Friday, 5 February 2010

First Drive: Naza (KIA) Forte 1.6EX

The Koreans answer to the ever-popular B-segment - in Malaysia at least - is mighty impressive. And it's no less a C-segment sedan the dimensions of a Honda Civic!

Priced at a very competitive RM75,800 the base version, the new Naza Forte 1.6EX is unbeatable value-for-money. Of course, it has to wear the obligatory "NAZA" badges upfront and at the back, but it drives quite decently, has lots of space and even sports a very modern Teutonic design. It is after all, penned by Peter Shreyer, the very same guy who took Audi automotive designs to greater heights in the years before his migration over to Kia.

While I found it took time for me to settle down into the rather 'lumpy' seats at first, I guess the version most representative for the Forte range (for now at least, the 2.0 isn't available on Naza-Kia's media fleet yet) is the higher spec 1.6SX.

Excuse me for the many rather shabby pictures taken with my camera phone. I shall be writing in more details about the new Forte 1.6 after I have sampled the 'proper' 1.6SX version...


Anonymous said...

My my, that is one fugly steering wheel. The car looks nice tho.

drlong said...

Ha ha ha! It's nicer though in the 1.6SX :)

Anonymous said...

Really? I don't see the difference. It's still the same odd shape with the funny spokes. What's the diameter of the steering wheel? Larger than the Civic's?

Anonymous said...

Actually, you know what? I'd give this car a go, if not for a couple of things.

1. The Naza badge (which is not a big issue, since it's easily changeable). The other thing is also the fact that well, it's from Naza. I've heard horrible stories about how crappy their after-sales service is, and I'd pick a car with a TOTAL package rather than just what's in the car.

2. I cannot emphasize this enough: The fugly steering wheel. Peter Schreyer may have designed the car, but he could have given a little more thought inside. Other than the steering wheel, everything else is top class. The Engine starter button, keyless entry..... it is very well-specced for its price.

I just got myself a FD Civic K20Z early this year. Had I seen the Kia Forte earlier, it may have changed my mind..... a little.