Kia Forte K3 EX 1.6 Review: K3: Scaling a New Peak

Kia Forte K3 EX 1.6 Review: K3: Scaling a New Peak

OneShift Editorial Team
OneShift Editorial Team
21 Jul 2013
What we like:
Fit and finish on the interior. Class-leading spaciousness. Thoughtful features and options.
What we dislike:
Lackluster performance. Noisy tires.

Alas, nothing is perfect and this is where the Forte K3 can improve on. While there have been staggering improvements both on the interior and exterior, one would find the performance lacking. The 1.6-litre powerplant under the bonnet puts out 128 bhp at 6300 rpm and 157 Nm of torque at 4850rpm through a six-speed automatic transmission. It isn’t going to win any red light races especially up against the turbocharged Jetta, but this wasn’t the objective of the Cerato family. We are told that this will be the only engine variant for the K3, so as not to “cannibalise” on sales of the 2-litre Optima. However, we are pleased to report that engine noise and vibrations barely intruded the cabin, even when driven with a lead-foot.

Handling wise, you can select from three steering modes that varies the amount of assistance. Toggling around the modes does nothing to improve steering feel even in Sports mode, but a just false sense of sportiness from the overly heavy steering effort required. This is best left in Normal or Comfort.

Like many South Korean cars, the Kia Forte K3 is set up to be underdamped. While this adds to the overall comfort of the car, longer stretches of undulations can start to feel just a little uncomfortable. But this isn’t too much of a problem on Singapore’s roads.

One last complaint is the noisy Nexen tyres fitted on the car. But this isn’t too hard (or costly) to fix.


The Kia Forte K3 is a grown up specimen of the Cerato. While it spells trouble for its competitors, it’s hurrah for consumers who now have another serious option to consider. While brand snobbery may put some buyers off, this car is certainly one to consider seriously if quality and value for money are high on your agenda.

Credits: Story and Photos by John Toh

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