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2010 Kia Forte vs Mazda3 vs Toyota Corolla comparisson test

2010 Kia Forte vs Mazda3 vs Toyota Corolla comparisson test

So, I’ve had the chance to spend a lot of time in the new 2010 Kia Forte and put it through paces on course. First off I got to run the 2.0LT LX Forte in an automatic and the 2.4 LT SX in the 6-Speed M/T. There was also a 2010 Mazda 3 and 2009 Toyota Corolla for me to test in comparison.

I’m not even going to talk about Toyota Corolla. That car is antiquated at best. Yes they drive nicely, but not nearly as nice as the other two and the styling and finish is dated already. Toyota needs a redesign.

The Mazda 3 is a nice car. Fit an finish is well done and it drives really nice ( not nicer than the Forte though). It handles well, feels good, and it was a lot of fun through the course. The Key difference between the Forte and the Mazda are what the Mazda doesn’t have. It has less features, less horsepower and torque, and less space, and when it all adds up it costs $6,000.00 more.

And now the Kia Forte…

This car is impressive. What KIA did to change it’s face with the SOUL, it has done again with the FORTE. Aside from the course I also got to take it out for a one hour road and highway test drive. (continue your read after the jump!)

2010forte002.jpg    2010forte005.jpg     2010forte009.jpg

It handles beautifully. This car hugs the road well, the suspension is crisp and responsive, with a good sensing of what the car is doing. The SX package gets the sport tuned suspension and it is noticeable, everything is tighter and just has that little extra. One of the surprising elements was how smooth and quite the ride was, it obviously falls into the compact sedan segment but ride of this car feels bigger than it actually is.

One of the significant differences between the Soul and Kia Forte is the engines. The Forte gets two brand new engines. The 2.0L is the very same engine as the entry level Hyundai Genesis Coupe without the turbo. That engine obviously has an available turbo option and can be tuned to well over 200hp. The 2.4L is brand new as well and can be taken to over 300hp. Both of these engine also carry a timing chain where the Soul 2.0 is a timing belt.

The SX Forte in the 6-Speed M/T is a really nice gear box. Really smooth shifting through the gate, and a hydraulic clutch that has a lot of action right of the floor (very similar to the Soul).

Interior finishing is really nicely done, nice quality material finishing (the doors seems more durable than the Soul), well laid out controls, the same steering wheel as the Soul, and in the SX automatic climate control with a factory installed GPS option.

KIA has outdone itself with this new addiction to the segment. We’re looking at a real leader here, it has set a new bar for standards. In the Specs alone for standard features, power, and space the Forte is way out in front. The only real car missing from the comparison was the Civic. Having driven a Civic and now this, Honda has something to worry about as the Forte is smoother quieter, and crisper.

Next On deck is the Kia Forte Koup and I can’t wait to put it through the paces. If the Forte is this nice a ride in the sedan, the Koup is going to be a blast.

This was a guest post written by Thegarth, a member of our Kia Soul Forums, who obviously enjoyed driving the new Forte sedan. THANK YOU for the write up, Thegarth!!

 P.S. The all-new 2010 Forte will be available at US dealerships starting from June 2009.

2010forte010.jpg     2010forte011.jpg

61 thoughts on “2010 Kia Forte vs Mazda3 vs Toyota Corolla comparisson test

  1. Just a note. The Forte has been available in Canada for over a month. I have to agree that it is an extremely accomplished vehicle & as it lists for the same as the Soul at the upper end, obviously a better value

  2. i can’t wait to drive one. i am looking forward to having them on my lot

  3. I have to agree with thegarth, the forte blows the competition out of the water. Its fit and finish is more along the lines of the VW/Audi for obvious reason, the interior space makes you scratch your head and wonder how they made all the space inside of this car “ITS HUGE!” But if a company like kia can take a car like the spectra and replace it with something like forte you gotta think “what else are they capable of?” Having driven the koup and the SX I can tell you the KOUP is AMAZING it is really something for the rest of the market to fear.

