Speed News April 2016

Speed News Magazine - The Official Magazine of the National Auto Sport Association

Issue link: http://mag.speednewsmag.com/i/662179

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Page 27 of 95

T here's a lot good to be said about hot hatchbacks. They're fun, yet practical. They seat the same amount of people as a crew cab pickup with a center console up front and they all get better than 30 mpg on the freeway. Even better, they also will do double-duty for HPDE and autocross, something "Car Corner" is all about. We had the chance to get in a Kia's Forte5 SX T-GDI, the hottest hatch in Kia's Forte lineup, at the Motor Press Guild's Track Days program on the Streets of Willow track. The regular Forte5 comes with a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter inline four cylinder, but the SX comes with a turbocharged 1.6-liter, which is good for 201 horsepower at 6,000 rpm, so we were eager to drive it. When we did mat the accelerator, we were wondering if any tuners specialize KIA FORTE5 SX T-GDI C A R C O R N E R PHOTOS COURTESY OF KIA in Kia cars, because this car could have used more boost. Weight reduction would be a good idea, because the 2,970-pound curb weight certainly wasn't helping performance. We also weren't wild about the brakes. Sure they worked well enough — they slowed the car — but the feedback was numb and the pedal was mushy throughout its arc. We thought there might be some air in the brakes from other journalists driving it hard, but it was early in the day, so it had not yet seen much abuse, so that likely wasn't it. I have read other reviews on Kia cars that have said the same thing their brakes. Brake feel is a difficult thing to engineer into a car, but it makes a big difference in the driving experience. In terms of driver ergonomics, the Forte5 was good for street applications, but as any track enthusiast knows, the racetrack has a way of revealing flaws that might never surface during street driving. The seats could have used more side bolstering and I kept hitting my knee on the steering column when 28

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