By Bill Roebuck
The compact 2010 Kia Forte (pronounced for-tay) replaces the Spectra sedan. Redesigned inside and out, it boasts a new, sporty front end with a wide bumper. Slim four-bulb headlamps are covered with a clear lens with a black aluminum bezel for a high-tech look. Overall, the design is clean and sleek. Three trim levels are being offered: LX, EX and SX.
The Forte’s high-tech look continues on the interior, with a symmetrical, high-visibility display. A stylistically enhanced, three-spoke steering wheel features built-in multi device controllers on the spokes for ease of operation. There’s seating room for five passengers and 416 L of cargo space.
Power in the base LX model comes from a four-cylinder, 2.0-L DOHC engine producing 156 hp. It’s mated to a CVT (continuously variable transmission). The SX gets a 2.4-L inline-four delivering 173 hp, which can be selected with a six-speed manual transmission for extra sportiness.
The front-wheel-drive Forte has an independent front suspension with MacPherson struts and a stabilizer bar, and a torsion beam rear suspension with struts and coil springs.
Active front headrests are standard, as are dual front airbags, curtain airbags and side airbags, and four-wheel disc brakes with ABS.