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2011 Kia Forte

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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
8.7
Out of 10

Based on 236 Ratings for the 2010 - 2013 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.9/10
    Quality
    8.6/10
  • Reliability
    9.2/10
    Performance
    8.6/10
  • Comfort
    8.5/10
    Styling
    9.0/10

Best car I have owned so far

By on Monday, March 14, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 113,000

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
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "looks, mileage, value, dependability"

Cons: "suspension"

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

"This has been an amazing car. Not one problem at 113,000 miles. The styling and value are why I bought this car and it has not disappointed. Great on the highway and has plenty of power. Still looks new and gets great mileage. Everything has held up well and I hope to keep it another 100k miles. The only thing I would work on is the suspension. You will know when you hit a bump. So far, this is by far the best car I have ever owned!!"

11 people out of 17 found this review helpful

Excellent reliability

By on Friday, February 26, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 110,000

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
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Price and performance exceeded my expectations"

Cons: "Navigation unavailable on this model at sale time"

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

"For a compact car, it does everything well, overall performance and handling was better than I expected, and steering fade is nearly non existent. Decent acceleration and power as well as good gas mileage for an economy car. Braking felt like a sports car. I would definitely buy another one. This car now has over 100 thousand miles on it and it still looks and behaves like a new car. I bought my Forte new from the dealer. Nissan, Honda, and Toyota's comparable models were all priced higher with the same option packages when I shopped them before buying the KIA, and it turns out I made the best choice."

7 people out of 12 found this review helpful

Good Reliable Transportation

By on Monday, December 28, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,400

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great MPG, smooth engine and tranny"

Cons: "Suspension"

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

"I just purchased this 2011 Kia Forte EX Hatchback and have been very please with my purchase. If you're looking for economical, reliable and comfortable transportation you can't go wrong with the Kia Forte. I got 35 MPG on the trip from Cleveland to Atlanta after purchasing the vehicle (for those of you who complain about the gas mileage on the Forte, it's either your driving habits or there is something wrong with your particular car; they're all built the same and if you're not getting 35+ MPG on the highway and 28+ MPG in the city you may want to take a look at how you drive or have the Kia dealership check your vehicle). The only complaint is the suspension on the EX model; it's a bit rough over bumps and somewhat bouncy. I'm going to put some better tires on my car (currently has mediocre Goodyears) and hope it improves, but I'm not optimistic that will make a whole lot of difference. I would opt for the SX model which has a sport tuned suspension if you have the option (I didn't with a used car). I will look at some aftermarket solutions to fix it. The engine and transmission are silky smooth and the interior is basic yet very functional. All in all an excellent car for the money and you won't be disappointed if you buy one."

12 people out of 17 found this review helpful

Very reliable. Excellant for what my needs are.

By on Wednesday, November 25, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 28,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Dependable"

Cons: "Disappointed in gas mileage & rubber trim"

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

"Have car 4 years. Very dependable. Replaced battery after 4 years and tires. Use car on a local basis. Gas mileage for my type of driving is 22 mpg. South Florida climate is warm, roads are good. How car would react to winter?? Probably better than me. Maintenance.. 2 oil changes a year,rotated tires. Could not be happier. Goes from point A to point B. Only negative is rubber molding has looks of wear and discoloring."

13 people out of 26 found this review helpful

Very nice vehicle

By on Wednesday, November 4, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 90,300

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Nice car for the price."

Cons: "I wish it had auto-dimming mirrow."

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

Lil' Red

"This is one of my favorite vehicles I have owned. I would not hesitate to buy another Kia or Hyundai."

15 people out of 29 found this review helpful

Lil' Red

epic car, wonderful to drive, very comfortable

By on Saturday, August 8, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 35,000

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: "safe, secure, reliable"

Cons: "racing red color"

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

"This car is great on the road, very fun to drive and is incredibly good looking. I have absolutely loved having it and have not had a single problem with it."

17 people out of 35 found this review helpful

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