Back in July of 2016 I traveled to Florida to visit my family for a week. I needed a cheap rental car, and Avis was happy to oblige with a 2016 refrigerator-white Kia Forte. Normally I like to write reviews of all the cars I rent, but that Kia was such a piece of shit that I couldn’t muster the energy to write a singe word about it. To be honest I don’t even think I took one picture of it – that Forte was so dull and devoid of soul that it wasn’t even worth remembering.
Fast forward to March of 2017, and once again I went on a trip with the family and needed a cheap car for the week. I wasn’t about to go baller like I did with my recent Shelby Mustang rental – I really needed to be a bit more practical and low-key this time. I went with Avis again, only because I’m a reward-points snob and the more I can stick with one rental car company, the greater chance of me obtaining super diamond-encrusted platinum unicorn status someday. I hear it’s pretty good.
So there I was, standing at the counter of the Avis line at Las Vegas international airport, happy to be on vacation and away from the stress of work. And then, it happened: I was handed the keys to a 2017 Kia Forte. My immediate knee-jerk reaction was to ask if they had anything else available, but luck was not on my side today. I could upgrade to a better car if I was willing to pay for it, but since I was not, that poop-brown Kia Forte was mine for the entire week.
Can you tell that I’m not a Forte fan? To be honest I’m trying to be as nice about it as I can, because hey – compared to cars from the 1970’s the Forte is actually pretty good. But this is 2017, and there are some inexcusable problems that I have with this cheap little econobox from Korea.
Here are the top 4 things I hate about the 2017 Kia Forte:
1). The front seats are rock hard.
I put over 600 miles on the 2016 model last summer, and I swore I’d never in my life drive another one after that. My back was killing me after mile 30, and it was a miserable experience through and through.
How I survived driving nearly 1000 miles in this 2017 model last month is beyond me. It was just as painful and uncomfortable, and I can confidently not recommend this car to anyone who does a lot of long distance driving. The concrete-like seats will screw up your back forever.
2). It gets pushed around a lot in the wind.
Like dangerously a lot. Before I dive head first into my rant about this, I’d like to say that I fully understand that small cars are more susceptible to wind than larger and heavier cars. My 2010 Honda Fit gets blown around pretty good in high winds, so it’s a feeling I’m quite familiar with. But the Kia Forte. Wow.
Driving this car across the Arizona desert in high crosswinds required full concentration and both hands on the wheel (with a firm grip) at all times. Loosen up your grip, and you’re dead. It’s that simple. This is actually surprising to me considering how streamlined the car is. It may look fast and sleek, but it cuts through the wind like a cinder block.
3). The obnoxiously stiff (and sensitive) gas and brake pedals.
The stiffness of the gas and brake makes the 2017 Kia Forte impossible to drive smoothly. Both require a firm press to engage, and by then, you’ve applied too much and the car jolts ahead or comes to a screeching halt through no fault of your own.
There is simply no way to gingerly apply the gas or brakes in this car, and ether one is basically on or off. The worst part? Your passengers will think you’re a shitty driver (if they haven’t come to that conclusion already).
4). The USB power port is ridiculously overpowered.
This is not good if you need to keep your phone charged while you are driving, which I wanted badly to use google maps and stream music for much of the 1000 miles. I was unable to do this, however, since plugging my iPhone into that jack would cause it to overheat and shut down in less than 15 minutes. Not so fantastic for road trips across the Arizona desert.
So there you have it. I didn’t even want to write a word about it the first time I rented one one of these back in the summer of 2016, but now that I’ve had the chance to drive around in another one for an entire week, I couldn’t help but to spew about all that is wrong with the Kia Forte. In all honesty, I have no idea why people buy these things when there are so many better cars in this price point on the market right now. It boggles the mind.