  4. i can NOT wait! i’ve been SO set on the soul but when i saw the Koup i had to go for that. i’ve already been saving my pennies for the soul so when the Koup comes out i’ll have plenty of moolah to pay for it or put down on it. that’s GARTH for the GREAT review & i can’t wait to test it myself 😛

  5. I have been driving my Forte for a few months now and I think it is one of the handling and riding car out there. It has great power for passing and handling is amazing I can push this car farther and faster into the corner than anything I have driven so far. People are going to Love the way and looks, drives and handles.. this is definitely going to be a great seller.. I am anxiously looking forward to the Forte Koup. I just hope they Turbocharge it.

  6. AGAIN as posted for the Soul. Competitive, realistic, innovation, yes! But no station wagon or five door hatchback. No listed trailer towing capacity. And no diesel. What will it take for an automaker to produce a practical car such that one car can do necessary workday and intown travel as economically as possible and then “expand” to take a family on vacation, support local recreation with small boats or camping gear, and thus provide an alternative to an SUV.

    Ford with its Escort, and Honda and Toyota, used to do this but in the United States there does seem a conspiracy to avoid providing a sustainable family useful small car.

    Station wagon space, towing capacity, and diesel. Too difficult to consider?

  7. the Rondo is a station wagon/5 door hatchback and can tow, but no diesel.

    In response to this presentation, I’ve posted some competitive info and photos for the Forte.

  8. cliffpa look at the rondo for gas miles and room but not ment for towing. you can get a luggage rack on top but if you are looking to get a car that can tow a trailer you need to find something way bigger and accept the gas mile pains.

  9. CliffPa its not Kia, its the US Government. They are the ones dictating what we can and cannot have. Tell your Senator and congressmen. I am sure Kia will build what ever sells. You can always buy an aftermarket trailer hitch and put it on yourself..

  10. what about the supposed diesel borrego we were supposed to get? & is there still a chance of a diesel sorrento? or is that out too? outside of kia, you could go to benz for the small GLK or ML suv’s that are unibody, relatively light weight, and offer their new “bluetec” diesel engines. nothing comes to mind @ the moment that’s anything cheaper than benz. cuz they’re obviously a lot more than kia, etc.

  11. I like the jubilation from all of you above with this vehicle but lets get it some perspactive. Here in Australia we are stuck with the 2 Liter engine and I can’t see for the life of me why they don’t have the 2.4 Liter here if the fuel usage is about the same with either engine. Most people would go for the extra power and torque any time.
    Anyway, here’s a quote from a local motoring magazine here, apart from being resonably impressed with the design and the quality of the Forte/Cerato his final comments were…….
    On the Road…
    “The improvements weren’t limited to the appearance and packaging. The performance from the 2.0 Liter engine is as good as most in it’s class, albeit a little bit noisy under load and at the higher revs. However, for normal duties of driving in calm traffic it is quiet enough, and handling is also adequate for a car this size.”
    Summary….
    “The market knows they get what they pay for and in a shrinking new car market where value reings supreme, the Cerato is likely to succeed.”
    So, he wasn’t going over the moon here, but “reasonably impressed”.

  12. Yup I had a B-Day yesterday and turned 28! I was surprised to see an updated KIA-WORLD logo – done by the designers/developers of the KIA-WORLD!

  13. i would probably question the objectivity of this ‘review’… a few points, the kia has a beam rear axle while the mazda is independent

    where i am the kia’s top line model is about the same price as the mazda base model

    i like the conservative styling of the kia while the mazda ‘nagare’ styling makes me want to punch random people in the face

    i found the kia’s interior to be competitive but not as nice as the pictures make it out to be but acceptable none the less and miles ahead of the spray silver finish in mazdas and toyotas

    like many people here i await the day when kia decide to mate the Ceed/Soul CRDi with the Forte and perhaps how about a 5 door liftback/wagon body?

  14. I’m sorry…but I just can’t imagine owing a kia…Honda and Toyota have nothing to worry about. The saying is, you get what you pay for. And either kia is paying little kids a pennie a day, or they are really cutting corners somewhere. I’ll keep my jap cars thank you.

