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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.

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 220 Ratings for the 2010 - 2013 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.9/10
    Quality
    8.6/10
  • Reliability
    9.1/10
    Performance
    8.6/10
  • Comfort
    8.5/10
    Styling
    9.0/10

Kia is a surprisingly great product

By on Tuesday, April 21, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 80,000

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
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Excellent handling, peppier than expected, fun to"

Cons: "Head lamps replaced frequently"

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

"Lil Forte has more pep than expected and turned out to be a great purchase. The vehicle is highly dependable, great in varying weather elements, fabulous on fuel-which was great since I passed it on to newly licensed teen! Highly recommend this to anyone considering purchasing. We had to replace some headlights pretty frequently for a while, but that is the only minor issue we have had with the vehicle."

I love this car.

By on Sunday, April 05, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,000

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

Pros: "A remarkable 173 horse engine that's a blast."

Cons: "NONE"

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

"Everything about this car is perfection from the track to the paddle shifters this baby goes like a rocket and handles like a sports car. I haven't had this much fun behind the wheel in 50 years."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

love this car. nice for saving gas.

By on Friday, January 30, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 48,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "great mpg. low maintenance. great heat and a/c"

Cons: "wind moves it around."

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

"great car for commuting uncomfortable on long trips. I average 32 mpg in the summer but that drops to about 28 mpg when temps get under Gets under 10. Nice features inside. unbelievable fast heat! Not much road noise for a cheap car"

10 people out of 17 found this review helpful

Love it. Go KIA

By on Wednesday, January 14, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 76,000

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

Pros: "Very reliable, great price and fun to drive"

Cons: "no complaints"

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

"I have 2010 Kia Forte EX burgundy (aka Lola) paid cash for it 2months ago. I read all the reviews, I had my mechanic look at it, he said it passed all his tests. It is very fun to drive. My family loves it. Very spacious. I love the Bluetooth and extras on steering wheel. Surprised on big trunk and extra compartments. I get many compliments. Great on gas, I put $20 every 2 weeks. I drive every day, around town and out of town a few times. It drives great uphill, on bad roads and rain, no noise whatsoever. I am in Oregon and it definitely has passed all the tests here."

14 people out of 23 found this review helpful

Good and reliable car.

By on Monday, December 22, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 47,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Good price and solid performance."

Cons: "None"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"Mine was a nice car in metallic bronze/brown. No mechanical prob. other than that of my own doing(only a couple hundred bucks). Has a bit of power and solid daily driver. Want an SX for a bit of a sportier ride. We'll see."

12 people out of 17 found this review helpful

Nice looking, fast, but bad paint and ride.

By on Thursday, December 11, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 28,400

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
3/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "Fast, cheap to get, nice looking."

Cons: "Bad value retention, bad suspension, bad paint."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2

"Car is fast but very uncomfortable ride. I got for $12,373 on 10/2014 and now, 12/2014 has a trade in value of $8,521. So, I just have a loss of $3,852.30 in just about 40 days."

7 people out of 17 found this review helpful

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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?