Cars.com's Mike Hanley takes a look at the 2011 Kia Forte.
<v Announcer>Cars.com auto review. Hi, I'm Mike Hanley with Cars.com. Fuel efficiency is a big focus these days for car shoppers, and the 2011 Kia Forte is one model that might meet your needs.
Kia has improved its fuel economy for the 2011 model year, and this is a car that offers a lot of unexpected standard features for the money. The Forte's exterior styling's pretty unchanged from last year, and I still like it, it's got an athletic look to it. But what is changed is that it now comes with an available six-speed automatic transmission. And with the base two-liter four cylinder, gas mileage is now rated at 26 miles per gallon in the city and 36 on the highway. And that's a bump of a couple MPG from the prior four-speed automatic that it used to have. Cabin quality is a little bit of a step down from the Elantra, but I think it's still okay for this segment. And what I like about what Kia has done with the interior of the Forte is that all the controls are really familiar and easy to use, whether it's the air conditioning system, or the audio system, which includes standard Bluetooth and USB inputs so you can connect your MP3 player really easily in this car. The Forte's more traditional shape gives backseat passengers more headroom than a car like the Hyundai Elantra offers. And if you haven't been shopping in this space for a while, you might be surprised at how accommodating a compact car has become. So I'm just over six feet tall in height, and even though there's not a lot of extra space for me in the backseat, it's comfortable enough for a short trip. The Forte's trunk is generously sized. It's big enough for a couple golf bags or a load of groceries. And unlike some competitors, it comes standard with a 60-40 split folding back seat when you need even more space. Redesigned competitors like the Ford Focus offer a better driving experience than the Kia Forte, but that doesn't take away from this car's value proposition, as it offers a host of standard features, a long warranty, and it's also an IIHS Top Safety Pick. (upbeat music) <v Announcer>For more car related news, go to Cars.com or our blog KickingTires.net.