The all-new 2014 Kia Forte is one of the best new car buys on the market today. Fully loaded, the top-of-the-line model costs under $20,000 and the base price is just $15,900.
Slotted between the Rio sub-compact sedan and the best-selling Optima mid-size sedan, the all-new Forte includes a long list of available premium features in a package that easily accommodates five passengers and their luggage.
The redesigned Forte is longer and wider than its predecessor — and that translates to more legroom — and has European-influenced styling similar to the Sonata, another sleek sedan from corporate sister Hyundai. Dramatically swept headlight lenses cut deeply into the front fenders and incorporate projector headlights. LED positioning lights create distinct eyebrows, making the Forte instantly recognizable.
Gentle sculpting along the lower flanks taper the sheet metal inward, giving the car a taut, nimble appearance. To the rear, the upkicked fender line and trunk design allow the complex curves of the taillights to flow over the rear haunches.
On the inside, the driver-focused cabin is canted 10 degrees and features high-quality materials and soft touch points. Large, easyto- read instruments dominate and secondary controls are easy to find, while the optional 4.2-inch color LCD screen between the white-on-black gauges in the EX provides trip and ancillary vehicle information. Chrome bezels ring the HVAC rotary knobs and the optional push-button start. Additional chrome accents, standard Bluetooth hands free phone integration and power windows, mirrors and door locks add to the Forte’s luxury feel. Optional leather seating trim, power sunroof and dual-zone automatic climate control with rear seat vents and HID head lights add to the sophistication.
Under the hood, the Forte is powered by either an efficient 1.8-liter 148 hp engine or a more powerful 2.0-liter 173 hp GDI. Fuel economy for the 2.0-liter is rated at 24/36 mpg.
The 2014 Forte is offered in two models:
LX with a 1.8-liter engine and manual transmission — standard equipment includes steering wheel-mounted audio controls, SiriusXM satellite radio, Bluetooth, power windows, air conditioning and heated power-folding mirrors. Add-ons include 16-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, keyless entry with remote trunk release and a sliding front armrest. Add $1,500 for an automatic transmission.
EX with a 2.0-liter GDI engine and Sportmatic automatic transmission — includes Kia’s next-generation UVO in-vehicle infotainment and telematics system with eServices, which can be integrated with an optional navigation system. Additional standard EX features include remote keyless entry with trunk opener, rear camera and display, and a unique cooling glove box for your beverages.
The new sportmatic transmission lets you switch between comfort, normal and sport driving modes. Add ons include air-cooled seats and heated steering wheel, power sunroof, 17-inch alloy wheels, push button start, and HID headlights and LED taillights.
Ron Beasley is the automotive editor for Miami’s Community Newspapers. He may be contacted by calling 305-662-2277, ext. 261, or by addressing email correspondenceto LetsTalkCars@aol.com