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2011 Kia Forte

Overview
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2011 Kia Forte Review

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Kia has been working hard to bring its small cars up to the standards set by Honda, Nissan and Toyota. Unfortunately for the Big Three of Japan, the Korean car maker has already met or exceeded many of its own goals and shows now sign of resting. Need proof? Behold the 2011 Kia Forte. With styling that is far more daring than the new Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla or Nissan Sentra, the Forte certainly has plenty of youth appeal. And, with three variants (sedan, five-door and a stunning little coupe) the 2011 Kia Forte has all the bases covered. While not as advanced as the Ford Focus, the Kia Forte is also not as pricey, with a fully-loaded sedan topping out around $25,000. And, while the Forte's handling still has some ground to cover to play on the same field as the Mazda3 or Volkswagen Jetta, most owners will find the balance of ride, acceleration and handling more than sufficient. Improved build quality, better resale and elevated consumer perception have also helped Kia move into the mainstream, but in the case of the Forte, its low price, generous content level and impressive powertrain warranty are still the best reasons to buy this car.

You'll Like This Car If...

If the 2011 Kia Forte's sharp looks, tech-savvy suite of electronic goodies and low sticker price aren't enough to seal the deal, its great fuel economy and 10-year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty certainly will.

You May Not Like This Car If...

While it certainly has the looks that say performance coupe/sedan/wagon, the 2011 Kia Forte's suspension isn't quite up to the levels set by the Mazda Mazda3, Mitsubishi Lancer or Volkswagen Jetta.

What's New for 2011

Two six-speed transmission choices are new for 2011: a six-speed manual and a six-speed Sportmatic automatic with manual shift mode. A new navigation radio is offered on the mid-level EX and top-level SX trims, while a five-door model joins the Forte Sedan and Koup.

Driving the Forte

Driving Impressions From a driver's standpoint, the 2011 Kia Forte feels right at home on long stretches of highway, but push it hard in the curves and the suspensions limitations quickly become...

apparent. While the Forte doesn't break free from the challenges put before it, it doesn't feel as buttoned down as a Mazda3 or VW Jetta. What's missing is that harmonious connection between the steering, the transmission and pedal feel, something Kia is getting better at, but still has a way to go. We'd also gladly sacrifice some of the SX trim's ample horsepower for a tad more low-end torque and better off-the-line acceleration. Still, under normal driving situations and even slightly sporty ones, the 2011 Kia Forte feels pretty darn stable. On the open road, the Forte is quiet and comfortable, with very little wind, engine or road noise making its way into the cabin. About the only real complaint we can find has to do with the larger-than-average blind spot that can make backing out of parking spaces a bit dicey. We suggest the optional navigation system with its rear backup camera as a remedy.
Favorite Features

Comprehensive Audio System
Every 2011 Kia Forte boasts a flexible AM/FM/CD/MP3/Satellite audio system with USB and auxiliary ports. When matched with the upgraded speakers, it's among the best sound systems in the segment.

Bluetooth
An option reserved for most high-end models, Kia makes Bluetooth connectivity standard on every 2011 Kia Forte.

2011 Kia Forte Details
Interior

It's no longer good enough to offer a flashy exterior without an equally appealing interior. After all, we do spend the majority of our time inside the car looking out. Kia seems to have gotten the message, abandoning its drab interiors and cheap plastics for a higher quality finish and a dash design peppered with funky shapes, tasteful silver-accented trim pieces and cool colored lighting. The 2011 Kia Forte's interior is huge for this class, offering almost as much interior volume as a Nissan Maxima. Such a large trunk is another surprise in the compact-car arena and one more reason the 2011 Kia Forte impresses us. We applaud the standard Bluetooth connectivity and iPod integration, but feel as though a bit more attention could be paid to the seats, which lack support for the lower back and thighs.

Exterior

Comedian Billy Crystal once famously quipped "It is better to look good than to feel good." In the case of the 2011 Kia Forte, you get a little bit of both. With styling that truly stands out from the compact-car pack, the Forte, especially in coupe form, is a head turner. From its signature Kia grille/headlamp combination to the bold character line the extends from below the side mirror to flow rearward as if drawn by the wind, the 2011 Kia Forte really is a little piece of rolling automotive art. Up-level trims add even more distinction with such items as sport side mirrors with integrated turn signals, a rear spoiler and an available body kit. But, even the base LX trim shuns the poor-man stigma so commonly associated with entry-level models, providing color-keyed mirrors and door handles, and attractively styled wheel covers.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Kia is proud to boast that even the most basic 2011 Kia Forte includes Bluetooth phone connectivity, iPod integration, an AM/FM/CD/MP3/SIRIUSXM four-speaker stereo, color-keyed manual side mirrors, 60/40 split rear seat with folding armrest, a tilt steering wheel, and an impressive array of safety equipment including six airbags, and electronic traction and stability control. Unfortunately, if you want such simple pleasures as power windows, remote keyless entry or cruise control, you'll have to pony up a bit more cash and move up to the EX or SX trims. Here you'll find a six-speaker AM/FM/MP3/SIRIUSXM audio head unit, heated power side mirrors, and a tilt-telescopic steering wheel. Unique to the SX's standard equipment list are 17-inch alloy wheels, a sport suspension, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and sport-fabric seats. The Koup (yes, that's how Kia spells "coupe") models feature standard 16- or 17-inch alloy wheels.

