2014 Kia Forte Review – A Knockout in the Small Car Segment

2014 kia forte

Kia recently has been showing it's muscle with redesigned cars that not only look better but also have better refinements inside their cars too.  On my short test drive with the 2014 Kia Forte I was impressed by this small car and the work that Kia has done to it make a truly competitive car.

So here's my 2014 Kia Forte Review and I'll start off with the design of the exterior as this is the first thing you see.

Exterior

The Forte’s new design is quite beautiful and pleasing to the eyes.  It feels bold but it doesn't have too much bling or odd lines that distracts the eye and distorts the design (exactly what bean counters are notorious for wrecking).  It's a good blend to appeal to the mass market but still adds styling for those with discerning taste.  I test drove the Kia Forte EX trim line which came with chrome looking trim accents and upgraded wheels which made the car feel a bit more upscale.  What's most noticeable though on the Forte is the front fenders and grille blending in with the bird eye headlamps though.  I like the “derriere” of the Forte as it has nice taillights along with a simple design.

Kia Forte Interior

If there is one place where the Kia Forte delivered the knockout blow it's got to be the interior.  Basically from the moment you get in and slam the door you already can feel the Kia is an all around better and more sturdy car.  Once you are inside and in the driver's the interior stands out from other small cars I've driver in this class.  It's quite pretty and comfortable

On the EX model I drove it was decked out with chrome accents and emblems which added to the overall you are not in “old Kia.”  What's more noticeably than accents are the interesting use of gills in the dashboard on the passenger side which adds some texture and a feeling of motion.  Kia designers also outfitted the door panels with gills giving a sense of refinement you rarely see in this small car segment, even on Japanese competitors.  The infotainment screen is also nicely blended into the dashboard with slick curves and angles but not in a way that makes you uneasy.  Leather seating finishes off the design and comfort.  My first thought in the Kia Forte was, “This cabin is incredible.”

Seating and Trunk Space

Legroom in the front and rear is decent for a small car.  I didn't have a problem anywhere in the Kia Forte.  Although like most cars in this segment tall people will not enjoy sitting in the backseat for long periods, but who can blame them?

Regarding trunk space I felt it was good for small sedan.  Perfect as a grocery-getter or going out to the hardware store for working on the house.

Forte Powertrain

The model I drove was equipped with the 2.0 liter 173-horsepower four-cylinder engine with a six-speed automatic transmission.  This powertrain setup gives you a very decent 28 mpg (24 city/36 highway) driving.   The Kia Forte gets you to 0-60 mph in roughly 8 seconds.

Driving Impressions

Driving the 2014 Kia Forte for only a short period of time my impression was it's handling is decent for the class.  It is not sporty but I felt the steering was agile and it put the car where I wanted it to go without any fuss.  The powertrain shifts should be fine for daily drivers as it is smooth and I didn't feel like there was any problem revving the engine 173-hp engine and getting power from it when needed.  Basically the engine delivers power when needed and sips fuel nicely when it is not.  The Kia Forte delivers a nice driving experience and is somewhat above par for this class in my opinion.

While cruising down the road I was further impressed with the interior by how silent it is in the cabin.

Would you buy the 2014 Kia Forte?

Being an auto journalist I get asked this question a lot.  Unfortunately I can't answer  with a definitive “Yes” or “No” as I only had about 30 minutes in the 2014 Kia Forte I drove.  This isn't enough time to really assess the functionality of the infotainment system, driving in all road conditions, and other Forte features.  This was a friend's vehicle and not a press loaner from Kia.  I'd be happy to test drive a Kia Forte, or another Kia, for a full week if I was offered though.

Before I'd buy the Kia Forte sedan I'd personally like to drive the Kia Forte hatchback as that adds more trunk space and storage capacity without upgrading to a larger car.  It seems hatchbacks in the US market have become much more popular and I haven't driven the hatchback Forte to compare.

Final Thoughts

Along with better exterior designs that are eye catching, refined engines and transmissions, and improved interiors Kia has come far.  The 2014 Kia Forte shows this on all fronts and with a nice amount of standard features, like all Kias, for the price it's just a small car that delivers a knockout in the segment.  Cars like the Kia Forte must have executives at Japanese and American auto companies on their toes.  It feels like Kia is the fighter that nobody was expecting would deliver any serious blows, but has.  Kia isn't a just a “cheap car brand” but in my opinion provides great value for the money and I'm sure there are a lot of happy 2014 Kia Forte drivers out there.

Unsure if the Kia Forte can pull buyers away from the mighty Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic which are leaders in this small car class, but I wouldn't be surprised if some buyers opted for the Kia.  It adds great contemporary styling with a price tag that suits a lot of wallets.

If you have any questions about the 2014 Kia Forte, please leave them below and I will answer any questions as best as I can.  If you own a Kia Forte and want to leave a comment about what your experience has been like as an owner I'd be happy to hear.

2014 Kia Forte EX Specifications

Powertrain: 2.0 liter 173-horsepower engine with 131 lb-ft of torque, 6-speed automatic

Base Price : $19,400

MSRP (model tested): $25,500 (roughly)

Kia Needs A Different Ad Agency for the Super Bowl [Video]

Kia really had an amazingly bad Super Bowl commercial this year.  I mean I was watching it and just thought “WTF? They think this will make me want to actually buy a Kia Forte?”

Basically the commercial is a geeky guy checking out the 2014 Kia Forte while “Hotbots” stand guard around it.  When he gets too close one of the Hotbots kicks him, give him a wedgie, then throws him across the room.  Then music plays and you see the words “Respect the Tech” across the screen.

Not sure who or what ad and marketing agency came up with this commercial but they certainly need to be fired.  I think for next year's Super Bowl Kia should hire whoever did Hyundai's commercials.

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