  15. “notafan”

    You do get what you pay for, thing is, it is cheaper to build the same quality cars in Korea than Japan, that is all. Why pay more for essentially the same thing?

  16. Because it’s not the same thing. I’ve driven a few kia’s. Lately was a rio and a sorento. both were crap.
    I’m compaing them to Honda, Toyota, Subaru and Mitsu. Nothing to compare on the japs to the korean’s.
    Sorry, but they just don’t cut it.

  17. LOL! Rio and Sorento are the two worst vehicles in the line-up, and both will be replaced within 16 months! Drive a Borrego if you want to see Kia’s quality.

  18. Mitsubishi? haha, their interiors are constantly criticized in reviews I read for the cheapness, not to metion Subaru’s subjective styling which also is criticized. Toyotas are always boring and uninvolved. Honda… I have been in a couple, nothing special at all.

  19. Greg: Then need I say more….you want me to test drive their most expensive vehicle and compare that LOL…I can’t imagine spending that kind of money on a kia only to have it worth nothing in a few hours after I buy it.
    Martin: styling can’t be compared to anything because thats just an opinion…I have never heard anything bad on Mitsu interiors, GM, but not Mitsu, Toyota is just a all around refined vehicle for everyday use and if you think Honda is nothing special then what the hell do you think of kia LOL

  20. it depreciates about the same as other vehicles. You buy it lower, you sell it lower.

  21. If you ask anyone that knows nothing about the automotive industry or cars for that matter who makes the best cars, they say Toyota or Honda. These are the the same people who know nothing about politics that voted for Obama. They believe everything they read in consumer reports and car and driver or in the case of politics in an infomercial.

  22. Nobody believed in Honda in the 1970’s but look at the public’s perception now. Kia is growing at a much faster rate than Honda ever did. Where do you think that puts Kia in 20 years? Kia has shown consecutive quarterly gains through 2008 and now in 2009. What do you think thats going to do for resale value? Supply and demand influence a cars resale more than any other factor. What do you think is easier to find used right now? A Scion or a soul?

  23. notafan, The latest Lancer has been criticized of a cheap interior for what you pay. Look on Caradvice.com.au. Honda’s are nothing special, they are overpriced and pretty bloody average, at least KIA don’t rip off their customers the same way, you do get what you pay for, unlike in a Honda where you pay extra for very little. I think Korean build quality is superior to the Thailand built Hondas, haha. Toyota, nothing against them, they have proven themselves, just the overwhealming response I have been reading here in Australia, is that the Cerato is the better pick than the Corolla. You are right about styling, but general perception again, the latest Subaru’s are… ugly.

  24. in my opinion as are car salesmen the difference from one make to another is very small when it comes to quality. If you take care of your engine you should be ashamed of your self if you don’t get 150k miles. In the late 80 and early 90 Toyota and Honda where so much better then the other makes. Now a days everything is about the same. There are no junk cars being built in 2009 only people who treat there are like junk.

  25. people who complain talk first and loud notafan. in my dealership we sell a lot of kia due to the fact it is the only new car we offer. I am very close to the service department guys and they are the hardest critics of them all. Even they say that the kia quality is very much improved. What don’t understand from notafan is what are you trying to prove. Why go to a kia forum and complain? You make statements that when you make it down its opinion. how do you know for sure that a 45k kia would sell for 13k in 4 years? I suspect you just get a strange thrill by offending people. Every time you read one of our posts you snicker to your self and think what can i say now to get them going.

    When i sell cars to customers who are comparing a kia to a toyota or honda it always comes down to money. in the chicago land area you can get a 2009 toyota corola XLE with Sirius Satellite Radio, Sunroof, Rear Spoiler, Cruise Control, Carpet Floor Mats for 17,701 after a 1250 rebate. I sold a spectra with the same equipment for 14,325. My customer will have to pay over $3000 in repairs that are not warranty related to come out a looser. Not to mention we have the best warranty in America.

    She plans on owning the car till 100,000 miles then trade it it. She is happy with the car how it looks and how it drives so why would she spend more money for a toyota brand when she can get a kia equipped the same for thousands less. The reason kia is selling cars is due to the fact we are a better value for your money. now that the quality is not that much different then the toyota there is no reason to waste money on a brand.

