When I think of the best compact cars, Kia is not usually the first brand that pops into my head. But that could be about to change.
I recently spent some time in the fully redesigned 2019 Kia Forte, and I’m back with a rundown of how it measures up in the segment — which I must say, was surprisingly well.
The Deep Sea Blue-colored 2019 Kia Forte I tested was attractive enough, by the standards of non-luxury compact cars. None of them are extreme lookers, to be honest, but there were some unique things going on with the grille and the rear lights that stood out vs. the competition.
The Forte looks bigger than a typical compact car; and has a somewhat roomy back seat and very roomy trunk for the segment. Everything is also well-organized inside, and the quality of the seating and other interior materials was higher-end than I anticipated. Seating is comfortable, and all controls are well-placed for driver use.
On the lighting front, you get LED tail lights, LED Daytime Running Lights, and power heated outside mirrors with LED turn signal indicators.
You also get a compact spare tire, dual-zone automatic climate control with rear vents, a power adjustable driver’s seat, and heated and ventilated front seats. 17-inch alloy wheels were included on the 2019 Kia Forte EX that I tested, and 15-inch wheels come on the base model.
Compact sedans seem to be disappearing in recent years, with most Americans wanting a bit more roominess in their ride, and numbers continue to dwindle in terms of overall market share for this size of vehicle.
But there will always be certain groups of car buyers who will say that less is more — young buyers looking for that first new new car at a lower price, or people of any age with no family to cart around who want fuel efficiency.
With the number of buyers in this class being smaller, the automakers that have stuck it out in the compact sedan segment must bring their A-game to complete effectively.
Nissan remains active in this segment with its Sentra model. I recently spent some time driving a 2019 Nissan Sentra, and I’m back with a report on how it competes.
Sedans, especially the full-size variety, are a segment that automakers are fleeing in droves. Nissan, however, is bucking this trend and has stayed committed to sedans, and even continues to upgrade them.
The 2019 Nissan Maxima, their flagship sedan, gets a refresh and can now be called an excellent contender in this category, pushing itself to near-luxury territory.
I recently tested a 2019 Maxima and I’m back with a full report.
The exterior of the 2019 Maxima features upgraded front and rear styling, plus 19-inch aluminum-alloy wheels.
Once you go inside you’ll find one of the sharpest non-luxury vehicles you can buy. The interior design features premium leather-appointed seats, with diamond-quilted leather inserts on the Platinum trim I tested. There’s an attractive tan insert on the steering wheel offering a two-tone appearance, plus satin bronze interior faceted finishers.
You also get creature comforts like heated front seats (and optional heated rear seats). This being a full-size sedan, it’s roomy and no matter where you sit you’ll be very, very comfortable — both due to the size of the vehicle and the overall quality materials used inside. The trunk is also roomy for the segment.
If I were handing out interior design awards, this Nissan would definitely be in the running to win something.
Across all classes of vehicles, the move toward electrification and automation is on the minds of automakers, as it’s generally accepted that when automation truly gets a foothold, most of those vehicles will be electric.
The world of luxury sedans is no exception. In this elite category, where prices are high and brand loyalty is key, the question each luxury brand faces is how far to go on the electric side while still maintaining the sharpness of the traditional ride.
BMW’s 5-series is annually one of the top-selling luxury sedans, for good reason. A staple in the industry for nearly 50 years, it’s a vehicle that rarely disappoints and has attracted a loyal following for generations as it battles other stalwarts in the class such as the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and Audi A6.
The version of the 5-series I recently tested was a bit different, and it reflects this modern movement to improve the eco-friendly factor of the vehicle. Read on for a full report on what the BMW 530e iPerformance plug-in hybrid is trying to accomplish, and how it fits into the 5-series lineup and overall luxury market.
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