The all-new 2014 Kia Forte is longer, wider, lower than before and offers more room, more performance and more premium amenities. It is offered in LX and EX variants with a choice of an efficient 1.8 liter engine or a more powerful 2.0 liter engine that I tested in the EX model. Slotted between the Rio sub-compact sedan and the best-selling Optima mid-size sedan, the all-new 2014 Forte include a host of unexpected optional features in a package that easily accommodates five people and their cargo.
With an aggressive low and wider stance showing broad shoulders and a steeply raked windshield, the look is definitely sporty and with the four windows at the profile it seems longer and sleeker. Up front are dramatically swept HID headlight lenses cut deeply into the front fenders. LED positioning lights create distinct eyebrows and the Kia grille is framed with chrome. Below the grille is another air-intake with a splitter below, foglamps at the side and a flat tray underneath to help with front airflow. The gentle sculpting along the Forte’s lower borders taper the sheet metal inward, affording the car a taut, nimble appearance without diminishing its road presence. The profile also features a ‘hockey puck’ chrome strip, chrome pull-out door handles, and aero-styled power-remote sideview mirrors with repeater turn-signals. In the back the up-kicked fender line and trunk design, with its deep horizontal crease, lend width and allure while allowing the complex curve of the LED taillights to flow over the rear haunches. The trunk features a lip at the rear to enhance downforce, and a wide, round polished stainless steel exhaust tip out the bottom right side under the bumper. The look is so complete that it looks like it is moving when parked.
The Forte EX enhances the driving experience with a 2.0 liter, all-aluminum, DOHC, Gasoline Direct Injected inline four-cylinder engine that features dual continuously variable valve timing and a lightweight intake manifold that reduces weight by 30% of a cast unit. The aluminum bed plate located below the cylinder block reduces engine NVH (noise, vibration, harshness) levels and improves block rigidity by 30%. It generates 173hp at 6,500rpm and 154lb.ft. of toque at 4,700rpm for quick launches and easy highway cruising.
This potent engine is hooked up to a standard, smooth shifting six-speed automatic transmission with Sportronic manual shifting turning the front wheels.
For a smoother, sportier ride, the all-new Forte drives on a chassis that is longer by 1.2 inches, lower by 0.6 inches and wider by 0.2 inches. With its 106.3 inch wheelbase, two inches longer than before, the all-new Forte uses a MacPherson strut front suspension with coil springs and a stabilizer bar. The rear features a coupled torsion beam rear axle setup with coil springs, gas-charged shocks and a stabilizer bar to help inhibit body lean when driving through curving roads. Piloting the all-new Forte is fun and exciting with on-center steering feel that is improved utilizing larger bushings and revised front suspension geometry. The unique electric power steering system has replaced the hydraulic system from before reducing parasitic load. The optional Flex Steer on my EX model puts you firmly in control with settings for Comfort, Normal and Sport, which vary steering effort at the touch of a steering wheel-mounted button. I really like the system because when cruising on the highway you can push for Normal, when looking for a parking space when shopping you can push for comfort and when seeking curving roads you can push the Sport mode.
Quickly and safely slowing the all-new Forte EX down from speed are power-assisted four-wheel disc brakes. Up front are 11 inch vented discs and 10.3 inch solid discs in the rear. Each brake is clamped with single-piston calipers. Keeping you in control during severe braking maneuvers or when braking on slick or wet pavement are standard ABS, BA, Traction Control, Electronic Stability Control, Vehicle Stability Management and Hill Start Assist Control.
The all-new 2014 Kia Forte EX rides on large, 17X7 inch aluminum alloy wheels wrapped with Nexen 215/45R17 inch low-profile, high-performance, all-season radial tires for a smooth, quiet and controlled ride.
The doors open wide to reveal a cabin sculpted in organic curves surrounded by leather and high-quality soft-to-the-touch materials. It is a simple yet serine interior with all of the needs a sport oriented driver and family needs for everyday comfort and convenience. The driver-centric cabin is canted 10-degrees to you for easy reach. Large, easy-to-read instruments dominate the cluster and secondary controls fall easily to your hand. The EX’s interior is loaded with the latest in luxury, convenience, infotainment and safety features. The 4.2 inch LCD screen between the white-on-black gauges in the EX provides trip and ancillary vehicle information front and center for easy viewing. The leather seats up front are comfortable and supportive with your side power-adjustable 10-ways/heated/cooled with lumbar support. The front passenger seat is manual but also heated. Tasteful chrome bezels ring the dual-zone automatic climate controls with rear seat vents at the end of the center console’s armrest. Also standard in the EX are power windows/door locks, Navigation system with Sirius Satellite Radio and eight speakers, power sliding sunroof, Bluetooth hands free phone integration, power mirrors, UVO eServices Telematics with rear camera display, USB/auxiliary input jacks, 60/40 split folding rear seat with center armrest and dual cupholders, front console with accordion covered storage bin, dual cupholders/armrest, remote keyless entry, cruise control, variable speed wipers/washers, leather-wrapped/tilt/telescoping steering wheel with audio/Bluetooth/cruise control buttons, leather-wrapped stick shifter, auto on/off headlights, 2-person seat memory, heated outboard rear seats, auto-dimming rearview mirror, dual map lights, grab handles above each passenger door, engine immobilizer, Supervision Meter Instrument Cluster, storage slots in each door, carpeted floor mats, dual lighted vanity mirrors, remote fuel door and trunk openers. Standard safety features include dual front advanced airbags, front-seat mounted side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, 5-3-point safety belts with front pretensioners/load limiters, front/rear crumple zones, steel beams in each door, LATCH system for child seats, and a tire pressure monitoring system.
Kia has done it again, bringing to market an improved Forte sedan in an upscale EX trim. It is sleeker, wider, longer, better performing than before and contains a cabin that is more user friendly, comfortable and safer than before at a very reasonable price of just $24,715.00 for the loaded model that I tested.
COPYRIGHT: 2013: HARVEY SCHWARTZ