And the moves?

Ride quality over the rough roads in downtown and rural roads was extremely well modulated, resulting in a relatively quiet ride. If anything, the low-profile 17-inch tires were guilty of allowing a certain road drone or buzziness into the cabin while on these same rough roads. Head onto smooth highway, and the car was as quiet as some costing three times the price.

Power is available from two different engines. The EX and LX are powered by a 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder, which manages to pump out 156-horsepower and 144 lb-ft. of torque. Look for mileage that the EPA claims hits 25 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway. The SX is motivated by the 2.4-liter engine, which is a relative of the mill used in its sporty corporate cousin, the Hyundai Genesis Coupe. Derived from a joint venture involving Hyundai, Chrysler and Mitsubishi, it’s an engine that tuners are already burning up the bandwidth over. Unlike the Genesis coupe, it is mounted transversely to drive the front wheels. Even with power output of 173 horsepower, and 168 lb-ft of torque, the EPA still puts its consumption at 23/31 mpg with the Sportmatic automatic transmission.

While driving back to the “world famous” Pike Street Market for our date with some Flying King Salmon, we encountered the aforementioned keepers of the speed. Apparently someone in state government has appointed certain citizens as hall monitors of Interstate 5. We agree that everyone needs a job, but we hope this is an unpaid position. Motorists would drive shoulder to shoulder at a fixed rate of speed, usually right at the posted speed limit. As a result, we were forced to make offensive moves when cars would move towards exit ramps to make any kind of headway on the limited access highway.

The 2.4-liter was up to the task. The hamsters, er, engine let you know that it was not happy when pressed but it did get up and go through the Sportshift gears when making passing maneuvers. We can’t say the same for the manual, which offered gummy takeup of the clutch and a rather vague feeling between the six gears. Like the Genesis coupe, the Forte could really stand to benefit from a better tranny with a short throw shifter. In addition, the yelp from an engine could sound like a growl with the addition of a cat-back exhaust system for the SX.

Ride quality from the front-mounted MacPherson struts and coil springs combined with torsion beams, coil springs and struts hanging from the rear made for a good ride. It’s not BMW-tight, but it does the job and actually accomplishes it in a fun-to-drive manner. The wide-berth that the Forte posses allows for tight cornering as well as the ability to make rapid but secure lane changes.

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