  26. I wonder why Mercedes wants Korean technology over Japanese technology? Wow I had no idea the 2.4L Lancer engine came from Korea.

  27. notafan is a forum troll who likes to pick a fight. why would any normal person go to a kia website with the his first comment being

    “I’m sorry…but I just can’t imagine owing a kia…Honda and Toyota have nothing to worry about. The saying is, you get what you pay for. And either kia is paying little kids a pennie a day, or they are really cutting corners somewhere. I’ll keep my jap cars thank you.”

    His only goal was to offend people and be an annoyance. in my opinion it is sad.

  28. I am Notafan’s doctor. I personally apologize for my patients behavior… he is a certified dumbass and psychopath by US department of health. He has been abused by his parents since he was 5, and he unfortunately developed a very serious personality disorder from it. Full diagnosis of him is yet to be done, but it seems apparent that he receives some form of sexual arousal from being ignorant and pissing other people off for no good reason. He is ought to be detained in a mental hospital with very restricted access to internet or other forms of communication technology, but he lives in massachusetts, and the state’s law currently doesn’t allow any forms of forced detainment.

  29. Hyundai/Kia motors donated money to the 9/11 relief fund . Honda, Toyota, Nissan, BMW, and Mercedes Benz didn’t see fit to donate a dime! They sure don’t mind taking american money. It’s giving it back they have a problem with. That says alot to me about The south Koreans intensions in the U.S. They are bringing 5000 jobs to West Point Georgia at a time they’re needed the most. Honda and Toyota may make a good vehicle but they’ve got alot to learn about public relations. Even a struggling company like Harley Davidson donated 30 someting bikes to the NYPD after 9/11.

  30. Notofan:

    I’m no Kia enthusiast nor about to buy one. I’d rather get a Honda before a Kia. But I did test drive the Forte and was surprised and impressed. Nothing major but still impressed.

    But you are an idiot. The fact that you slam Kia and then think that Mitsubishi makes high quality vehicles says it all. Mitsu makes some of crappiest Japanese cars bar none.

    The fact that you think otherwise makes you an idiot….regardless of what Kia’s turn out to be.

  31. lol, noz, you know NOTHING about Mitsu.
    They have cars that out perform Ferrari and Lamborghini.
    They outlast most of the other auto makers, they are very rugged vehicles.
    I’d say you are the idiot, based on the comments above.
    The fact you even test drove a kia makes me laugh at you
    LOL

  32. Or Did you hear that faltering quality is adding insult to injury to Mitsubuishi, and they are looking to possibly exit the US Market. 80% sales declines for the last 12 months, while KIA is gaining by 10%.


    So whos the Idiot again? I thought so.

  33. bombsy2….

    Morons like you make me laugh my ass off. You drive your souped up econo-sedan and put your cap on sideways while I drive my Ferrari or Lambo. I’ll let you beat me to the next light so you get your rocks off.

    Mitsubishi make some of the crappiest quality Japanese cars. They are far below the levels of Mazda, Toyota, or Honda.

    You better buy your Mitsub before their dealers close down…hurry along now douche. Your daddy needs to cut you a check.

  34. noz, you make ME laugh.
    You knock mitsu…however, if it wasn’t for them, YOUR crappy shitbox kia’s wouldn’t even exist.
    I find it funny that you call me a douche, because people who go around calling others that, are infact the real douch.
    Now, you hurry along, go ask daddy to buy you a through away kia. I’m sure it will last you 4 years before you’ll need a new one….never mind the fact that in 4 years it’ll be worthless.

  35. Well..since I’m not the one offering the reliability reports but actual owners and other legitimate sources are, you just need to STFU now.

    The more drivel you spew out, the more you like a complete douchebag. You got owned…deal with it.

