Ownership Verified: You May Not Like It, But This Is What Peak Performance Looks Like - 2012 Kia Forte EX

rickhamilton620

has a fetish for terrible cars
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Nov 28, 2009
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Location
Yoe, PA
Car(s)
2012 Kia Forte EX
To make a long story short, the Jeep failed PA's safety inspection mainly due to a growing rust issue that spread on the underbody to suspension mounting components.

After taking oh...8 femtoseconds to determine that it wasn't financially worth it taking to the body shop to address this, I immediately wen't on the hunt for used cars.

My initial budget was $1500 bucks per usual but after looking at what I'd be getting for that, it was looking like a crapshoot.

I initially wanted another XJ as well, but finding 97+ models in non-rusty condition without astronomical mileage on the clock at a decent price point turned out to be a bit of a crapshoot.
There was a 94 that was loving restored but commanded a super high price because of it - nearly 5k.

After saving up a bit and looking in the 2500 range, I was like "Fuck this" and scored a used car loan from my bank - I played it conservative and asked for only 5k...in retrospect, I could have probably asked for $7500.

Two other bank enforced requirements: Must have under 150k miles, must be 2002 or newer.

With this cap in mind, I trawled Craigslist, CarGurus, and AutoTrader. My eye was initially on a Pathfinder but the more I read about the rust issues (and the bandaid fix offered) I got scared off. I test drove a 09 Nissan Cube that appeared to be fine on paper and in a initial test drive but turned out to be a complete nightmare once I got a Pre Purchase Inspection: it was lowered, showed signs of scraping, would need new tires and was leaking fluid at the axle/transmission connection. I inquired about a Sonata that ended up having hastily covered up rust repairs. I thought about a stick shift 09 Kia Soul but realized it came sans cruise control and because 09 base Souls were not DBW, the "Steering Wheel Swap" trick to gain it as described on the forums wouldn't work + the aftermarket kits got terrible reviews there too.

Meanwhile, CraigB found someone selling a 2012 Kia Forte with around 100k or so for $5400. I dismissed this, at the time, because I wanted something with a hatch + didn't want to drive something that a coworker in a diff department drives (a secretary in our admin building drives a 2016 Forte EX in black....).

However after going through so many bum offerings (and the Jeep's brakes continuing to get worse - they were due for replacement at inspection but the shop said not to put another dime into it) and seeing the Forte still there, I gave in and test drove it. It was decent, looked decent in the gray skies and torrential rain that I took the test drive in, and it was cheap. Done. Scheduled a PPI, gave a 100 buck deposit to hold the car and that was that.

After a 9 hour buying process due to the PPI (more on this later), loan closing (this was a fucking nightmare....), and tag/title work needing to happen on the same day, the Forte was mine on Tuesday.









It looks a bit better in photos than IRL - there's a few sizable dents on the passenger side doors, one or two on the driver's side and a couple very shallow ones on the decklid. I may eventually invest in some paintless dent repair on the more noticeable ones, then a detail/paint correction to hopefully address the fine swirly car wash scratches.











The interior is in decent shape for a 6 year old car with 100k plus on the clock - there's some signs of wear like the burns on the passenger's seat that I can't recall noticing during the test drive, a dome light I've had to fiddle with once so far to come on when the Door opens even though the switch is on "Door," and a small gouge in the soft touch trim and the radio surround (maybe a botched aftermarket install or theft attempt?) but overall not bad. Bluetooth works well - had to change Google Maps to treat nav directions as phone calls for the directions to sound through the audio system and I wish the default call volume was louder because of this. The system doesn't seem to save whatever volume I turn it too while the incoming call is taking place.

Sirius happens to be in a Satellite Radio preview special promotion and I've been enjoying it just playing me things programmatically without me having to think. However, if I add the newish Emo/Pop-Punk channel (The Emo Project) that I can't get during the preview, I only listen to like 5 or 6 Sat Radio channels. I'll stick with Spotify.

The cig burns bug me because I hate seat covers - in a year or two if it's still irritating, I may use my tax return have the seats re upholstered in faux-leather or something since I'd also be trying to get the exterior dent free. We'll see - I'll honestly probably forget about it. I did visit the local Kia dealer to order the All Weather Mats since the car came with none - they were surprisingly cheap: 30 bucks for a set of four. The parts lady thinks it could be because they may be discontinued soon. Good timing. I plan on not eating in the car and drinking water exclusively in it.

Performance wise it's got a 2.0L GEMA/World Engine shared between various Hyundai/Kia, Mitsubishi and Chrysler/FCA products mated to a 6-speed AT that it received after the Elantra moved to an improved version of it's platform in 2011. With 156hp it's not fun or speedy but it's comfortable. Ride is decent with only a bit of axle hop detected due to the torsion beam rear suspension.

I got this on a run from my house in Yoe to Grantham today and back again.


