A couple of years ago, the main selling point of Korean cars was the price. Things have changed and from the stylish Optima to the edgy Soul, Kia is a powerful concurrent/competitor for Honda and Mazda as well.
While the Forte’s five door of the SX became more powerful, the Mazda 3 falls just a bit short.
On the aesthetic level, we don’t have many reasons to complain about. From the outside, the Forte’s handsome but upright hatchback profile had a few bystanders asking if it was a new mini-SUV. In contrast to the distinctively edgy Optima, the Forte seems to draw its visual inspiration from the likes of Civic and Mazda 3. It comes together as a pleasantly inoffensive design.
The interior that tries to mask its economy-car roots with sporty accented touches.
It’s all tastefully done and although the seats are a bit too flat and firm, they do provide adequate lateral support. The rear seats are spacious, but with the additional 4.7 cubic feet of storage space compared to the sedan, it’s a compact yet utilitarian ride.
With an athletic exterior profile, the Forte holds the road well. The six-speed automatic does a great job downshifting whenever extra punch is needed. In mixed but mostly highway driving, the Forte yielded a combined 25.5 mpg.
Considering that the Forte SX weaves in and out of traffic with ease, it does have its practical, real-world upsides and is quiet enough at highway speeds. Considering the six-speed manual version of the Forte SX is more than $1,500 cheaper than the base Mazda 3 being a great choice for those buyers who can’t afford an expensive car.