So I bought my car last year around this time; it’s a little bit early, but the car is still very new - I’ve only put around 7100km in 1 year. I really should drive more often for enjoyment but I don’t know anything about good driving roads in my area and usually it’s impossible to have fun anyway because of traffic, police, or road conditions (it’s Ontario, so roads vary from “pretty smooth” to “suspension-wrecking”).

That said, I have driven this on a bunch of longer trips. Before, I would always hitch a ride with friends to the cottage but now I look forward to driving on the more interesting roads.

Also, in one year I haven’t taken a single photo of my own car. I’m a terrible car owner.

So, the essentials:

Power: excellent. It’s basically 200hp/200lb-ft (I forget the exact numbers since they really don’t matter) and power builds up quick. I do a lot of city driving and the acceleration is definitely more than enough, but it still has plenty of power for highway passes. Throttle response is okay, but I wish it was quicker.

Keep in mind this is basically the fastest car I’ve ever driven, my previous car being around 100hp/100lb-ft (and again, exact numbers don’t matter because it was pitiful).

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Gearbox: acceptable. I think it’s pretty smooth when left in automatic but in the manu-matic mode it’s a touch slow. Modern dual-clutch boxes are supposed to have on-demand gears, but in this there is a noticeable delay. However, it is short enough that you can work with it - once you get used to it (and the car itself) you can still have a lot of fun with the paddle-shift. Minus big points for an improper +/- setup in the manual gate on the shifter. It should always be pull-upshift and push-downshift, like the old WRC sequential boxes.

The new Forte5s have a 7-speed DCT instead of the 6-speed auto in mine, but I personally don’t like the new front end compared to my car (of which I have zero photos).

Ride: average. It’s a bit on the harder side since I personally don’t notice body-roll like I did in my old Hyundai Accent, but it’s hard enough that you’ll feel the undulations in the road. I was surprised that I noticed undulations in what I thought was a smoother road in other cars. However, I find the ride overall to be comfortable (especially compared to my old Accent), it’s also much quieter and more pleasant to be in.

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Interior: it’s got leather-ish stuff with cloth inserts for seats - the seats are actually very comfortable. I can drive long distances without any back or leg pains - sounds like that should be a given but I still remember that god damn Grand Caravan that killed my lower back on a 1.5 hour drive. It’s not premium by any stretch, but it’s not a bad place. Plastics are generally smooth-touch, apart from some more generous usage of hard plastics on the door. Enough storage for the shit I normally have in the car.

Rear seats split 60/40 - folds almost flat. Skis and snowboards should fit without having to push forward the front seats. I found it to have plenty of usable space.

Exterior: I really like the looks. I think the regular Forte5 is pretty boring, with the front and rear being changed enough in the SX trim to look a bit sportier. In fact, the regular Forte5 won’t even come up in my Google searches - they’re all just SX models.

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The rear end looks better with the superior taillights, rear “diffuser” and dual exhaust. I really do like the back end of the car. The front end is alright - I don’t think it’s pretty by any means with that gaping maw at the front, but the bumper breaks that up a little bit and it suggests aggressiveness.

Fuel Economy: best I’ve achieved is 8.0L/100km on a mostly highway journey. That’s really kind of shitty. Worst I’ve gotten in 100% city driving (and I tend to accelerate a lot) is around 12.7km/100km, which is also kind of shitty. It’s only a 1.6 litre turbo-four, but I suspect this is more due to my driving than an inherent fuel-inefficiency but I can’t say definitely for this reason. I tend to average around 11.5 - 12.0km. These numbers are also all from the on-board display.

Verdict: I got an end-of-year deal on this, and it’s definitely worth it. I can’t see paying anywhere near MSRP for one, but if you get a deal it’s hard to argue with a decent all-round vehicle that’s warrantied for five years.

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P.S. I’ve been drinking sake and saw that I wrote a lot. I apologize for rambling.