Consumer Reviews Summary
22 of 25 (88%) customers said they would recommend this vehicle to a friend.
2012 Kia Forte Overview
The compact car segment is a crowded one, but the 2012 Kia Forte brings enough flexibility and value to the table to compete with the big boys.
Last year the Forte added a new five-door hatchback style to the mix which is back for 2012, along with the sedan. The Forte is also available as a coupe which is covered separately on this site under the model name “Forte Koup.” There are only slight changes for 2012; the EX trim now features a telescoping steering wheel and the hatchback is only available with the automatic transmission.
Speaking of the drivetrain, there are two engine options depending on trim level. The EX and LX trims feature a 156-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder while the sportier SX trim gets a larger 173-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder. Transmission options include a six-speed manual or automatic (the SX adds paddle shifters with the automatic), and the Forte is exclusively front-wheel drive. Fuel economy numbers are middle-of-the-pack for compact cars, at 25-27 mpg in the city and 36-37 mpg on the highway. The SX trim with the larger engine gets 23/32 mpg city/highway.
The Forte is not as much of a head turner as a few of the other recently designed compacts like the Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra, and Honda Civic, but what it lacks in dramatics is made up for with a sharp, clean look. The grille looks like it could be borrowed from the Optima midsize sedan (which is a good thing) and the headlights integrate seamlessly with the front fascia.
Opting for the five-door over the sedan will net you almost five extra cubic feet of cargo space (19.4 to 14.7 cubic feet), and a split-folding rear seat comes standard. The Forte is very well outfitted for a car in this price range, with standard features like Bluetooth® connectivity, USB/iPod and auxiliary input jacks, and air conditioning. If you want even more out of your Forte, choose from options like a navigation system with backup camera, push button start, and automatic climate control.
When it comes to safety, the Forte got an overall four-star rating from the NHTSA, while sedan versions of the Forte also won an IIHS Top Safety Pick award. Standard safety features include six airbags, antilock brakes, electronic stability and traction control, and LATCH child seating.
There are definitely many flavors to choose from among compact cars, but the 2012 Kia Forte deserves a long look. Its long list of standard features and low base price make it one of the best values on the road today.