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Kia Forte5 SX: Powerful SX Trim Is Impressive Hatchback

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With an impressive 201-horsepower upgrade turbo engine and fitted with an equally nice dual-clutch automatic transmission with a manual shift mode, the new Forte5 SX is significantly different from its siblings in the Kia Forte stable.

The Forte5 SX is equipped with a full load of modern safety, convenience and comfort features that make it one of the surprises for the model year and one of the best cars for 2018.

Base Price

Buyers familiar with Kia’s brand of value are taken by the brand’s comfort as well as performance. The base 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.

My fully loaded tester came with a bottom-line sticker price of $28,295. 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.

Styling

I appreciate what the Forte5 delivers in terms of exterior style and the ability to set itself apart from a crowded field of milk toast offerings. This is hatchback profile with sharp lines and distinction – including front and rear bumpers with fog lights, alloy wheels, glossy black mirrors and chrome dual exhaust tips.

On the inside of the cabin you will find great fit and finish, outstanding quality soft-touch surfaces, leather seats with contrasting piping and safe surround of glass that delivers an open feel for the passengers.

Front seats provide excellent support and comfort for long trips and the rear seats provide plenty of head and knee room. 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.

For the driver, I appreciated the intuitive stack of controls under the 7-inch touchscreen. Look for audio, navigation and other functions with easy to operate designs.

Forte Performance

The Forte line is a part of Kia’s impressive lineup of compact sedans and hatchbacks. The South Korean manufacturer delivers the U.S. market the 2018 Forte5 SX as a distinctly different Forte choice.

From the ground up, the Forte5’s light curb weight, 3,123 pounds, and the snap-shifting dual-clutch automatic transmission combine to offer aggressive acceleration that is fun and worth trying out, as 0-60 mph arrives in about 6 seconds. Look for city/highway/combined fuel consumption of 25/30/27 mpg.

On the road, the Forte5 SX can hold its own with even some of the most purpose-built sports sedans and hatchbacks. This SX trims is the sporty superstar of the line that also doubles as a wonderfully satisfying daily driver.