Optional Equipment

Options for the 2011 Kia Forte are limited to the EX and SX trims and include a number of packages as well as some standalone features. The Forte EX offers a Premium Package that adds alloy wheels and a power sunroof, as well as a Technology Package that includes navigation with SIRIUS real-time traffic updates, a rear backup camera, automatic climate control, smart-key entry with push-button start, fog lights and automatic headlamps. The Forte SX offers the same package without the fog lights and auto-on headlamps, since both of these are already standard on the SX. Other options for the SX trim include leather seating surfaces, heated front seats, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

Under the Hood

The front-wheel-drive Kia Forte offers a 156-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that can be matched with a six-speed manual or six-speed Sportmatic automatic transmission. On top-line, sport-tuned SX trims the standard engine is a 173-horsepower, 2.4-liter engine. The 2011 Forte's new automatic transmission has a manual shift mode and is standard on SX and EX Sedan and Five-door models, and available on the Koup. The mid-trim EX is also offered with a Fuel Economy Package that includes the five-speed automatic plus Motor Drive Power Steering, a load-managing "smart" alternator, low-rolling-resistance tires and unique aero enhancements to boost its EPA numbers to 27/37 mpg and deliver class-leading city/highway combined fuel economy of 30 miles per gallon.

2.0-liter in-line 4
156 horsepower @ 6200 rpm (SULEV: 154 @ 6200)
144 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4300 rpm (SULEV: 139 @ 4600)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 26/36 (automatic), 25/34 (manual), 27/37 (Economy Package),

2.4-liter in-line 4 (Forte SX)
173 horsepower @ 6000 rpm (SULEV: 165 @ 6000)
168 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm (SULEV: 161 @ 4000)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/32 (automatic), 22/32 (manual)

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2011 Kia Forte Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.6
Out of 10

Based on 190 Ratings for the 2010 - 2013 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.0/10
    Quality
    8.6/10
  • Reliability
    9.1/10
    Performance
    8.6/10
  • Comfort
    8.6/10
    Styling
    8.9/10

Exceeds Expectations and Then Some

By on Tuesday, March 04, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 56,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Price, features, warranty, stylish,"

Cons: "Honestly don't have any complaints"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I sold my Ford Explorer for a more gas efficient car in 2009. I looked at all types of sedans, and settled on the first edition KIA Forte. I was a bit hesitant as some would say that they wouldn't trust KIA. I did a lot of background research and all signs pointed to a revamped, high quality, high value car. Over 4 years in, that is exactly how I feel about it. My brother bought one as well. Neither of us has had any problems with it. It is a terrific value in my opinion and beats other more expensive cars in style and features. Plus I'm 6'1 and it has a lot of leg room. LOVE IT!"

9 people out of 12 found this review helpful

Best Value for first car

By on Monday, January 27, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 64,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Fun to Drive, Price, Value"

Cons: "Road Noise"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This car was a great choice for my true "First Car" I am the first owner and very happy with the quality and value of my Kia Forte Koup"

Great little car, very sporty and peppy!

By on Monday, December 30, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I have owned this car for a year now, and have driven it to Florida twice in one year. The ride is very comfortable, and it handles great! Seats are comfortable for me but because of low ceiling a taller person may find the car "cramped". Overall this cars quality and value are excellent in my opinion, and you get more bang for the buck with this car. Lots of accessories and technology come with this car. Id buy it again if I had to do it again."

5 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Great value

By on Wednesday, December 25, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 60,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Affordable, great standard features,"

Cons: "Plastic doors scratch easily on interior"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"You get a lot of bang for your buck with the Forte! It comes standard with Bluetooth, great gas mileage, a great sound system, nice stow away spots for things like sunglasses and 4 cup holders in front (and two in back), with a spacious interior and trunk. It looks great inside and looks like the Audi's did in the late 2000's because the designer from Audi moved over to Kia. It drives very well and is sporty and fun. All around great vehicle and I don't think you can find anything better for the price tag."

5 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Good Car for the money - Kia is still improving

By on Tuesday, December 03, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 87,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
4/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "Fun to drive and looks sporty"

Cons: "Gas mileage is not as rated"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6

"This was the first Year for this KIA model. Overall its a good car, but have seen too many little issues become apparent over time. I think in the four years since I have owned this model KIA has done many improvements. I would recommend this car as a first time car and would buy another if the price was still below other marketed equivalent models."

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

Very solid car ...

By on Wednesday, November 06, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 63,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"It looks good inside and out, pretty quality materials, roomy, convenient, great reliability. My only knock is I want more power in my engine and a quieter ride (get rid of the road noise). Very efficient fuel wise. I like the Forte now just give me more power and the quieter ride and we are all good."

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?