Drive Time: Kia Forte winds way to Grand View
September 16, 2017
A slick-looking 2017 Kia Forte5 SX hatchback filled the need perfectly for an important drive Tuesday morning. Besides great styling, the Kia has a quick turbo and is very affordable.
We had given up a big Ford F-150 4X4 SuperCrew the day previously. With its powerful 3.5-liter V-6 EcoBoost engine and one of the first 10-speed automatic transmissions, the F-150 delivered Jan and me and our son Brent promptly to the Denver Press Club one night last week for the induction into the club's hall of fame of two friends from my working days at the Denver Post – former publisher Dean Singleton and sportswriter Irv Moss. Other new fame members honored were longtime 9News anchor Adele Arakawa, former Post photographer Craig F. Walker, TV journalist Greg Dobbs and the late Frances Foster, who wrote the Molly Mayfield column years ago in the Rocky Mountain News. My first visit to the press club was way back in January 1968 for dinner with the late Dave Hicks, a fellow newsman.
A growing slate of weekend home duties forestalled hopes for a Saturday drive out northeast to the New Raymer Car Show. My apologies to Arnie Fiscus, one of the organizers; maybe next year.
The Tuesday drive in the Kia was key, though. Brightening the hatchback's interior are leather seats trimmed in orange, with contrast stitching. Performance was fairly strong from a 201-horsepower, 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder and 6-speed manual transmission. It rides on Nexen P225/40R18 tires.
It took us out west, past numerous tall cornfields, and finally to a right turn onto Weld County Road 21, past a busy middle school, on up the road which looped around to Severance's Grand View Elementary School – it was Grandparents Day.
For Jan and me, it was "great," for we joined our great-granddaughter Presley, a second-grader, for school lunch. It was impressive that Presley and the other second-graders capably made choices of various food offerings and then were involved in cleanup and stacking of the food trays, all done quickly for lunch time lasted only 20 minutes. I thought back to Miss Moran's second-grade class at Wray many years ago, when this kid had time to walk home for lunch, eat, then walk leisurely with friends back to school.
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The Korean-built Kia is similar sized to the Ford Focus hatchback, a little longer than the Volkswagen Golf. The hatchback is 171.3 inches long, on a wheelbase of 106.3 inches, stands 57 inches in height and weighs in a 3,025 pounds.
Its manual transmission wasn't as smooth a shifter as some competitors in the compact field. It was quick enough, though, to enhance the power of the turboed engine. The power boost cuts average fuel mileage to 23/29 for the Forte SX; my overall average was 28.2. A cheaper version of the Kia Forte with a 147-hp, regular 2.0-liter 4-cylinder carries a much higher EPA rating of 29/38.
The front-wheel-drive SX is a good handler, yet rides a bit stiff from a sport-tuned suspension. Included in performance upgrades are larger front brakes.
Sticker price of $27,020 for the Kia also includes navigation, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated and cooled front seats, power sunroof, power windows/locks/mirrors, auto-dimming rearview mirror and dual exhaust tips. The Kia's audio sound is very good, with UVO/SiriusXM/Bluetooth.
— Bud Wells, a native of Wray, is a former Page 1 editor of the Denver Post and has reviewed automobiles for the past 40 years. He can be contacted at email@example.com.