2010 Kia Forte

2010 Kia Forte

Episode 2851
Lucas Oil "Keep That Engine Alive"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.



  • 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
2023 BMW X7 Driving

2023 BMW X7

Should Keep The BMW Faithful Coming Back For More

Episode 4238
Lucas Oil "Keep That Engine Alive"Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

While BMW got serious about their SUV game around the same time as most other luxury brands, it took them until just a few years ago to deliver a 3-row example. This year, that X7 is updated with new style and new tech. So, let’s see if that makes it the ultimate premium 3-row family machine.

When it comes to utility vehicles, bigger seems to be better for a lot of people. So, for BMW, there’s none bigger or better than the X7 3-row utility, which for 2023 gets a comprehensive update after just 4-years on the market. That includes a facelift to bring it more in line with the new 7-series carline, which is to say joins the more vertical, aggressive grille party. Also, the actual headlights have been moved lower in the front fascia, with squinty DRLs above for the first time on a BMW. In back, taillights take on a 3D posture, with a new chrome bar connecting them.

There are also multiple new M Sport packages to choose from to spice up the exterior, with larger air intakes up front, high-gloss black trim, upgraded exhaust, cascade grille lighting, and 22-inch wheels, as well as M Sport brakes…

…and the interior too, with aluminum trim and exclusive steering wheel. But, by far the biggest change inside for ‘23 is a new dashtop curved display that eliminates the typical BMW well-hooded gauge pod and blends 12-inch Live Cockpit Pro into the 15-inch infotainment touchscreen, which now features iDrive8. Both a Head-Up Display and a large panoramic sunroof are standard.

2023 BMW X7 Interior Dashboard

Whether set up for 2 or 3 passengers, 2nd row seat room remains plentiful, and though the X7 doesn’t look ungainly large like many of its competitors, access to the 3rd row is quite good. Cargo space is reached through a fairly unique, Range Rover-style, split tailgate, which is quite oddly satisfying to watch unfold. There’s room for 48.6 cubic-ft. of goods behind the 2nd row, with a max of 90.4 cu.-ft.

The base xDrive40i has always been the sensible choice, even more so now with a new inline-6 turbo getting a significant bump in horsepower from 335 to 375, and a 48-volt mild-hybrid system that results in a total of 398 lb-ft. of torque.

At our Mason Dixon test track, there was enough to blast this big beast to 60 in just 5.4-seconds. That’s only about half a second slower than the V8 did the deed back in 2019. Making that optional 523-horsepower V8 simply overkill at this point. Our best ¼-mile pass was 13.9-seconds at 100 miles-per-hour. All X7s get a quick shifting sport-tuned 8-speed automatic transmission, which adds a new Sprint Function that finds the lowest usable gear instantly and maxes electric boost with a hold of the left shift paddle. What fun!

New looks and updated tech are cool, but BMW has also addressed dynamics as well, with a retuning of all chassis systems, including the optional Dynamic Handling Package which adds adaptive suspension with roll stabilization and uses GPS and camera data to prepare for what’s coming. We’re not sure if our slalom course was anticipated, but the X7 sure felt well-equipped to handle it. All-wheel drive is standard on all X7s, along with comprehensive drive modes.

In our braking runs, the pads bit down hard quickly, stopping us from 60 in just 115-feet with very little nosedive.

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Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the 6-cylinder are 21-City, 25-Highway, and 22-Combined. We averaged just 21.0 miles-per-gallon on Premium.

There’s an average Energy Impact Score; 13.5-barrels of oil yearly, with CO2 emissions of 6.5-tons.

Pricing starts at $78,845, and it’s a significant step up from there to $104,095 if you want the V8. Even more reason to stick with the 6-cylinder as far as we’re concerned.

It took the ultimate driving machine folks quite a bit of time to enter the 3-row family crossover segment, but when they did, they were able to create their largest utility ever and keep it consistent with their values. For 2023, the BMW X7 gets even more dynamic, embraces new tech, and looks better too. All things that should keep the BMW faithful coming back for more.


  • Engine: I-6
  • Horsepower: 375
  • 0-60 mph: 5.4 seconds
  • 60-0 Braking: 115 feet (avg)
  • MW Fuel Economy: 21.0 MPG
  • Transmission: 8-speed automatic
  • Torque: 398 lb-ft.
  • 1/4 Mile: 13.9-seconds at 100 mph
  • EPA: 21 City / 25 Highway / 22 Combined