2011 Kia Forte EX 5-Door Review & Test Drive


The all-new 2011 Kia Forte EX 5-door hatchback adds more flexibility and functionality to the value, technology, safety features and comfort already found in the Kia Forte compact 4-door sedan.  Joining the Forte line with the same sleek styling and multitude of features as its sedan sibling, the all-new 2011 Forte 5-door offers consumers an added level of flexibility for everyday needs with its functional hatchback.

With aggressive design cues, the Forte 5-door hatchback firmly establishes itself as a strong contender against the competition in this growing segment of the marketplace.  Sporting a bold look set apart by crisp lines, swept-back headlamps, a sleek profile and rounded rear to increase cargo capacity, space and functionality, Forte’s wide stance conveys motion while cruising the highway or parked in the driveway.

From the front and side, the Forte 5-door hatchback projects a clean and assertive presence with sweeping window arches, smooth fender flares and body-color side mirrors and door handles.  Turn signal indicators are integrated into the side mirrors adding to the upscale appearance.  The tasteful design cues are effortlessly streamlined to the rear with angled wrapped tail lamps and an uncluttered rear fascia.  The rear hatch glass comes standard with a top-mounted spoiler to enhance rear downforce and with a wiper and washer to help with rearward visibility while driving in the rain.

With a wheelbase of 104.3 inches, an overall width of 69.9 inches and an overall height of 57.5 inches, the Ford 5-door offers comfortable seating for up to five passengers.  The Kia engineered body achieves high torsional stiffness giving the car taut, responsive handling, a smoother ride quality and greater refinement that its competitors, with specially tuned, Kia-developed suspension adjusted perfectly for responsive handling on S-turn roads.  Additional refinements are fitted throughout to help ensure a comfortable ride with good noise, vibration and harshness reduction qualities.

These attributes are made possible because this front-wheel-drive unibody structure employs an independent front suspension with MacPherson struts, coil springs, monotube gas-charged shocks and a stabilizer bar.  The rear suspension setup features a torsion beam, coil springs and monotube gas-charged shocks.  This combination helps provide the optimal balance of handling and comfort.  An engine-speed-sensitive, power-assisted rack & pinion steering system adds the finishing touch for precise handling, feel for the road and by providing the most advantageous amount of assist for varying road conditions and speed.

Quickly and safely slowing the all-new Kia Forte hatchback EX down from speed are large power-assisted four-wheel steel disc brakes.  Up front are 11 inch vented discs clamped with dual-piston calipers and 10.3 inch solid discs clamped with single-piston calipers in the rear.  Your braking control during severe stopping maneuvers are enhanced with standard ABS, EBD, BA, Traction Control, and Electronic Stability Control.

The Kia Forte hatchback EX rides on 16X6 inch alloy wheels wrapped with 205/55R16 inch all-season radial tires for a smooth ride and excellent grip on dry or wet pavement.

Moving inside, the all-new Forte hatchback boasts a spacious 97.5 of cubic feet of passenger volume.  Driver and passengers have an impressive 40 inches of headroom and 43.3 inches of legroom in the front seats and 38.4 inches and 35 inches of legroom in the rear seats.  The cargo space behind the rear seats in the hatchback is a generous 19.4 cu.ft., perfect for luggage and weekend getaways or around-town grocery shopping.

Capitalizing on the spacious interior, the Forte 5-door makes every effort to incorporate style and function, starting with a crisp, high-visibility center stack and a driver-oriented three-gauge cluster exuding a stylish red glow.  Pampering owners further, the EX 5-door offer a host of standard interior features staring with comfortable, nicely appointed full cloth bucket seats, a six-way adjustable driver’s seat, tilt steering wheel, rear defroster, dual 12-volt power outlets in the center console, power windows/door locks, remote keyless entry, A/C, dual map lights, steering wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls, tweeter speakers included with the AM-FM-CD/MP3 audio system with six-speakers, dual front and rear pull-down cupholders, Bluetooth wireless technology, USB/auxiliary input jacks, dual power sideview mirrors, center console with armrest and storage bin, outside temperature display, thick cut-pile carpeting with front/rear floor mats, grab handles above each passenger door, dual vanity mirrors, underfloor storage compartments in the cargo area, and storage slots in each door.

Options installed in my 5-door EX model included a power sunroof and the EX technology package with a navigation system, push button start/stop, automatic temperature control, foglamps, auto headlamps and chrome finished outside door handles.

The Forte 5-door EX is powered by a 2.0 liter DOHC four-cylinder engine producing a healthy 156hp at 6,200rpm and 144lb.ft. of torque at 4,300rpm, that features continuously variable valve timing (CVVT), and multi-port electronic fuel injection, both of which provide for greater performance and fuel economy.  This small potent engine is matted to a six speed manual or six-speed automatic with Sportmatic manual shifting coming standard in the EX model.  This six-speed automatic transmission is a propriety design for Kia Motors that was engineered and built specifically for Kia vehicles.  It pulls strong and smooth at all shift points.

The all-new Kia Forte 5-door offers an exceptional level of standard safety features including front active headrests, dual advanced front airbags, front seat-mounted and side curtain airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, side impact door beams, front and rear crumple zones, 5-3-point safety belts with front pretensioners/load limiters and a tire pressure monitoring system.

The all-new 2011 Kia Forte EX 5-door is hard to beat in the growing compact 5-door sportwagon segment today.  It is nicely styled, has a good amount of power and high ride quality with an exceptional interior that pays attention to detail with many standard features you would have to pay for in most of the competition.  Most of all it is priced right with a base that starts at only $17,895.00.




  • Price: Base Forte 5-door hatchback $16,895 / As-Tested $17,895
  • Engine: 2.0-liter 4-cylinder 156 horsepower @ 6200 rpm / 144 ft-lbs. torque @ 4300 rpm
  • Transmission: 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic with Sportmatic manual shifting
  • Wheelbase: 104.3in.
  • Total length: 170.9in.
  • Total width: 69.9in.
  • Total height: 57.5in.
  • Track: f/r-61.3/61.6in.
  • Ground clearance: 5.9in.
  • Headroom: f/r-40/38.4in.
  • Legroom: f/r-43.3/35in.
  • Interior volume: 97.5cu.ft.
  • Cargo volume behind second-row-19.4cu.ft.
  • Turning circle: 33.9ft.
  • Curb weight: 2,340lbs. automatic
  • EPA mileage: 26mpg/city, 36mpg/highway