2018 Kia Forte Review

2018 Kia Forte - The 2018 Kia Forte5 SX combines style, good performance and roominess.


Price: $26,000

The slick-looking 2018 Forte5 SX is
fun to drive and spoils occupants with an upscale interior and plenty of
standard equipment. But city fuel economy should be

compact Forte is a four-door hatchback with above-average occupant
roominess and a large cargo area, especially with the rear setbacks
flipped forward. The hatch raises on twin struts to reveal a low, wide
cargo opening.

There are lower-priced Forte models
with less power, but I tested the top line turbocharged SX with a
six-speed manual transmission, although an automatic is available. Might
as well have some fun in such a sporty car.

Forte5 SX's smooth turbocharged 1.6-liter 201-horsepower four-cylinder
works well with the manual, which has short, crisp throws. However, the
slight separation between first and third gears occasionally led me to
kill the engine when starting out because it's easy to mistake first and
third gears. Also, a driver must get used to an extra-long clutch
throw. This isn't a car in which to teach a new driver how to use a
stick shift.  

I found the Forte5 SX
accelerates best during highway passing in fourth gear, although you can
just downshift to fifth if you're not in a hurry when passing. Third
gear is best for in-town use. The Forte SX moves out quickly in first
gear and has good highway performance. Even fast acceleration doesn't
cause more than a mild drone from the smooth engine. I detected no turbo

Estimated fuel economy of the Forte5 SX with
the manual is only so-so at 23 miles per gallon for a compact car
although the highway figures is decent at 29.

The front-drive Forte5 SX acts much like a
small sports sedan, with fast accurate steering that has decent road
feel. Electronic stability and traction control and a sport-tuned
suspension, along with a vehicle stability management system, keep the
body flat when snaking through curves. The supple suspension soaks
up  road imperfections without jolting occupants, and the
anti-lock brakes stop the Forte5 SX quickly and

The Forte5 SX has prominent chromed dual
exhaust outlets. And a red stripe across the lower front of my Phantom
Gray test car added a discreet racy touch. The car has a front end with a
somewhat rakish dip, like the fast, classic 1960s Studebaker Avanti.
There's a power sunroof with a shade, and outside mirrors with
turn-signal indicators fold against the side glass to prevent parking
lot damage.

My test car's quiet interior was
definitely upscale, with red stitching on its black interior and
soft-touch materials. The heated and ventilated front seats were
leather-trimmed, and controls were laid out for easy use. The
tilt/telescopic steering wheel had controls for audio and cruise control
systems, and there was a push-button start, navigation system and handy
controls for the dual-zone automatic climate control. The touch screen
could be easily used, with little driver distraction needed.

The power driver's seat provided good lateral
support, and standard comfort and convenience features included power
windows, locks and outside mirrors with turn signal indicators folded
flat against side window glass to prevent damage in parking areas.
Cupholders were conveniently placed, and there were plenty of storage

While the hatch raises on struts, plenty of
muscle is needed to lift up the heavy hood, which is held open with a
prop rod.

Safety items include dual front air bags
and full-length side curtain air bags, besides lower anchors and tethers
for children.

The solidly built 2018 Kia Forte SX
has good doses of practicality and sportiness, and its lively
performance partially makes up for its lack of better city fuel

Dan Jedlicka

Dan Jedlicka's Website

Dan Jedlicka joined the Chicago Sun-Times in February 1968 as a business news reporter and was named auto editor later that year. He has reviewed more than 4,000 new vehicles for the Sun-Times--far more than any newspaper auto writer in the country. Jedlicka also reviewed vehicles for Microsoft Corp.'s MSN Autos Internet site from January, 1996, to June, 2008.

Jedlicka remained auto editor at the Sun-Times until October, 2008, and continued writing for the newspaper's AutoTimes section, which he started in 1992, until February, 2009. While continuing his auto writings at the Sun-Times, he served as assistant financial editor of that newspaper from 1970 to 1973, when he began his automotive column.

He has appeared on numerous radio and television shows, including NBC's "Today," ABC's "20/20" and "The CBS Evening News." He was a host, consultant and writer for Fox-TV Channel 32's 1991 New Car Preview show and that Chicago-based station's 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1995 Chicago Auto Show Previews.

Jedlicka's auto articles have been printed in national magazines, including Esquire and Harper's. His auto columns have been reprinted in U.S. government publications and economic textbooks and he is profiled in the "World's Greatest Auto Show" history book about the Chicago Auto Show. In late 1975, Jedlicka was host and technical advisor for three one-hour television specials, "Auto Test 76," which aired nationally on PBS and were the first nationally televised auto road test shows.

In 1995, Jedlicka was the recipient of the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois Inc.'s Consumer Education Award, given annually to a person who has gained distinction in the field of consumer education. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award in the Media category and inducted into the Legends of Motorsports Guild at the Carquest World of wheels custom car show in Chicago in January, 2006.

Jedlicka was a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year jury, composed of a select number of auto journalists from throughout the country, from 1995 until 2009. From 2010 to 2012, he was a member of Consumer Digest magazine's auto experts panel that gave Best Buy new vehicle recommendations.

He is a 1987 graduate of the Bob Bondurant Race Drivers School and later of the BMW "M" and Skip Barber Advanced Driving schools. He was a member of the U.S. team that participated in the 1987 1,000-mile Mille Miglia race/rally in Italy and has been a race winner at the Chicago area's Santa Fe Speedway.

Jedlicka has owned 25 classic cars, including 1950s and 1960s Ferraris and 1950s and 1960s Porsches, a 1965 Corvette, a 1967 Maserati and a 1957 Studebaker supercharged Golden Hawk. Jedlicka resides with his wife, Suzanne, in the Frank Lloyd Wright historic district of Oak Park. They have two children, James and Michele.

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