Great styling, acceptable fuel economy and impressive cabin tech do not make the totally redesigned 2014 Kia Forte look like an economy car. Find out how this Kia compact shines in the class.
UNDER THE HOOD
A 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine powers the base Forte sedan with 148 horsepower and 131 pound-feet of torque. A 6-speed manual or automatic distributes the power to the front wheels.
The Forte EX has a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine with 173 horsepower and 154 pound-feet of torque. A 6-speed automatic transmission is standard all models, but a manual gearbox is optional on the coupe.
The SX models (coupe and hatchback only) get a turbocharged 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine that makes 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. It can be paired with either a 6-speed manual or automatic transmission.
The EPA fuel economy estimates for the 2014 Kia Forte are as follows:
|Kia Forte sedan LX (1.8L 4-cyl, manual)||25/37/29|
|Kia Forte sedan LX (1.8L 4-cyl, automatic)||25/36/29|
|Kia Forte sedan EX (2.0L 4-cyl, automatic)||24/36/28|
|Kia Forte Koup EX (2.0L 4-cyl, manual)||24/33/27|
|Kia Forte Koup EX (2.0L 4-cyl, automatic)||25/34/28|
|Kia Forte Koup SX (1.6L 4-cyl, manual & automatic)||22/29/25|
|Kia Forte Forte5 EX (2.0L 4-cyl, automatic)||25/34/28|
|Kia Forte Forte5 SX (1.6L 4-cyl, manual & automatic)||21/29/24|
ON THE ROAD
The all-new Kia Forte has a wide range of engine and transmission choices. With that in mind, the Forte’s performance heavily depends on what’s under the hood. For example, the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder with 173 horsepower is stronger than the base 1.8-liter. It does not deliver impressive acceleration, though, but it’s noticeably quicker than the typical engine in the class. The automatic transmission shifts smoothly and downshifts responsively.
The 1.6-liter turbocharged engine provides a sprightlier driving experience in both the coupe and hatchback models. Both manual and automatic work well with this engine, but the former is more fun.
In general, the Forte steers precisely and is stable in corners. Higher trim levels offer driver-selectable steering which allows the driver to adjust steering effort. Ride quality is okay, but it sometimes feels unrefined.
INSIDE THE 2014 FORTE
What we find impressive about the 2014 Forte is the gadget-packed interiors of the more expensive models in the lineup. The base models have the essentials and a nice cabin with good-quality materials. But the higher trim levels offer high-tech features which Kia’s premium rivals are also offering.
The seats, whether they’d be in cloth or leather, are comfortable and well-bolstered. Rear seats in the hatchback and sedan are spacious even for taller passengers. Cargo spaces in all models are big for a compact car. The sedan has a nearly 15-cubic-foot trunk. The coupe offers 13.3 cubic feet of space. And the hatchback has a spacious 23.2 cubic feet of cargo area.
The 2014 Kia Forte sedan is available in two trim levels: the LX and the EX. The Forte LX comes standard with 15-inch steel wheels, 4-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3/SiriusXM audio system, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, USB/auxiliary jacks, Bluetooth, electric power steering, trip computer, cloth seating surfaces, and 60/40 split-folding rear seats.
The EX model adds active eco system, 16-inch alloy wheels, LED turn signals, UVO system, rearview camera, driver-selectable steering, fog lights, cruise control, cooling glove box, keyless entry, automatic headlights, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and rear-seat center armrest with cup holders.
The 2-door and 5-door Fortes come in EX or SX trim level. The EX trim for these models has most of the standard features that go with the sedan LX and EX. The SX trim adds black-pearl door handles, dual chrome exhaust tips, LED fog lights, Perimeter Approach Lighting, 18-inch alloy wheels, and keyless ignition with push-button start.
Optional features include but are not limited to:
- 17-inch alloy wheels (sedan)
- HD radio
- navigation system
- keyless ignition with push-button start (sedan)
- leather seats
- sport seats (Koup, Forte5)
- 10-way power driver’s seat with memory function
- ventilated driver’s seat
- heated steering wheel
- auto-dimming rearview mirror
- power sunroof
- xenon headlights
- 4.2-inch TFT LCD display
- dual-zone automatic climate control
- heated front seats
- heated rear seats (sedan, Forte5)