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#15

in 2012 Affordable Small Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $11,271 - $14,424
Original MSRP: $15,200 - $19,600
MPG: 25 City / 34 Hwy
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2012 Kia Forte Interior

This interior review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

If you’re looking for an affordable small car with plenty of well-made standard features, reviewers say the 2012 Kia Forte should be at the top of your list, right along with the Hyundai Elantra and Chevrolet Cruze.

  • "The overall cabin design is pleasing, and the build quality is very good." -- Automobile Magazine 
  • "Cabin materials are price appropriate, and everything is well assembled." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Fit and finish on our Forte EX was excellent. Interior ergonomics -- ease of sight and ease of use of gauges and controls -- were better than those found in many rival cars." -- Washington Post

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Seating

After testing the hatchback, coupe and sedan, test drivers find that interior space and comfort is typical of small cars. The front seats are comfortable, and most tall drivers won’t have issues with headroom or legroom. If you opt for a sunroof, reviewers say the slightly decreased headroom shouldn’t be an issue as long as the front seat isn’t raised too high. The back seat, however, isn’t as comfortable for adults when three people are squeezed there. The press suggests limiting the number of adult back seat passengers to two, though leg space may still be an issue for some. The Forte can be optioned with heated leather-trimmed front seats on the highest trim, but power-adjustable seats aren’t available.

  • "Front seats are generously bolstered, while the rear seats are what you'd expect in a compact coupe; roomy enough to carry two adults (Kia classifies it as a three-passenger rear) only on short trips." -- Motor Trend
  • "Hatchbacks have good legroom. Headroom is fine beneath the housing of the optional sunroof, provided you don't raise the seat too much. Most folks shouldn't need to, though, because Forte benefits from a tall seating position that aids visibility. … Headroom and legroom are adequate for most adults, even with the front seats adjusted far back. The rear bench is too narrow for comfortable three-abreast seating. Entry and exit are impeded by narrow door openings." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Kia touts the Forte as one of the roomiest compact sedans on the market, but in our initial testing we found that rear legroom is nonetheless a little tight for those with longer legs." -- Edmunds

Interior Features

As is the case with many Kia models, the Forte is jam-packed with a wide range of features that are optional in many competitors. The base sedan comes with satellite radio, USB and auxiliary audio jacks and Bluetooth. Reviewers also praise Kia for using high-quality fabrics, plastics and carpets that are better than what’s typically found in affordable small cars.

A navigation system that comes with a rearview camera is optional on the EX trim. Although it absorbs audio controls, reviewers think it is pretty easy to use.

  • "This has to be one of the most loaded small cars on the planet." -- The Detroit News
  • "The gauges are large and clearly legible, but we would like the engine temperature readout to be a separate display rather than incorporated into the trip computer. The climate controls are within easy reach. … The optional navigation system absorbs some audio functions, but its large touchscreen compensates. Some navigation functions, such as turning off voice guidance, are a bit fiddly." -- Consumer Guide

Cargo

Reviewers are fairly consistent in their praise for the Kia Forte sedan’s trunk, which holds 14.7 cubic feet of stuff. If you get the coupe, however, the amount of available space decreases to 12.6. At 19.4 cubic feet, the hatchback has the most cargo space. For more cargo room and more storage options, check out the Honda Fit.

  • "Sedans have a trunk that's tall, wide, and deep. It's very spacious for the class. Hatchbacks have a versatile cargo hold with a low load deck. Interior small-item storage is also very good with a roomy center console and glovebox, along with useful door pockets." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The trunk provides 14.7 cubic feet of space, which is enough room to put more than four golf bags back there. On one stop, I climbed into the trunk and estimated that I could fit at least two more of me -- I'm 6 feet tall -- back there." -- The Detroit News