Tri-County news • Fall Auto Guide • Thursday, October 27, 2016
Little things, big ride
Kia Forte packs a lot of features into 2017 models By Mark Sherry A lot of little things add up to make the 2017 Kia Forte a big driving experience. “We’re getting a lot of interest in this car,” said Sales Consultant Jim Chasteen of Dick Brantmeier FordLincoln-Kia in Sheboygan. While Chasteen said much of that interest is coming from young professionals, that is certainly not the exclusive customer segment for the Forte. Helping to make the vehicle attractive to anyone is the great lease package currently being offered by Dick Brantmeier Ford-Lincoln-Kia through the end of the year—$259 per month with a $1,500 down payment. The Forte I test drove had a sticker price of just $22,991, so purchasing the vehicle is a great option as well. What struck me most about the Forte are all the amenities available to the driver. The steering wheel contains as many controls as I’ve ever seen on a vehicle, including all the audio system controls and the cruise control functions. Those two things are not unusual in today’s vehicles, but there just seems to be more and varied buttons and knobs on the Forte’s steering wheel. I also was impressed by the metal gas and brake pedals in the S Premium version of the Forte which I drove, as well as a matching metal left foot rest plate to save on wearing down interior carpeting. The S Premium package is new for 2017 and, according to Chasteen, puts together some of the most desired features of the Kia Forte. For a vehicle with a sticker price in the low twenties, the 2017 Kia Forte just has a lot going for it. That list includes ventilated and heated driver and front passenger seats, power seats with memory settings, dual-zone automatic temperature controls, and very ample and accessible storage compartments— always a big key with my lifestyle. The Forte also does not skimp in the
The 2017 Kia Forte area of technology. “Essentially these are computers in the car,” Chasteen said. From voice-command navigation to Bluetooth wireless and SiriusXM satellite radio, the Forte has it all. That list continues in the area of safety where blind spot detection, autonomous emergency braking, and lane departure warning systems are offered. “It makes the driving experience potentially safer,” Chasteen added. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are offered as part of the entertainment aspects of the vehicle. Simply connect your compatible smartphone with a USB cable and then be able to use the vehicle to navigate to destinations, make phone calls, retrieve voice mails and text messages, and respond
to them verbally. Compatible apps are also displayed on the seven-inch color touch screen. While the Forte I drove is classified as a compact car, there are three models available including the crossoversized Koup. Like all Kia models, the Forte comes with an industry-leading 10-year, 100,000-mile warranty. Other features available in the Kia Forte include a power sunroof, paddle shifters, and a Smart Trunk feature which automatically unlocks the trunk if you stand behind it for three seconds with the Smart Key in your possession. That would be especially appreciated if your hands are full. Under the hood of the Forte I drove was a 2L four-cylinder which provided
more than ample power to cruise at highway speeds. With various drive modes available—including Eco and Sport—the Forte has a 38 mpg highway rating, although Chasteen said some customers have reported doing even better than that. Chasteen also said reliability ratings continue to be very high on Kia models—in other words, fewer trips to the repair shop are needed compared to other makes of vehicles. Some Kia models are made at the company’s $1.1 billion manufacturing plant in West Point, Georgia which employs over 15,000 people. Check out the Kia Forte at Dick Brantmeier Ford-Lincoln-Kia, 3624 Kohler Memorial Dr., Sheboygan.
Experts suggest replacing wiper blades annually With all the rain Wisconsin has endured this year and now the snow season not far off, the Russ Darrow Group reminds drivers of the importance of properly functioning windshield wipers during heavy rains. Automotive experts suggest that drivers replace windshield wipers annually. “According to reviews from Consumer Reports, most wipers begin to decrease in effectiveness after approximately six months,” said Chuck Moeller, service director at Russ Darrow Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram in Milwaukee. “Poorly functioning wipers can make visibility difficult in rainy conditions and lead to dangerous driving situations.” Being without properly functioning windshield wipers in the rain or a storm can decrease visibility and cause accidents. “During rain or harsher conditions, your vehicle’s wipers can quickly clear away rain and mud from your field of vision,” Moeller said. “Worn blades lose their effectiveness over time, severely reducing your visibility and can even damage your windshield.” There are two common types of windshield wiper. The first is the traditional
bracket-style wiper blade, which are the best performing style in rainy conditions; however, the metal framework of these wipers tends to freeze in cold or snowy conditions, causing poor wiping performance. The other common windshield wiper type is a beam blade. In contrast to bracket-style blades, beam wipers consist of one blade with support built in. This wiper blade type performs far better in winter weather than bracket-style wipers, but can sometimes leave streaks on windshields in rainy conditions. Keeping a car’s windshield clear of dirt and debris is the best method for ensuring proper function from windshield wipers. Moeller recommends monthly inspection of windshield wipers, and that a pair of windshield wipers should always be replaced at the same time. When it comes to choosing which windshield wipers to purchase, the best course of action is to research. “Consumer Reports provides extensive reviews of windshield wiper types and brands,” Moeller said. “Wipers perform differently on various vehicle models and drivers are advised to research the
best wiper for their specific vehicle. At our service centers, Darrow certified and trained technicians have the knowledge
to check and replace windshield wipers from a selection of top-of-the-line, name brand wipers.”
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