To All The Cars I’ve Loved Before – Why I Drive A Kia Forte

Drew Bennett Kia Forte Lease Day
The Day I started my new Kia Forte Lease - Photo: Drew Bennett

In all honesty, you only need a car to get yourself from point A to point B in relative comfort and safety.

All other options, accessories, sport packages and trim colors are just gravy.

Sort of…

While a car is essentially just a mode of transportation it also reflects your own personality and attitude. It is also a necessity for many reasons like the number of children you have and how long the commute is to your job. Do you go out on outdoor adventures and need to carry along things like bikes, kayaks or skis? What vehicle will fit best to the life that you are living? In my nearly 30 years of driving my needs have certainly changed and so has my decision making process when buying or leasing cars.

1985 Pontiac Grand Prix

Like the legendary ‘Bigfoot’ photo there is only one grainy photo of me with my first car, the Pontiac Grand Prix.
Photo: Drew Bennett

During My Carefree Single Days 

My first car was a 1985 Pontiac Grand Prix. We bought it from my Dad’s friend. I was told that it was “babied” for years. I think that we had different ideas about what babied meant. However, I loved driving that rear wheel drive car and would often take it to the back roads on wintry days to work on how to control skids and fishtailing. I’d drive my friends to school each morning in that car, too. Gas was cheap and so were my passengers when it came time to kick in for it.

I had that car for two years and then I went off to college. As a college Freshman, I could not have a car on campus. My sister didn’t want to drive my car. She called it a deathtrap. So, my dad sold the car while I was gone. I loved that car.

1977 Dodge Van

1977 Doge Van – Photo: Drew Bennett

When I graduated college I drove a 1977 Dodge van that was in pristine shape because it had been in a garage for years. I learned how to drive a standard with that van. I learned in a trial by fire on a hot Summer’s day in 1992 on the Bourne Bridge in bumper to bumper traffic with no AC all on my own. I used to be able to carry everything I owned in that van including a full sized couch. I loved that van.

1992 Volvo 740 Turbo

1992 Volvo 740 Turbo – College Days – Photo: Drew Bennett

After college, I drove a 1992 Volvo 740 Turbo. I drove that car for a few years until the ceiling deteriorated and began to fall down. I had also gone through several sets of tires. I put a ton of money into that car. Then one day I went out to buy comic books and came home with the first brand new car of my own. I did love the turbo on that Volvo, though.

I had been finding my way to the type of car that best suited my needs.

2002 Honda Civic Ex Kayak

2002 Honda Civic EX – With Kayak Racks – Photo: Drew Bennett

Small, Practical and Fun to Drive

My first brand new car was a 2002 Honda Civic EX. I walked on to the lot looked around and found a black four-door that I liked. I was going to pick blue but my girlfriend gave me so much grief about everything that I owned being blue like my Volvo, my kayak, and my bike. So I opted for black. Black with blue flecks in the paint job.

2002 Honda Civic Ex

2002 Honda Civic EX with Plenty of Bumper Stickers – Photo: Drew Bennett

Further Reading: 4 Steps to a Beach Ready Car

Then I walked into the office and found a salesperson, told them I wanted to buy the car and we worked out the details of my trade-in and monthly payments. I drove that car for the next 13 years and over 200,000 miles. It was a practical car that got me back and forth to work. It was nothing special to look at but it was always reliable. I loved that car up until the day I drove it onto the Kia lot.

Then I Met Kia

In 2012 I worked with Kia to promote the Big Game commercial for the Kia Optima. The commercial featured the rock band Motley Crue and their song ‘Kickstart My Heart’. That was sort of an anthem song for me and always makes me goose the gas pedal a bit when it comes on the radio.

I looked a little bit closer at Kia after that. So, when the time came in 2015 for me to push, pull and tow my aged Honda Civic onto the Kia lot I took a look at the Optima, saw it was too rich for my blood and then test drove a Kia Forte. The car was comparable to my Honda Civic but I liked the look and the lines of it much more and so I leased one.

