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:

    Special driving conditions
    Hazardous driving conditions When hazardous driving conditions are encountered such as water, snow, ice, mud, sand, or similar hazards, follow these suggestions: • Drive cautiously and allow ex ...

    Vehicle break-in process
    No special break-in period is needed. By following a few simple precautions for the first 1,000 km (600 miles) you may add to the performance, economy and life of your vehicle. • Do not race th ...

    Gauges
    Speedometer The speedometer indicates the forward speed of the vehicle. Tachometer The tachometer indicates the approximate number of engine revolutions per minute (rpm). Use the tachometer to ...