Korean automaker Kia has found much success in its compact Forte line, due to sedan and coupe body styles prized for its good looks, fun to drive capabilities and value. Knowing that it has a good thing going for it, Kia has rolled out a third body style, a five-door hatchback, just in time for the 2011 model year.
The latest Forte bridges what the sedan and coupe have to offer. With plenty of storage capacity and the good looks to go with it, the hatchback will likely make it difficult for shoppers to decide which Forte they want. Each body style offers distinct advantages although the hatchback just may provide a happy middle ground for shoppers.
Officially known as the Forte five-door, this body style features a new grille, alloy wheels, lower valence design, updated center console, paddle shifters, push-button start and navigation as well as the fifth-door for hatch compartment access. Otherwise, the five-door shares all other components and features of the coupe and sedan.
The Forte five-door is available with two four-cylinder engines: a 2.0-liter or a 2.4-liter; each of which can be paired with either a new six-speed manual or automatic transmission. Yes, Kia is attempting to one-up its competitors by offering transmission choices not common to this segment.
When asked about its aggressive marketing strategy including the release of eight new models in just two years, Michael Sprague, vice-president of Kia marketing offered, "We have been promoting the Kia brand evolution over the past few years and backed it up with dramatic gains in quality and value while adding world-class design every step of the way." Those changes haven't been lost on consumers as Kia along with Hyundai and Subaru were the only manufacturers to enjoy a sales gain for 2009 in the U.S.
Kia's generous warranty program provides industry best consumer protection. Included with this program are a 10-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty, a five-year/60,000-mile limited basic warranty and a five-year/100,000-mile anti-perforation warranty. A five-year/60,000-mile roadside assistance plan is also part of the vehicle coverage.
Yes, that means Kia believes in its product line and is backing it up with a warranty to match. With new cars in the mix, good value offered and a top-notch warranty, you may want to consider Kia especially its smart-looking Forte portfolio.
Matthew C. Keegan is a freelance writer who resides in North Carolina. Matt is a contributing writer for Andy's Auto Sport an aftermarket supplier of quality parts including tail lamps and lift kits.
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