  36. I got owned? LOL You own a Kia…thats MORE then enough laugher for me
    If anyone needs to stfu, it’s you. You are just upset that if it wasn’t for mitsu your crappy hyundai and kia wouldn’t exsit.
    I see no proof anywhere that anyone wants a crappy hyundai engine for their car. All I see is some other companies want in on the world engines.
    Big deal.
    So, you can stfu now, douchebag

  37. Ok, thats enough guys.
    First off, working for Kia, they aren’t as bad as they use to be, but we’re still not at Subaru, Honda or Toyota levels.
    Hyundai/Kia are not going to be making anything for anyone else, they were interested in joining the world engine but they’ve decided not to go forward.
    Noz, you need to stop acting like a little kid

  38. isellkia

    Please shut up. Don’t go around telling people they need to grow up or are acting like kids. I’m not sure what your level of reading comprehension is but in case didn’t notice, I’m not one going around trying act like a douche regarding Kias and what not. WTF is wrong with you? Incredible…seriously.

  39. And bombsy…you dumbass…I don’t own a Kia. Learn to read for crying out loud.

    Needless to say, whine all you want…the stats on Mitsubishi reliability is what it is. All that drivel you spew out isn’t go to change that. It will, however, just make you look like a bigger and bigger douche.

  40. one of my coworkers wrote the last post on the 06/21/09

    but Noz you absolutely need to grow up. Every post in this forum is nothing but a slam agianst other people who post. Why? You have offered nothing of value to this forum other then to insult people.

    You are no different then notafan. Once again please grow up and stop trying to pick forum fights.

  41. Hyundai/KIA Products sell better in Conservative Middle American (Midwest and Southern) states where most foreign brands dont do as well too. The other Foreign Brands here in middle America are at least $3000 more here than they are on the Coasts.

    Hyundai/KIAs are the only foreign brands that have reasonable affordablity out in this part of the country. A Used 17 year old Civic with 210,000 miles that would cost $500 in Jersey would cost $4500 here out in the Middle American Hick Lands. You can get a used Accent or Spectra thats 10 years newer and has 60,000 miles on the odometer for $4500, and probably even cheaper now due to the economy.

    -This economy has been a big boon to Hyundai/KIA new or used.

  42. It takes a long time for a brand to gain value, its also take a long time for a brand to lose value. Look at Acura/Honda, the last 10 years has not been the best of times in terms of reliablity for them. They are still reliable, but Honda values havent been affected at all. They had some very bad years this decade, when our products have been having some very great years this decade. The same goes for Lexus/Toyota. Our Products are doing great, and run great, yet the value to get into one is low. Enjoy it while it lasts becuase the next cycle of inlfation will push the values of your cars sky high.


    As a developing Luxury Company, Hyundai Products cost similar to Toyotas now, but it will be a long time before our products get to Lexus Prices. We offer thousands of dollars more worth of stuff in our cars, than Toyota does, yet our cars are only a few hundred dollars plus or minus now. Hey when Lexus came out thier cars where the same prices or a little bit more as Chevy, but they had Cadillac in their sights, now Lexus cars sell for a higher price than Cadillacs and out sell them by 2 to 1 in terms of sales figures. The Biggest trade ins for Hyundais these days are Chryslers and Buicks, so we can make a legitimate Luxry Niches here

    KIAs still are $1000 at least or more cheaper than Hyundai or Toyota. BTW, the Biggest trade ins for KIAs are the unreliable Mazda Products.

  43. Mazda=Japanese Alfa Romeo. They only sell cars based on performance and looks.

  44. You are a bunch of phonies KIA sales who cooked up these posts. There is no way that a Forte can match Mazda3 except for the low cost.

  45. this whole argument is ridiculous, who the fuck cares if the car will turn 5 seconds in the quarter mile, or handle like a 911 porsche. I don’t know where you all live, but every where I go in this country the highest speed limit I have found is 75. and occaisionally someone will come by at about 90. There are very few people who will exceed 100 mph even if they own a ferrari. As far as handling what the fuck do you need a slalom car for when you are stuck in freeway traffic at 6 mph. I have owned two kias, And have driven the living hell out of them, and they performed very well.

  46. I love my Forte. Better handling, very exciting to drive,the style,the features….what else can i ask for?

    Go Forte!

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