Highlights: The current-generation Forte is based-off the same platform as the Hyundai Elantra. A restyled two-door coupe and a turbo model pushing out over 200 horses will be joining the line up soon.
Test vehicle’s MSRP: $25,400 (Base Price Starts at $16,700)
Seating Capacity: 5 occupants
Standard Safety Features: airbags (front, seat-mounted, curtain); a Tire Pressure Monitoring System; vehicle stability system; ABS; hill start assist and traction control
Standard Equipment: 15-inch tires; automatic headlights; manual driver’s seat; steering wheel mounted audio controls; tilt/telescopic steering wheel; and cloth seats
Standard Audio: AM/FM/CD/Sirius satellite radio
Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles
Powertrain Warranty: 10 years or 100,000 miles
Bluetooth Compatibility: available
ipod Capability: available
An USB audio interface: available
Standard Engine/Horsepower: 1.8-liter, 148-horsepower
Standard Fuel Mileage: 25-city/36-hwy
Fuel Type: Regular
What’s New: The 2014 Kia Forte drops its stodgy image, offering a curvaceous, stylish design. The Forte also offers a more contemporary feel inside the cabin with features that will rival luxury vehicles that cost three times as much. This year’s model offers such features as an automatic dual ventilation system, a heated steering wheel and a ventilated driver’s seat.
Pros: The 2014 Kia Forte offers a fresh, contemporary design, which mimics its sibling, the Hyundai Elantra. The roomy, fuel-efficient Forte offers a host of premium features, depending on the trim level.
We were fortunate to spend a week behind the wheel of the well-equipped 2014 Forte EX. The vehicle was outfitted with 17-inch wheels, leather perforated seats, a rear back up camera with sensors, heated rear seats, a push-button keyless starter, illuminated outside door handles, a navigation system, a dual zone automatic temperature control system, an adjustable front sliding center armrest and auto dimming rearview mirror with a compass, a memory control driver’s seat and a power driver’s memory which slides back-and-forth for easy access to exit.
The stylish Forte EX we reviewed also included automatic folding side view mirrors, LED headlights and LED taillights.
Moreover, the 2014 Forte offers buyers a choice of engines. Our Forte was equipped with the peppier 4-cylinder engine, which pushed out 173 horses, as opposed to the 148 horses in the base model. A turbo model, pushing out over 200 horses is joining the line up soon.
Cons: Our Forte EX included $5,000 in additional equipment. As Kia continues to move its pricing North, consumers may experience sticker shock and may not be willing to pay $25,000 for a compact, although the vehicle is equipped with a number of premium features.
To put this pricing in perspective, Mercedes has just launched an entry level four-door sedan, which kicks off at $30,000. No, it won’t be as well-equipped as this loaded-up Kia, until options are added-on, which will drive up the price of the baby Mercedes. The Kia is actually priced more than its sibling the Hyundai Elantra, which is supposed to be more luxurious.
Moreover, while the Forte offers consumers a 10-year warranty, most buyers in this segment are more than likely to stay with established vehicles like Corolla and Civic due to its proven track record.
Furthermore, the Forte offers buyers three steering settings: comfort, sport and economy. Unfortunately, it is difficult to distinguish between characteristics.
The Verdict: The Forte is one of the last vehicles in the competitive compact segment to be restyled. The curvaceous, stylish Forte offers a lot of bang for the buck, depending upon the trim and options selected. Consumers willing to give the Forte a try will be equally impressed by its roomy interior and feature-rich options such as a heated steering wheel, rear heated seats and a push-button keyless starter. The amenities available in Forte are what one would expect in premium class brands like Jaguar and BMW.
Competition: Chevy Cruze, Dodge Dart, Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Mazda3, Nissan Sentra and Toyota Corolla
About The Reviewer: Jeff Fortson is an auto analyst and editor of a car-buying website for women and minorities. To learn more about his popular car-buying workshop and/or to price a new-vehicle, drive on over to JeffCars.com. Follow him http://twitter.com/#!/JeffCars/.