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First Test: 2011 Kia Forte SX five-door


The Angelenos we encountered couldn't get enough of Kia's newest hatchback, the Forte SX. Dog walkers and people dining streetside peered and pointed at this people-mover. For a few seconds, their foreheads wrinkled and their eyes widened in wonder, trying to put a badge to the form.

Only a few hatchbacks today priced under $25,000 can compete with the Forte five-door's well-proportioned physique. Its nose, garnished with a trademark Kia family grille and large badge, carries over from the sharp-looking sedan, as do the chiseled front shoulders. The all-new rump had many staffers thinking it hailed from Ingolstadt, which isn't surprising given the sculptor, Peter Schreyer, who penned numerous Audis.

 The cabin is an appropriate match for the modern and attractive exterior. Within its confines are soft, black-colored plastics and rubbery trim pieces. Features include power everything, 60/40 folding seats, Bluetooth connectivity, faux metal accents, and paddle shifters. A full barrage of airbags and safety systems spoil passengers.

Our tester had a power sunroof ($750) and SX technology package ($1800) with navigation, push-button start, and chrome door handles. We especially liked the twin power outlets set below the climate controls; when toting multiple passengers playing with multiple electronic toys, they proved crucial. Simply put, this $23,000 (and change) Kia packed all the goods.

(Source)


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