The Kia Forte5 offers enhancements as one of the best cars for 2018 – and especially so in the SX trim. What makes the Forte5 SX different from its Forte siblings is its 201-horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 195 lb.-ft. of torque.
The 2018 version now comes with a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission with a manual shift mode. A 6-speed manual gearbox also is available. As important, the SX is equipped with a full load of modern safety, convenience and comfort features that would do justice to a luxury car.
The power, relatively light weight and the snap-shifting dual-clutch automatic transmission combine to deliver sprightly acceleration. Zero-to-60 mph arrives in about 6 seconds. All of this arrives in a tidy package weighing 3,123 pounds and delivering fuel consumption of 25 city/30 highway.
From the outside, the Forte5 presents a handsome hatchback profile with sharp lines, distinct front and rear bumpers with fog lights, the alloy wheels, glossy black outside mirrors and chrome dual exhaust pipes.
What is most endearing for buyers who are impressed by value and comfort as well as performance, is that my fully loaded test car came with a bottom-line sticker price of $28,295, about $6,000 less than the average price of a new car in these times.
The starting price was $24,695, which included full basic safety equipment, rear-view camera, a sport-tuned suspension system, faster steering, bigger front brakes, 18-inch alloy wheels, pushbutton starting, SXM satellite radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth connectivity, leather upholstery and heated front seats.
The Forte5 SX with the dual-clutch automatic transmission has a starting price of $2,200 less than the model with the six-speed manual gearbox. However, the manual version comes with more standard equipment, though it doesn’t include such things as blind-spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert.
The interior design is handsome and welcoming, with good fit and finish, and comes with leather seats with contrasting piping. At the top of the center stack, the 7-inch touchscreen that controls audio, navigation and other functions is a model of simplicity, intuitive and easy to use without extensive learning and frustration.
Front seats provide decent support and comfort. Outboard back seats provide plenty of head and knee room for average-sized adults.
There’s 23 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seatbacks, which is nearly double that of some compact sedans. Fold the seatbacks and the cargo area more than doubles to 56 cubic feet. There’s no spare wheel and tire under the cargo floor; the Forte5 uses a pump and repair kit.
On the road, the Forte5 SX acquits itself well against even some purpose-built sports sedans and hatchbacks. This SX trims is sporty in its own right with nicely weighted steering. Most drivers will find its supple ride a great daily driver.