2017 Kia Forte5 Review: Don’t You Forget About Me

– Detroit, Michigan

There’s no shortage of great cars in the compact hatchback class these days. The Honda Civic is seriously impressive. The Mazda3 is incredibly fun to drive. Subaru’s Impreza has a fresh face and standard all-wheel drive.

That in mind, it’s easy to overlook cars like the Kia Forte5. Despite its recent refresh in early 2016, the five-door Forte has never really been a standout player in the class. But after a drive in the turbocharged SX model, I think this little guy deserves its turn in the spotlight. It’s really quite good.

 

 

Pros

Great engine. While other Forte5 models use naturally aspirated four-cylinder engines, the SX trim gets a punchy turbo-four, with 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. That actually makes it the most powerful car amongst its competitive set, putting it closer to Honda Civic Si or Hyundai Elantra Sport territory. It’s not the most fuel-efficient option in the segment, only getting 29 miles per gallon highway with the manual transmission, but...

It’s pretty fun to drive. Don’t get me wrong, you won’t be going GTI hunting in your Forte5 SX, but the Kia moves with decidedly more verve than many of its competitors. The chassis doesn’t punish you for throwing the car into a bend, and the steering is light and direct in action, though it could use a touch more feedback. Even the six-speed manual gearbox is a delight, with precise action of the gearbox and a nicely weighted clutch.

Everything you want at a price you’ll like. Th...