Built on a unibody frame, the 2010 Forte offers an independent front suspension, with MacPherson struts and a stabilizer bar, and a torsion beam rear suspension with struts and coil springs. This combination provides an optimal balance of handling and comfort not normally found in a compact sedan.
The 2010 Forte is available in three trims: the base LX, the mid-level EX and the sporty SX. The LX and EX come standard with a 2.0L 4-cylinder engine that delivers 156 horsepower at 6200 rpm and 144 pounds-feet of torque at 4300 rpm. Both trims come standard with a 5-speed manual or an optional 4-speed automatic transmission. The sporty SX has a 2.4L 4-cylinder engine that makes 173 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 168 pounds-feet of torque at 4000 rpm. A 6-speed manual transmission is standard on the SX while a 5-speed automatic is available. Manual shift modes are standard on all automatic transmissions. All trims are front-wheel drive.
Standard safety equipment includes active front headrests, advanced 2-stage airbags (front seat-mounted and side curtain airbags), 4-wheel antilock disc brakes, electronic stability control, traction control, and a tire pressure monitoring system.
A Fuel Economy package is available for the EX's 2.0L engine and 5-speed automatic transmission combination. It utilizes Kia's Motor Drive electric power steering system and low-rolling resistance tires as well as some body kit to boost the Forte's fuel economy rating to 27 mpg city and 36 mpg highway.
All trims come standard with Bluetooth, Sirius Satellite Radio, auxiliary input jack, steering wheel audio controls and voice activation. The EX adds air conditioning and power accessories. The SX adds fog lamps, upgraded upholstery and trim, 17-inch alloy tires, rear spoiler and a sport-tuned suspension that gives the chassis a firmer feel and responsiveness. Also standard on the SX is a telescoping steering column and sport cloth seats adorned with red stitching.
A Convenience Package, which includes air conditioning, is available for the base LX. Other options available on the EX and SX include a power sunroof and leather seats.
Intended as the replacement for the Kia Spectra, the brand new Kia Forte presents a new set of styling cues for Kia, suggesting clean European lines that are both sporty and upscale. Kia has endowed the Forte with a long list of uplevel standard features, intending it to compete with the established Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla.