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2014 Kia Forte - Good Things Do Come In Small Packages

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2014 Kia Forte

2014 Kia Forte Review

By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor, New York Bureau
The Auto Channel

It’s been about two years since I was behind the wheel of the Kia Forte. The opportunity to drive the new 2014 Forte came at the occasion of the early October Midwest Automotive Media Association Fall Rally.

I was looking for a way to get from Chicago’s O’Hare airport to the Fall Rally location in Joliet, Illinois. And, since there would be about 80 different vehicles to drive at this event it’s always a logistical exercise for the car companies and their support teams to get all the cars transported. For the 2014 Kia Forte I became the “transporter” of this car.

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The 2014 Kia Forte rides on an all-new chassis. And, not unlike many other cars in the compact class that have been re-designed, this new generation Forte is longer, lower and wider. So, it’s roomier and the powertrain is updated and more stuff is being offered to buyers.

The all-new 2014 Forte will be offered in two trims. An LX powered by a 148HP 1.8-L engine with a choice of either a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic transmission. And, an EX with a 173HP 2.0-liter engine mated to a 6-speed automatic.

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The 2014 Forte LX with manual transmission is priced at $15,900 and the LX with automatic is $17,400. The EX is priced at $19,400. Destination charge is an additional $800. In spite of the fact that gasoline pieces have remained stable and surprisingly low, fuel economy is still an important consideration in buying a new car. EPA test ratings for LX manual are 25 city mpg and 37 highway mpg. The LX automatic is rated at 25 city mpg and 36 highway mpg. The EX is rated at 24 city mpg and 36 highway mpg, which was the Forte model I drove.

Take note that the fuel economy ratings between these three configurations are very close. Driving style alone will easily make real world fuel consumption very different. The EPA combined fuel economy for the EX is 28mpg, or in terms of fuel consumption it’s 3.6 gallons per 100 miles. If we assume gas costs $3.50 per gallon, that’s $12.60 to travel 100 miles. With the very close EPA ratings of the three different Fortes, choosing the powertrain combination that is right for you is important and fuel consumption probably won’t vary much.

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The 50 mile drive in the Forte each way between the airport and rally gave me plenty of highway driving time. I noted wind and tire noise to be very well managed. The driving position affords good outward visibility and the seat provides good support. While at the rally I spent some time on local roads at slower speeds. Acceleration from stop is very adequate and the powertrain noise level is well confined. The Forte now has electric assist power steering. On-center feel is nicely weighted and there is good feedback in various maneuvers and cornering. Optional FlexSteer technology gives the driver a choice of three settings – Comfort, Normal and Sport – which vary steering feel and effort at the touch of a button.

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Standard on the LX model is steering wheel-mounted audio controls, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, Bluetooth wireless technology, power windows, air conditioning and heated power-folding mirrors and a lot more. An optional Popular Package, on the LX A/T only, adds 16-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, keyless entry with remote trunk release and a sliding front armrest. 

The EX features Kia’s next-generation UVO in-vehicle infotainment and telematics system with eServices and an optional navigation system.  My driver had the nav system that I found easy to use and to enter in destination information. Additional standard EX features include remote keyless entry with trunk opener, Rear Camera Display, a sliding center armrest and a cooling glove box.  An optional Premium Package includes heated front and rear seats, a 10-way power adjustable driver’s seat with, according to Kia, class-exclusive air-cooled ventilation, leather seat trim, power sunroof, 17-inch alloy wheels and push button start with Smart Key and a heated steering wheel.  A Technology Package adds HID headlights, LED tail lights, a 4.2-inch color LCD cluster screen and dual-zone automatic temperature control with rear center vent.

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All-in-all, as you might note, the Kia Forte is really very well equipped for this class vehicle. One of my favorite features is the power outside mirrors that automatically fold-in when you turn off the ignition. And the heated steering wheel if you drive in any cold winter state is wonderful.

Worthy of note is that WardsAuto named the 2014 Forte to their list of “10 Best Interiors” based on combination of technology, comfort, amenities and stylish elements. And on the safety-side, the Forte has got all the safety technology and features that are expected in the market today. The outgoing Kia Forte sedan was a Top Safety Pick with The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). I’d expect the same for the new 2014 model.

If you are interested to compare the 2014 Kia Forte to other compact sedans you can do that right here on For more information and detailed specifications on the 2014 Kia Forte go to

Also, download the free TheAutoChannel smartphone app. The “My Test Drives” app for both the IPad and iPhone is available for free on The Auto Channel app found in the Apple App Store. The Auto Channel's free "My Test Drives" app gives serious car shoppers the help they need to make test drive evaluations accurate, effective and meaningful.

The popularity of compact cars is growing in leaps and bounds. They are no longer in the basic transportation category, but now today chock full of features, amenities and technology that make them the smart choice especially for the urban driver.

© Larry Nutson