has noooo problem propelling the smaller and lighter Forte.
The speed-sensitive, electric power steering feels nicely weighted, expect for a little weird spot right off centre. Our tester came with a 6-speed automatic transmission, with paddle shifters, which shifted professionally and unobtrusively.
The powertrain nets the Forte SX a fuel economy rating of 9.0 L/100km city and 6.2 L/100km highway.
All and all a great drive.
Forte features a very well laid-out cockpit. Dials are large and legible, and nothing is too fussy or too small. The navigation system was easy to, well, navigate. Our teenagers appreciated the AUX and USB inputs for the stereo as well as the dual 12-volt power outlets. I appreciated the big chrome dead pedal.
You can only get leather seats if you go all the way up to the SX model, where they are standard. They proved very comfortable for a long run into Ontario’s cottage country, and feature real stitching – and red, no less.
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2011 Kia Forte Specifications
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