AUTO RECON: An Insider's Guide to New Cars & Trucks

  • 2016 KIA Forte EX 3:05

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​​2016 Kia Forte 5

The 2016 Kia Forte 5 is a hot little hatchback. Available in two trim levels (EX and SX), the Forte comes fairly well equipped including a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gearshift knob, rear camera display and remote keyless entry. The SX version gets LED rear combination lamps and push-button start with smart key.
 
Optional packages are available for both trim levels. The Premium Package adds a power sunroof, sport leather seat trim, 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat w/ lumbar support and heated front and rear seats. The Technology Package includes navigation system w/ HD Radio, supervision meter cluster with 4.2” TFT color LCD display and HID projector beam headlights.

The Forte looks sharp and sporty, especially the rear hatch on the SX, which comes with striking LED taillights and a dual port oval exhaust, each nestled on either side of a slightly over-sized rear diffuser. Power-folding heated mirrors come standard with integrated turn signals and puddle lights. The “sakura flower” design on the alloy wheels is very distinctive and the SX version bumps the wheels it up from 16 inches to 18 inches.

Under the hood is either a 2.0-liter, 173-hp, inline 4 in the EX or a turbocharged 1.6-liter GDI engine in the SX version. Strong and slick, the 201 horsepower turbo four-banger ratchets up the fun and excitement. The SX screams out for a stick shift. Sure, you could drop an extra grand for the automatic tranny, but the SX is so fun to drive, who would want it?

One complaint about the turbo engine: while the 24 miles per gallon average isn’t great for a 1.6-liter turbo engine, its need for premium fuel is frustrating since competitors’ turbocharged cars run on regular 87 octane.

Vital Stats:
Engine: 2.0L I4 (EX) or turbocharged 1.6L I4 (SX)
Performance: 173 HP (EX) or 201 HP (SX)
MPG: 24 city/34 hwy (EX) or 21 city/29 hwy (SX)
0-60: 7.5 seconds
Price as tested: $27,100

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