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2013 Kia Forte Overview

Zac Estrada
Automotive Editor - January 6, 2013

The Forte starts with the LX trim level. It gets a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 156 horsepower mated to a standard six-speed manual transmission or optional six-speed automatic. Also included is a split-folding rear seat, air conditioning, 15-inch wheels, power mirrors, Bluetooth and a four-speaker audio system with USB input. The EX adds power windows and locks with remote keyless entry, trip computer and six-speaker audio system. The more premium SX adds a stronger 2.4-liter four-cylinder with 173 horsepower. It also includes 17-inch alloy wheels, sports suspension, sporty interior trim and paddle shifters. Optional features include keyless entry and start, navigation, backup camera and an Eco Package on the EX that adds styling and gearing tweaks to improve fuel economy.

The Hyundai Elantra has more exciting styling and gets the same fuel economy on all trim levels, but its engine isn't as strong at the SX's and can be noisy at speed. The Ford Focus has better in-car technology and is better to drive, but can be very expensive. The Toyota Corolla is inexpensive and reliable, but is less refined and doesn't get good fuel economy for the class. The Volkswagen Jetta offers lots of engine options, including an efficient turbodiesel, and has more rear seat room, but has an cheap interior on some trim levels.

While the Forte doesn't particularly stand out in any area, it's a competent car that will please buyers who want something comfortable and efficient for a good price. The SX model adds a dose of performance that some cars in this category lack and there's a long list of advanced optional features that should interest those who want phone and audio capabilities. Especially for budget-minded consumers, the Forte is worth a look.

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