2014 Kia Forte delivers economy and value
The trend continues with Kia: its cars keep improving. The latest Kia vehicle to move up in status is the Kia Forte, now an impressive compact.
The redesigned Forte is longer, lower and wider than previous models. And as a result, the car is rather roomy inside.
Many savvy car-shoppers will notice that the 2014 Kia Forte looks quite different. It has more curves and angular lines, a lower roofline, and new grille design. It's easily the sharpest looking Forte - ever!
The Forte, which is offered in a sedan, coupe or hatchback, provides a generous list of standard features in the base model (LX), including Bluetooth and an iPod interface; xenon headlights, a voice command system, keyless ignition/entry, six-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio and USB/iPod/auxiliary input jacks.
2014 Kia Forte
- Performance: 1.8-liter, four-cylinder, 148 horsepower; 2.0-liter, four-cylinder, 173 horsepower
- Mileage estimate range: 25-37 mpg
- Price: $15,900 to $20,900
- Warranty: 5 years/60,000 miles; drivetrain 10 years/100,000 miles; roadside assistance 5 years/60,000; corrosion 5 years/100,000
The standard equipment also includes heated front and rear seats, a very unexpected nicety.
Although the Forte remains a commuter car, the "new" version has fairly good performance for its class. The standard engine is a 1.8-liter, four-cylinder that produces 148 horsepower and 131 pound-feet of torque. For more power, the EX is a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder that delivers 173 horsepower and 154 pound-feet of torque. It goes 0-60 mph in 8.1 seconds.
The Forte coupe will soon be available with a turbocharged 1.6-liter engine - so getting a model with added performance is not a problem if that's your thing.
However, note that none of these Forte engines excels in the fuel economy. The average is 25-37 mpg.
Also note that there is lots of competition. The Ford Focus is much improved and the Mazda 3 continues to do well. And both offer better fuel economy. The Honda Civic and Volkswagen Jetta are also strong competitors, along with the Chevrolet Cruze and Hyundai Elantra, which is somewhat of a Forte knockoff.
Never something to be overlooked, Kia (and Hyundai) give the best warranties in the industry. The Forte has a general warranty of 5 years/60,000 miles; drivetrain 10 years/100,000 miles; roadside assistance 5 years/60,000; and corrosion 5 years/100,000.
The Forte may not be sporty, but it does offer a nice composed, quiet ride. The automatic transmission goes through its gear changes with efficiency and very little noise. The steering and handling will leave the driver feeling confident.
Also to be admired is the Forte interior, which is highlighted by a handsome cabin that has a fair amount of soft-touch material. There's good leg and head room for all occupants and the trunk space is generous for the class at 14.9 cubic feet.
We're a big fan of the 2014 Kia Forte, which features many admirable qualities. It offers comfort, solid performance, looks good, and is still a pretty good bargain, although the sticker price continues to rise. It short, the Forte delivers both economy and value.
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