Redesigned for 2014, Kia's new Forte sedan now shares platforms with the Elantra from affiliated automaker Hyundai. Longer and wider than its predecessor, the redesigned Forte competes with a familiar slate of compacts, among them the Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus, Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla. Typical of Kia's recent redesigns, the Forte has a number of luxury options uncommon to the segment. It is also sold as a two-door model, called the Forte Koup, which is listed elsewhere in the Cars.com Research section.
Forte buyers can choose between manual or automatic transmissions and base LX or uplevel EX trim levels.
(Skip to details on the: Kia Forte 5-door)
Styled in part at Kia's Southern California design studios, the Forte sedan has a windswept profile similar to the Elantra. LEDs accent the headlights, and the lower bumper cutouts borrow cues from the Volkswagen Passat. Length and width are up 1.2 inches and 0.2 inch, respectively, and Kia says the new Forte rides about a half-inch lower than its predecessor.
LX models have 15-inch steel wheels with plastic covers, with 16-inch alloys optional. They're standard on the EX, with 17-inchers optional. Body-colored power mirrors are standard, while the EX adds power-folding mirrors with integrated turn signals.
Kia describes a cabin awash with "gentle ripples" and "organic curves," and most shapes radiate back toward the gauges. It's a driver-centric approach that differs from the more horizontal dashboards in many other cars. An optional 4.2-inch LCD screen with a trip computer and vehicle settings sits between the gauges.
Steering-wheel audio controls, Bluetooth connectivity, power windows and locks, and air conditioning are standard on the LX. Move up to an EX with options and you can get a backup camera, xenon high-intensity-discharge headlights, a power driver's seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated leather front and rear seats, a heated steering wheel and a ventilated driver's seat -- not typical compact-car fare.
Under the Hood
The Forte LX has a port-injected 1.8-liter with 148 horsepower, and the EX gets a direct-injected 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 173 hp. The 2.0-liter's direct injection enables an extra 23 pounds-feet of passing-power torque (154 pounds-feet versus 131 pounds-feet in the LX). Both engines work through a six-speed automatic transmission, though a six-speed manual is available on the LX. An Eco Package adds a stop-start system at idle to help gas mileage.
All-disc antilock brakes, six airbags and an electronic stability system are standard.
Kia Forte 5-door
Joining the Kia Forte sedan for 2014 is a new 5-door hatchback model. The hatch features unique and more aggressive front and rear styling, and the same interior treatments.
Two trim levels will be available, starting with the EX, featuring a 173-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 154 pounds-feet of torque. Unique to the hatchback will be a sportier SX trim, featuring a 201-hp, 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that makes 195 pounds-feet of torque. Either model can be had with a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission.
Standard equipment will include 16-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth connectivity, satellite radio, a tilt/telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio and cruise control functions, power windows, fog lights, the UVO infotainment system with backp camera and LED running lights. Moving up to the SX trim brings the turbo motor, 18-inch wheels, LED taillights, larger brakes and carbon-fiber-like trim pieces. Both trim levels get a more sport-tuned suspension than the sedan does, and optional on both trim levels will be high-intensity-discharge headlights, navigation system, sunroof, heated steering wheel, leather interior, heated front and rear seats, 10-way power driver's seat with cooling function, push-button start and dual-zone automatic climate control. Back to top
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