Took main highways to get there and back with speeds usually between 70 and 80 MPH Definitely not complaining about this MPG and I'll be interested to see how it'll do on my trip to Pittsburgh next week.

All isn't perfect with it - the PPI found that yes, as Spectre predicted there's a leak around the timing cover/oil pan seal area:




- it's apparently a common issue on these cars but according to forum posts by owners going to their dealer then checking under the aero undertray and engine religiously, dealers have found the right sealant to use to get it nipped in the bud + they didn't notice a lot of oil loss. Still, until I can schedule some time to have them check it, I'll keep an close eye on the level. I did negotiate the asking price to take this into account as well as the car needing new rear brake pads and wipers. With what what I saved on the price of the car plus my savings windfall I found elsewhere, things should be pretty good. The mechanics that did the PPI reassured me that, beyond those things, the car is in pretty good condition mechanically and should last me quite a while with proper care.

Overall, it's what I need right now, even if it's not what I necessarily want, despite liking it overall. It's something I won't be as emotionally invested in as the XJ, as dumb as it sounds. If (at the time) DaimlerChrysler made a 2002 or 03 Cherokee and I could find one with under 150k and a clean body...I'd be driving that. I fucking loved that thing and daydreamed at least once a day about making it into something just sick. I definitely won't be without one for too long....give me a year or two, and one will be in my parking space.

But this Forte will definitely be parked next to it.
 
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GRtak

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Hopefully this will be far less needy than the Jeep, and can last you for a few years.

By the way, you need to change your vehicle under your avatar.
 

SquareLeft

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Congrats, Rick

As above, this should provide you with comfortable, safe transportation and save you a bunch of money on both fuel and service.

And, as I've commented before, I worked for a good while in a dealership that sold Jeeps and I STILL don't get the fascination. I drove a bunch of them (new and used) while I was there and basically didn't like any of them! There must be something I'm missing, because the Jeepers were the most loyal (and demanding) owners we had...

SL
 

CrzRsn

Mr. Fedewhatever
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If (at the time) DaimlerChrysler made a 2002 or 03 Cherokee and I could find one with under 150k and a clean body...
Want a newer XJ? Beijing Jeep BJ4000 is your answer if you want the 4.0. Those were built until 2009. If engine doesn?t matter you could get a BAW Qishi as late as 2014. Just import one. How hard could it be.
 

Adunaphel

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Nice to see this new couch fort(e) of yours. Normally I'd say have fun, but that's not really a thing with this. So... Erm... Enjoyable travels!? ... Hassle-free motoring!? ... Happy saving up for a new XJ!?
 

LeVeL

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No more tales of Rick's shitbox woes? What are we even on this site for then?
 

Cowboy

My name is Sheridan
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It's very Rick! Congrats! Not sure about the loan to be brutally honest, but this should indeed provide reliable transportation at a lower cost and that is exactly what you need.
 
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Spectre

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Congrats, Rick

As above, this should provide you with comfortable, safe transportation and save you a bunch of money on both fuel and service.

And, as I've commented before, I worked for a good while in a dealership that sold Jeeps and I STILL don't get the fascination. I drove a bunch of them (new and used) while I was there and basically didn't like any of them! There must be something I'm missing, because the Jeepers were the most loyal (and demanding) owners we had...

SL
Because the good ones can do this out of the box:

[video=youtube;6z2nV8u-yHc]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6z2nV8u-yHc[/video]


Also, what sort of 'peak performance' is being referred to in the title of the thread? Peak beigeness? :p
 
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MWF

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:rolleyes: rick reverting to time after a period in the wilderness.

I know you have to use your common sense when buying a new vehicle but $7500 should surely have secured something less ibble* than this?

*'reliable, sensible, dependable and lots other words that end in "ibble" ' - Dave Lister
 

CraigB

Ich bin ein Kartoffel
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Congrats Rick! That MPG should pay for the car over the Jeep soon enough. :D
 

prizrak

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Congrats man, like others said, you likely won't be jonesing to take it out on the back roads but it's the car you need right now.
 

93Flareside

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There are people that mod/hoon Dodge Avengers. Nothing wrong with having fun with what you got.

Yes, that could be a euphemism for something. :)
 

thevictor390

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It's very Rick! Congrats! Not sure about the loan to be brutally honest, but this should indeed provide reliable transportation at a lower cost and that is exactly what you need.
I hate loans, but in this case I think a small loan might pay off in the long run. $1500 is NOT going to buy you a car that does not need repairs soon, if not immediately.

:rolleyes: rick reverting to time after a period in the wilderness.

I know you have to use your common sense when buying a new vehicle but $7500 should surely have secured something less ibble* than this?

*'reliable, sensible, dependable and lots other words that end in "ibble" ' - Dave Lister
Let's hope for the return of the XJ when the reliability and dependability affords him some extra spending cash :p
 

narf

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It's... a car. Nothing more, nothing less - given your history, I think that's good? Congrats :mouse:
 
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