Handling: Capable but Not Quite There

As noted in our prior drives of the SX sedan, the Forte’s chassis isn’t tuned for serenity. The hatchback’s MacPherson-strut front and torsion-beam rear suspension, combined with 17-inch wheels and low-profile, 215/45-series tires, is set up for friskiness, and body motions are well controlled. The steering offers decent feedback, proving relatively satisfying during spirited runs on back roads, although its off-center quickness requires a lot of course corrections to maintain a straight line on the highway. Overall ride quality is decidedly firm and accompanied by unpleasant resonant booming.

As with its acceleration times, the Forte hatch’s maximum lateral grip came in just shy of the sedan’s, at 0.83 g versus 0.85. At 184 feet from 70 mph, this test example took 11 more feet to stop than did the SX sedan, despite the brakes’ early-onset grabbiness. That touchiness, combined with the aggressive throttle and darty steering, means both manual and automatic versions of the Forte are a little tough to drive smoothly. So while all of that immediacy does impart a sporty character to the Forte, it is ultimately less polished and less satisfying to drive than the Mazda 3 five-door, which only challenges a driver’s smoothness with manual models’ numb clutch takeup.

    See also:

    Refinement
    The levels of noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) in the Magentis's cabin are particularly low, thanks to a studied programme of measures. These include sound-proofing foam in hollow sections of ...

    Emission control system
    The emission control system of your vehicle is covered by a written limited warranty. Please see the warranty information contained in the Owner’s Handbook & Warranty Information booklet in ...

    Brake fluid
    Checking the brake fluid level Check the fluid level in the reservoir periodically. The fluid level should be between MAX and MIN marks on the side of the reservoir. Before removing the reservo ...