Here’s our latest review: 2014 Kia Forte EX
The 2014 Kia Forte has thrown away its boring economy car duds for a stylish exterior that will make you forget about every Kia compact sedan before it. As the latest model in Kia’s lineup to get Kia’s new stylish design language, the 2014 Forte is now one of the most stylish models in the crowded compact sedan segment.
Back in 1994 Kia arrived in the U.S. with the boxy Sephia that only drew buyers into Kia’s showroom because of its bargain basement price. Now 20 years later Kia’s compact sedan is now wrapped in an aggressive and sporty exterior with the latest version of Kia’s “Tiger Nose” grille. It’s broad shoulders and sculpted panels give it a more confident appearance than the last Forte.
Inside the new Forte features a well designed layout with materials that would never be labeled cheap. Our Forte EX featured an all black interior with chrome accents. It also had so many features that it was hard to keep track of them all. A ventilated driver’s seat, heated front and rear seats, rear A/C vents, the UVO infotainment system and dual-zone climate control were features that most people wouldn’t normally expect on a Kia compact sedan and probably not even in the compact segment.
The Forte is offered with a choice of a 148-hp 1.8L or 173-hp 2.0L four-cylinder engine. The 1.8L, which is standard on the LS trim, can be equipped with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. The more powerful 2.0L is part of the EX trim level and can only be equipped with the six-speed automatic. The 1.8L is rated at 25/37 with the manual and 25/36 with the automatic. The 2.0L is rated at 24/36 mpg.
On the road the Forte does everything well, but is not as fun to drive as it’s sporty exterior would lead you to believe. Our Forte EX pulled confidently from a stop with a 0-60 mph time around eight seconds and its six-speed automatic shifts were smooth. Nothing about the way the Forte drives will throughly excite you, but there’s also not much to complain about. It handles competently and it’s interior is very quiet. The Forte does feature a new FlexSteer system that allows the driver to select between three power steering assist modes, but the differences between the three modes is so small, that most people won’t even notice it.
With a starting price just under $16k the 2014 Forte is a great value and even though our EX model topped out at $25k, it was packed full of many luxury features that aren’t even available on other models in this class. Although the Forte is not nearly as fun to drive as a Mazda3, it’s more enjoyable than the Nissan Sentra and with its fuel efficient engines and long warranty, the Kia Forte is now one of the best all around models in the compact segment.
Pros: Stylish exterior, long list of luxury features, quiet interior
Cons: Not very exciting to drive, no blind spot monitoring system, rear seat headroom
2014 Kia Forte EX:
Base Price: $20,200
Price as Tested: $25,400