2015 Kia Forte

2015 Kia Forte – Photo: Drew Bennett

Because Adulting…

At this point, I was a dad with two kids. I worked weekend nights and used my car primarily to drive to work and back. I also took the kids around to activities. I chose the car because of the price as well as the large trunk for all the things I would haul around.

Further Reading: Growing Family? Our Tips for Choosing the Best Cars for New Parents

I like driving a small car because it has everything I need. This was a no-frills car, it didn’t even have a remote keyless entry, something the 13-year-old car that I had just traded in had. This was something I hadn’t realized until I had signed the papers on the lease.

It made for some interesting times running errands with my active 3-year-old son. I wasn’t happy about going back to using a key to unlock my doors like I did with my first car in 1990. I got past that, though and began to appreciate my Kia Forte for other reasons.

2008 Kia Forte

My new Kia Forte getting a poor man’s car wash. This time I made sure that it has a remote keyless entry! – Photo: Drew Bennett

Liked The Kia Forte So Much I Leased One Again

I must have liked driving one because when it came time to turn over the lease I opted to get a new lease with a 2018 Kia Forte. This time I went back to blue, my favorite color. It is actually called Deep Sea Blue and I love that color. I also like the overall look of the car, especially the front end. It is not as aggressive and lean a front end as the Kia Stinger, but it does have some style. I want that  (a Kia Stinger) to be my next car which I’ll be calling my mid-life crisis, yet affordable, car.

Drew Bennett Kia Forte Car Wash

My Kia Forte got an actual car wash for this photo shoot.  Photo: Drew Bennett


Drew Bennett Kia Forte Clean

My Kia Forte is fresh and clean from the first car wash. Photo: Drew Bennett

Why The Kia Forte

There are a number of practical reasons why I chose the Kia Forte, too. The Forte gets great gas mileage. This is great for me because I commute to work around 60 miles each day. Luckily, I only work on weekend overnights, so there is no traffic. Also, because I work that abbreviated schedule I can still fall within my lease mileage allotment.

Drew Bennett Front Grille Kia Forte

I love the look of the front end of this Kia Forte. Photo: Drew Bennett

Further Reading: Meet the 2017 Kia Forte: Affordable, Reliable and the Perfect Commuter Car

I find the interior of the Kia Forte is quiet and comfortable. I can enjoy the radio without excessive wind noise.

Drew Bennett Kia Forte Interior

I do not like clutter and so I made sure that the wire to power my phone was tucked away nice and tight.  Photo: Drew Bennett

All the buttons are dials and things are exactly where I need them to be. I am way more practical now and instead of paying extra to have an integrated UVO system I did my own thing with a CD changer mount and the Android Auto program on my phone. I can play all my favorite songs, navigate and also make calls or reply to texts using my voice.

Drew Bennett Kia Forte Clean

A View of my Kia Forte’s front seats. My sweet nav system, Tazmanian Devil Floor Mats and Iron Man Cup Holder Base.  Photo: Drew Bennett

The windshield is nice and big to be able to scan for any potential problems on the road, too. The trunk space on the Kia Forte is pretty decent, too. It is nearly identical to my Honda Civic, so much so that the rubberized trunk protector that I bought for my Civic fit perfectly in my Forte. I have plenty of room to carry my kayaking gear, groceries and a good sized trunk organizer filled with the essentials.

Recycled Trunk Liner

Yes, my trunk liner says Civic. It is nearly 20 years old and is still in perfect shape and it fits perfectly in the Kia Forte trunk. Photo: Drew Bennett

Even though the car is a smaller sized commuter car it does have some go to it. The Kia Forte is responsive when I need to close a gap around a slow-moving driver. It even has some oomph to it when I feel the need to goose the gas when ‘Kickstart my Heart’ plays on Sirius XM’s Hair Nation.

Drew Bennett Kia Forte Comic Books

The first thing I do now after buying or leasing a car is go and get comic books.Photo: Drew Bennett

What I Listen To In My Kia Forte

Drew loves a challenge, so he decided to take a photo every day for a year. He ended up... More about Andrew Bennett