Packed Cabin

But what the Forte five-door lacks in dynamic refinement is perhaps made up for with creature comforts. Starting at $19,090, the five-door Forte SX has everything from the $17,590 EX—including power windows and locks, keyless entry, a six-speaker stereo, and cruise control—while piling on SX-specific gauges, a telescoping steering wheel, “metal finish” interior accents, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. On our car, the automatic transmission added $1000 to the tab, as did the optional Leather package, which extends cowhide to the seating surfaces and adds front seat heaters. The $1800 Tech package encompasses a reasonably intuitive, voice-activated touchscreen navigation/infotainment system, as well as automatic headlamps, keyless start, and chrome door handles. Our car’s final option was a $750 sunroof, bringing the grand total to a semireasonable $23,640. It must be said, though, that one can get into any number of decently equipped mid-size family sedans for the same money.

But against its main competitor, the Kia lives up to its reputation for value: a comparably equipped Mazda 3 hatch runs $26,440. Is the Mazda’s masterfully tuned chassis worth almost three grand? Likely not for your everyday compact-hatchback customer, especially if his or her shopping comparisons are limited to equipment rundowns. Factor in Kia’s superstar warranty, and the Forte hatch’s on-paper advantage grows, which should make life for Kia salesmen a little easier. Still, if you’re someone who loves to drive, the 3 is the way to go. In that department, this Kia is close, but not quite there.

    See also:

    Keys
    Record your key number The key code number is stamped on the bar code tag attached to the key set. Should you lose your keys, this number will enable an authorized KIA dealer to duplicate the ...

    Trunk
    Outside the vehicle • To open the trunk, insert the key into the lock and turn it to the right (clockwise). • To close the trunk, use both hands to push the trunk lid down. Check to see if ...

    Overloading
    CAUTION - Vehicle weight The gross axle weight rating (GAWR) and the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) for your vehicle are on the manufacturer's label attached to the driver's door. Exceeding ...