2010 Kia Forte

2010 Kia Forte

Episode 2851
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

Ever since Hyundai acquired rival Kia, it’s been a full throttle effort to transform the Korean brand’s image from a maker of inexpensive, basic use vehicles, to a high quality, mainstream mark. But their latest effort, the compact Forte, goes head-to-head against industry benchmarks Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic. While the Forte is clearly the most handsome Kia small car ever, it needs more than looks to stay in this race.

The all-new 2010 Forte is a breath of fresh air for the Kia lineup, and simply saying it replaces the generic Spectra would grossly underrate its potential impact.

Available now in a Sedan and Koup, with a “K”, its slightly edgy, American-sourced styling strikes a richer stance than any other Asian mass market small car.

The front-end of our test Forte Sedan, with its flared headlamps, smart-looking grille, and clam shell hood, does have a passing resemblance to the Honda Civic.

But, the well drawn character lines, and up swept side glass, give the Forte Sedan a sharp profile that is its own, and 15, 16, and 17-inch wheels and tires, along with a beefy rear-end, with wrapped and sectioned taillamp housings, cement the image of a well built small sedan.

The front drive Forte finds power from two variable timing I4s. LX and EX trim use a 2.0-liter with 156 horsepower and 144 pound-feet of torque.  Our SX sports a 2.4-liter with 173 horsepower and 168 pound-feet of torque. That beats the Toyota Corolla XRS.

A five-speed manual is standard, with an optional four-speed automatic for LX and EX trim. The SX starts with a 6-speed manual, with a 5-speed automatic on our car.

Even with more power, Government Fuel Economy ratings for our SX are class competitive at 23 city/31 highway using regular gas.  We managed an okay 27.6 miles per gallon in real world driving.

The Forte’s Energy Impact Score is 13.2 barrels of oil consumed per year, with a concise Carbon Footprint of 7.1 annual tons of CO2 emitted.

But, that car will be more sluggish than our SX which still needed 8.9 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 60, finishing the quarter mile in 16.8 seconds at 84 miles per hour. Off the line, the Forte felt energetic, with a good hookup, and steady power build. But the pace was hurt by slow shifts. And, while Kia engines have come a long way, our car’s 2.4 was still buzzier and less refined than top rivals.

Ride and handling show even more improvement. The Forte’s front strut and rear torsion beam suspension adds standard Electronic Stability and Traction control. A high value plus over most rivals.

And it showed. Through the cones our car felt very solid, with no flexy or flimsy feel. Steering is nicely responsive. Front push does come on quickly, so Forte is not as nimble or fun-to-drive as the all-independent Civic. But, it gets through with less body roll.

On more typical pavement, we found the Forte’s ride to be more sophisticated than we expected as well. Not soft, but not stiff either. Here, the Forte is more akin to the Corolla XRS.

The Forte’s Brakes are well above class average. Four-wheel discs with standard ABS and Brake Assist. Hard stops proved short at only 122 feet from 60. Stability was great. The pedal could have more feel but that’s a nit-pick.

The Forte’s cabin matches the exterior. It’s far more inviting than the Spectra, with a Civic and Corolla beating 96.8 cubic feet of passenger space.

The dash design is a toned-down version of the Kia Soul, with its overlapping gauges and boogey-board shaped center stack.

Seats are comfortable and well formed with leather an option on our top-level SX, which also included a tilt/telescoping steering wheel.

Forte standard equipment includes six airbags, a CD/MP3/satellite radio, USB port, and Bluetooth. But, air conditioning is an option on the LX.

The rear seats offer decent legroom - even for a six footer - as well as a standard 60/40 split folding feature which extends an already highly useful 14.7 cubic foot trunk. 

Pricing for the Kia Forte starts at $14,390 for the LX. That’s over $1700 less than the less well equipped Corolla and Civic. The spread widens with the mid-level Forte EX at $16,490, and top-tier SX at $17,890. And all Fortes come with Kia’s 10 year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty.

