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2015 Kia Forte5

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 5/1/2015 Stefan Ogbac

New for 2015

The 2015 Kia Forte5 no longer has UVO eServices Telematics and a rearview camera as standard equipment in the EX model. They are now part of an optional package called the EX UVO Package.

Vehicle Summary

The 2015 Kia Forte5 is the four-door hatchback variant of the Kia Forte range and is available with a 2.0-liter I-4 rated at 173 hp and 154 lb-ft of torque in the EX variant or a turbocharged 1.6-liter I-4 with 201 hp and 195 lb-ft in the SX grade. A six-speed manual and automatic transmission are available in the SX while the EX is only available with the latter. Fuel economy is slightly below average for the compact hatchback class at 25/33 mpg city/highway for the EX and 21/29 mpg for the SX.

Overview

Thanks to its hatchback body style, the 2015 Kia Forte5 is highly practical with plenty of cargo room at 23.2 cubic feet with the split-folding rear seats up and 56.4 cubic feet with them down. Fit and finish is also a strong point with excellent build quality and materials inside the car. There are also plenty of standard and optional features including a user-friendly UVO infotainment and telematics system, a rearview camera, power-folding side mirrors, navigation, Bluetooth connectivity, and heated front and rear seats.

Driving dynamics have been improved over the previous generation and make the car entertaining to drive. While it isn't as sporty as competitors such as the Mazda3 and Ford Focus, the car rides well and doesn't feel harsh over less than perfect road surfaces. The FlexSteer adjustable steering, however, doesn't help improve feel since there isn't much of a difference between Comfort, Normal, and Sport modes.

The 2015 Forte5 has a four-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA (out of a possible five stars). In IIHS evaluations, the car received a good score on three categories and marginal in the small overlap front test. (Good is the highest possible score.)

What We Think

Since its refresh for the 2014 model year, the 2015 Kia Forte5 continues to offer plenty of available equipment and a great balance of ride and handling in a practical hatchback package. In a comparison test among five hatchbacks, we said that the Forte5 "intermingled lateral dexterity and daily driving competence with a fairly muted interior," and "handled itself well when twisties beckon." The optional turbo-four provides plenty of power for passing and merging maneuvers, and is available with a long list of features that are "almost unheard of in this segment." In that comparison, the Forte5 placed third, below the Volkswagen Golf and Mazda3, but above the Hyundai Elantra GT and Ford Focus.

However, in a First Test review, we noted that steering feel remains a weak point even with the three-mode FlexSteer system since there's not much feedback coming from the front tires.

You'll Like

  • Cavernous interior
  • User-friendly infotainment system
  • Nicely balanced ride and handling

You Won't Like

  • Fuel economy could be better
  • FlexSteer doesn't really improve the car's steering feel
  • Less than optimal safety scores

Key Competitors

  • Mazda3
  • Ford Focus
  • Volkswagen Golf
  • Hyundai Elantra GT
  • Subaru Impreza

Rating

3 star

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