When we first tested Kia’s five-door-hatch version of the Forte (there are also sedan and coupe, ahem, Koup variants), we were critical of its maker’s claim that the car was “ultra hot,” noting that a 7.5-second 0–60 run doesn’t qualify for hot-hatch status.
2015 Black Kia Forte5, …THE FLOOD ADVISORY CONTINUES FOR THE FOLLOWING RIVER… MISSOURI RIVER NEAR BLAIR AFFECTING HARRISON…POTTAWATTAMIE AND WASHINGTON COUNTIES. MISSOURI RIVER AT OMAHA AFFECTING. – News from www.omaha.com –
That car had a manual six-speed manual transmission. Now we’ve tested a six-speed automatic, and it got to 60 mph in just 6.4 seconds, only 0.3 slower than our long-term Ford Focus ST took, and we don’t question the ST’s hot-hatch credentials at all. That a modern automatic can accelerate more quickly than even an expertly shifted manual equivalent doesn’t come as a shock to us anymore, but a full second?
Shaving 1.1 second off the launch time would seem worth the $1000 Kia charges for the automatic, which offers manual gear selection via big paddles behind the steering-wheel rim, but hold on a bit. The stick-shift car showed fewer than 1000 miles on its odometer while this automatic had nearly 3700 miles of experience when it went to the track. Perhaps part of the performance difference can be attributed to a tight 1.6-liter turbocharged four in the manual-transmission car, one not as fully broken-in as was the automatic version?
Comparing curb weights, the similarly (but not identically) equipped automatic car was 69 pounds heavier. The ordering process here is pretty simple: To get the turbo engine, you need to skip the $1200 cheaper EX and choose the SX trim. It starts at $21,700. Add $1K for the automatic, then opt for this example’s $2200 Premium package, which includes a sunroof, leather trim, heated seats (also ventilated and 10-way power adjustable for the driver), a heated steering wheel rim, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. And you must get all that before you’re allowed to add another $1800 for the Technology package on this car, including navigation, HID projector-beam headlamps, a color TFT display in the instrument binnacle, and dual-zone automatic climate control. Throw in $495 for push-button starting and remote start, and you’re looking at $27,195 all-in. Complete review on www.caranddriver.com, by KEVIN A. WILSON