Detroit Freep's Mark Phelan Slams the 2010 Kia Forte - Thinks It's a Mid-Size Sedan with "Forgettable Styling"

Not to generalize, but can't say that I like reading car test drives on newspapers or their respective websites for the simple fact that I often find myself looking at an un-opinionated shortened press release or even worse, a review written by someone that has little idea of what he or she is talking about. I don't know Mark Phelan personally nor am I aware of his automotive background, but in my opinion, his latest review on the 2010 Kia Forte sedan at the Detroit Free Press fits in the second group.

I could just mention the fact that he makes a mega blunder by calling the Kia Forte a mid-size sedan, and leave it that, but, what the heck, let's see what else he wrote.

If you've been in this biz for a while, you can feel the negative vibe right from the beginning. And truly enough, Phelan picks up his shovel and beats the crap out the Korean sedan straight up from the title "Kia's Forte Falls Short on Comfort, Styling" and continues in the opening sentence "That's a humble vehicle, my friend said" - as if anyone cares what "Kathleen" thinks about the car's styling...

But it gets worse as he then completely messes it up by saying that it's an "underpowered mid-size sedan with a drab interior" (okay, everyone is entitle to their own opinion when it comes to styling) that is "no match for leading midsize models like the Chevrolet Malibu, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord and Toyota Camry"

Well, sorry to be the ones to break it to you Mr Phelan, but the Forte is actually a compact sedan that competes with smaller cars like the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla and NOT their larger siblings.

Having said that, there's no need to comment on Phelan's ramblings on the "rather faint-hearted 156-horsepower 2.0-liter four-pot", which by the way, is more powerful than the more expensive entry-level 140HP Civic and 132HP Corolla sedans, or that the boot is smaller in capacity than the Rolls-Royce Phantom Camry, Malibu and Accord.

I'd also slightly disagree on the "forgettable exterior styling" (as if the Camry and Malibu are something to remember...) but again, beauty or the lack of it is to the eye of the beholder.

Also, since I have never driven the Forte, can't say anything about Phelan's comments on the vehicle's quality (large gaps, uneven fit etc), poor Bluetooth system or whatever else he finds negative, and there are plenty of them according to Phelan. Those of you that have sat behind the wheel of the Forte sedan, especially ones with a professional / journalist background, may have your say below.

And just for the record before someone jumps into conclusions, we have no affiliation with Kia (or with any other automaker for that matter), the ads on Auto Cars 2011 are sourced from Google's Adsense and we couldn't care less about the Forte's market performance in the U.S. or elsewhere.

Check out Phelan's complete review on the 2010 Forte at the Detroit Free Press here and have your say in the comment section below.

- John

Source: Freep