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$5,995 - $8,504
$15,200 - $19,600

Pros & Cons

  • Lots of available features when it was new
  • Ample cargo space
  • Uninspiring handling in base model
  • Road noise in cabin




Critics' Rating: 8.6
Performance: 7.5
Interior: 8.3
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.4
Safety: 9.0
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2012 Kia Forte Overview

The 2012 Kia Forte’s base four-cylinder engine has adequate power as a daily driver, reviewers said. A larger, more powerful four-cylinder engine is available, though some critics commented that it can be noisy at highway speeds. Several reviewers said the Forte’s standard six-speed manual transmission can be difficult to shift, while the available six-speed automatic is generally smooth, they noted. Equipped with an automatic transmission, the 2012 Forte gets an EPA-estimated 26/36 mpg city/highway, which is about average for the class. An available fuel economy package boosts the Forte’s fuel economy to 27/37 mpg. Test drivers wrote that the base Forte has vague steering, and that noticeable body lean in sharp curves makes it less fun to drive than athletic rivals like the 2012 Mazda3. The SX trim features a sport-tuned suspension that makes the Forte more nimble, they added. 

Reviewers said the 2012 Kia Forte’s cabin has an attractive layout and that interior materials are on par for the class. Several critics complained of engine and road noise inside the cabin. The 2012 Forte is available as a hatchback, sedan or coupe (Forte Koup). The front seats are set high and offer good visibility, test drivers wrote, and both the sedan and hatchback offer adequate head- and legroom in the rear. The coupe’s back seat is predictably tight, they added. The Forte sedan has a large trunk compared to rivals and the hatchback can also hold a good amount of cargo, especially with the seats folded. The 2012 Forte comes standard with Bluetooth, a four-speaker CD audio system with satellite radio and a USB port. Available features include power windows and door locks, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, cruise control, a power sunroof, leather seats, heated front seats, navigation, push-button start and automatic climate control. Auto writers reported that the 2012 Forte’s climate and audio controls are easy to use.

Other Cars to Consider

Test drivers praised the 2012 Subaru Impreza for its balanced handling and comfortable ride. Unlike most cars in the class, the Impreza comes standard with all-wheel drive. Reviewers also liked its sleek and spacious cabin and said there’s plenty of legroom in the back seat, which is high praise for a compact car.

Test drivers said the 2012 Chevrolet Cruze has a compliant ride and one of the quietest cabins in the class. They thought the Cruze’s quality materials make the interior feel upscale. The Cruze also has a larger trunk than many rival compact cars.

Compare the Forte, Impreza and Cruze »


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