Wow. We knew going in the 2010 Forte to be a generational improvement in Kia small cars. But, to be a serious alternative to the Civic and Corolla is packaging, power and economy, ride and handling, and style, is a surprise. But then Kia has been surprising us for years, and the compact Forte is just their latest tour to force.

 

Specifications

  • Engine: Sx 2.4-Liter
  • Horsepower: 173
  • Torque: 168 Lb Feet
  • 0-60 MPH: 8.9 Seconds
  • 1/4 Mile: 16.8 Seconds @ 84 MPH
  • 60-0 MPH: 122 Feet
  • EPA: 23 MPG City/ 31 MPG Highway
  • Mixed Loop: 27.6 MPG
  • Energy Impact: 13.2 Barrels Oil/Yr
  • CO2 Emissions: 7.1 Tons/Yr
2024 Mercedes AMG GLA35

2024 Mercedes-AMG GLA 35

Baby AMG SUV Brings The Performance

Episode 4336
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

Back in 2015, buying an AMG-tuned utility vehicle was not unheard of, but finding one as affordable as the then-new AMG GLA 45 was an entirely new phenomenon. Since then, they’ve only enhanced their AMG profile, so let’s check in with the latest Mercedes-AMG GLA 35 and see if we can keep up.

A quick look at the Mercedes-Benz lineup reveals they currently have more than a dozen SUVs for sale, most of which can get some level of high-performance AMG treatment. This 2024 Mercedes-AMG GLA 35 is the least expensive one you can buy, but it certainly doesn’t feel, look, or behave like a budget ride.

Styling updates are mostly limited to a new front fascia, though both head and taillights get freshened up, and there are some new wheel designs, plus a unique AMG crest on the hood for the first time. The base Mercedes-Benz GLA also gets updated, just with a much milder theme for those that are looking more for the luxurious experience instead of the AMG’s sporty theme.

Inside, drivers can take in all the carbon fiber accents, as well as put their hands on a new AMG Performance steering wheel. Mercedes has gotten rid of the touchpad controller on the center console and put a much more practical phone charger in its place, as well as added an additional USB-C port with faster charging speed. The touchscreen shares its housing with the 10-inch digital instrument cluster.

The GLA 35’s 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 has been retuned by AMG for 302 horsepower and 295 lb-ft. of torque with 48-volt mild-hybrid assistance. It’s the same setup found in the CLA 35 four-door Coupe we recently tested. The base GLA 250 makes do with 221 horsepower from its 2.0-liter turbo-4. The GLA 35 comes strictly with an eight-speed automatic transmission and AMG-tuned 4MATIC all-wheel drive.

At our test track, with AMG Race Start engaged, we hooked and booked to 60 in just 4.9-seconds despite a slight hesitation in full power delivery off the line. It launched hard even without Race Start, and the engine strongly pulled all the way down the track. Shifts were plenty quick, yet still very smooth, as while we could barely feel when they were happening, the bassy bark from the exhaust gave us a much-appreciated audible cue. Our best quarter-mile run was a 13.5 at 102 miles-per-hour.

As for handling, it was easy-peasy for this AMG. We were able to carry quite a bit of speed through our cone course with very minimal body roll and a planted feel that had us pushing harder and harder until we got it to step out on us just a little.

You can get into a base front-wheel-drive GLA for as little as $43,000, but this AMG 35 will cost you at least $57,600.

When we hear things like “the best or nothing at all,” we tend to dismiss it as Mercedes marketing speak, but that was actually a quote going all the way back to Gottlieb Daimler in the late 1800s prior to his firm joining up with Karl Benz’s. And, for the most part, it’s still the philosophy behind Mercedes-Benz today. And you can certainly feel it behind the wheel of the 2024 Mercedes-AMG GLA 35.

Specifications

As Tested

  • Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged I4
  • Horsepower: 302
  • 0-60 mph: 4.9 seconds
  • 60-0 Braking: 112 feet (avg)
  • MW Fuel Economy: 27.6 MPG (Premium)
  • Transmission: 8-speed automatic
  • Torque: 295 lb-ft.
  • 1/4 Mile: 13.5 seconds at 102 mph
  • EPA: 22 City | 28 Highway | 24 Combined