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 |  Apr 23 2010, 1:50 PM

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The Kia Forte took home the 2010 Top Safety Pick, given out by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.  This is the third model from the Kia/Hyundai brand to win the rating for 2010, following the Kia Soul and the Hyundai Sonata.

To be considered for this award, vehicles must earn the top rating of “good” for front, side, rollover, and rear impact protection. This year also marks the first time a vehicle has to achieve a good performance in its roof strength test to measure protection in the case of a rollover. The vehicle’s overall evaluation was determined on a variety of measurements specific to each crash angle, and overall impact on crash test dummies inside the vehicle at the time of collision. As well, to receive a Top Pick, the car needs to have electronic stability control (ESC), a feature that comes standard on the Forte.

In order to qualify for the award, Kia had to make some improvements to the Forte to ensure occupant protection, including revisions to its B-pillar and its roof. If you’re in the market for the Forte, be aware that this rating only applies to Fortes built after October 2009.

Other safety features the Forte showcases (and comes standard with) include active front headrests, advanced two-stage airbags, front seat-mounted and side curtain airbags, four-wheel disc brakes with an antilock brake system (ABS), brake assist (BAS), electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), electronic stability control (ESC), a traction control system (TCS) and a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS).

Fellow small cars joining Forte with a 2010 Top Safety Pick status are the VW Golf, Toyota Corolla, Subaru Impreza, Scion xB and Nissan Cube.

[Source: Kicking Tires]

 |  Apr 01 2010, 12:16 PM

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Kia pulled the covers off a new hatchback version of the Forte at the New York Auto Show but oddly chose not to let the media see any of the five doors actually open. It’s especially strange when the car is called the Forte Five-Door.

Joining the Forte sedan and Forte Koup, the Five-Door will be available with either a 2.0l or a 2.4l engine and a six-speed manual or automatic transmission.

Kia didn’t release any specs for the new hatchback but the Forte’s 2.0l engine is rated at 156 hp and 144 ft-lb. of torque while the 2.4l Forte has 173 hp and 168 ft-lb.

It’s still odd that Kia chose to keep the Five-Door locked however. None of the Kia reps we spoke to, including the VP of sales, even realized it was locked, and when they checked, we were told the doors would remain closed through the day.

Gallery: Kia Forte Five-Door

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 |  Jun 25 2009, 9:59 AM

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We still have more than half of 2009 to go and already the list of 2010 North American Car & Truck of the Year nominees have been picked. That’s because the list is essentially a list of every new model for 2010.

Nominated for car of the year are: the Audi S4, BMW Z4, BMW 335d, BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo, Buick LaCrosse, Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon, Chevrolet Camaro, Ford Fusion, Ford Fusion Hybrid, Ford Mustang, For Mustang GT500, Ford Taurus, Ford Taurus SHO, Honda Insight, Hyundai Genesis Coupe, Kia Forte, Kia Soul, Lexus HS250h, Lotus Evora, Mazda3, MazdaSpeed3, Mercedes E-Class, Nissan Cube, Nissan 370Z, Porsche Panamera, Subaru Legacy, Suzuki Kizashi, Toyota Prius, Volkswagen Golf, Volkswagen Golf TDI.

The 2010 North American Truck of the Year list is only slightly shorter and includes: the Acura ZDX, BMw X5 xDrive 35d, Cadillac SRX, Chevrolet Equinox, Ford Transit Connect, GMC Terrain, Honda Crosstour, Land Rover LR4, Lincoln MKT, Subaru Outback, Toyota 4Runner and Volvo XC60.

Many off these vehicles have yet to be officially released and some (like the Honda Crosstour) haven’t even been officially named yet.

Jurors will now begin the lengthy process of making a short list, with the final winners chosen at the 2010 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Last year’s winners were the Hyundai Genesis and the Ford F-150.

[Source: Edmunds]

 |  Feb 11 2009, 6:10 PM

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Unveiled simultaneously at the Chicago Auto Show and the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto, Kia took the wraps of its new Forte compact sedan.

The Forte will be offered in three trims with LX and EX models featuring a 2.0-liter four cylinder engine with 156hp and 144 ft-lbs of torque. An SX model will also be offered with a larger 2.4-liter four cylinder boasting 173hp and 168 ft-lbs of torque. This is more power than what is offered in either the top line Mazda3 or Toyota Corolla.

A five-speed manual is standard on the LX and EX with an optional four-speed automatic. We’re a little disappointed to see a four-speed on a brand new cars these days but those who so choose can opt for the SX, which comes with a six-speed manual as standard an an optional five-speed automatic.

Kia will offer a Fuel Economy Package, featuring the 2.0-liter engine with a five-speed auto, motor driven power steering (as opposed to electric), low rolling resistance tires and improved aerodynamics. This will result in a class-leading 36 mpg on the highway.

LX models will be quite basic but EX and SX models will include standard power windows and locks, remote keyless entry, AC and steering-wheel mounted audio and cruise controls. A sunroof and leather seating will be optional. SX owners might just want to stick with the cloth seats, however, as Kia has equipped the Forte SX with styling red stitching.

SX models will also get plenty of other upgrades to match that red stitching, including a sport-tuned suspension, larger front brakes, a rear spoiler and 17-inch wheels with significantly sized 215/45/17 tires.

Wow.. a Kia we’re actually excited to drive!

Note: At the Canadian International Auto Show, Kia also had the Koup Concept on display (first featured at least year’s New York Auto Show) and according to Kia rep Sixto Fernandes, Kia will launch a new coupe in the summer and we should expect it to look very close to the concept.

2010 Kia Forte:

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Kia Koup Concept:

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Official release after the jump:

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