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2014 Kia Forte Review

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2014 Kia Forte Expert Review

By

KBB Expert Rating: 8.1

Whether you've already come around on Kia or you're still not convinced, test driving the all-new 2014 Kia Forte is guaranteed to make your decision about a compact sedan, hatchback or coupe more difficult. It's as sporty and substantial inside as it is outside, the available features list is luxury-like in quantity and quality, and save for some foundational shortcomings relative to competitors like the Honda Civic, the overall level of refinement is on par with anything in the class. The 2014 Kia Forte is definitely worth a look, and for buyers in search of features and technology, it's going to be a long look.

You'll Like This Car If...

The 2014 Kia Forte's key strengths include its good looks, great tech and a generous warranty.

You May Not Like This Car If...

The 2014 Kia Forte sedan, Forte5 hatchback, and Forte Koup aren't as fun to drive as they look, and they're not quite the bargain their deceptive starting prices might suggest.

KBB Expert Ratings

  • 8.1
  • 7.4
  • 8.0
  • 7.8
  • 9.0
  • N/A
How It Ranks

#12

out of 14

Fuel Economy

#1

out of 14

Horsepower
View all rankings

Consumer Rating

9.0 out of 10
View all
consumer ratings
2014 Kia Forte Low/wide front photo What's New for 2014

The Kia Forte has been totally redesigned for 2014.

Driving the Forte
2014 Kia Forte Front angle view photo

Driving Impressions If you're drawn to the 2014 Kia Forte by the implied promise of its sporty look and available 173-horsepower engine, prepare yourself for a disappointing test drive. While it's quick...

... enough and handles just fine, the Forte falls far short of the Ford Focus, Mazda3 and Volkswagen Jetta in driving feel, which is a big part of fun-to-drive. But as long as you're among the 99% of buyers more interested in transportation than track time, you won't find anything not to like about the way the Forte drives, rides or handles. On the other hand, the 2-door Forte Koup and turbocharged Forte5 hatchback still have driving dynamics several steps behind cars like the Honda Civic Si or Volkswagen GTI, something Kia must fix if it hopes to be a player in the sporty compact segment. Still, the Kia Forte is a fun car, but more because of its looks, features and tech than its driving dynamics.

UVO ESERVICES
In addition to a bunch of other cool infotainment capabilities – many of them voice-activated – Kia's next-gen UVO system leverages your Bluetooth-connected smartphone to automatically call 911 in the event of an airbag deployment, and lets you send a navigation destination from your computer to the car.

FLEXSTEER
As part of its new electric power steering system, the 2014 Kia Forte EX includes a FlexSteer feature that lets the driver select between Comfort, Normal and Sport steering modes. Comfort mode feels the least artificial, making small corrections easier and mitigating some of the compromise of efficiency-enhancing electric steering.

2014 Kia Forte Details
2014 Kia Forte Dashboard, center console, gear shifter view photo Interior

The interior of the 2014 Kia Forte is sporty and straightforward, with a heavy helping of tech and just a whiff of whimsy thanks in large part to vertical ripples in the passenger-side dash. It's all very well done. The back seat is average in size for the category, but the Forte does boast the uncommon option of heated rear seats, and even a heated steering wheel. The trunk is among the category's roomiest, measuring almost 15 cubic feet.

Exterior
2014 Kia Forte photo

On one hand, the Kia Forte isn't as flashy as its Hyundai Elantra corporate cousin. On the other hand, the Forte's look will probably age better because of it. The 2-door Koup and hatchback Forte5 bring a bit more style to the lineup without undermining the conservative aesthetic. Here, Kia's healthy addiction to category-first features manifests itself in power-folding exterior mirrors, puddle lamps and illuminated door-handle pockets, a collection of niceties not offered on most luxury cars in 2013.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Technically, the 2014 Kia Forte starts at $16,700 with destination, including Bluetooth and USB connectivity, air conditioning, and a split-folding rear seat. But it also has small steel wheels, a manual transmission and a host of feature deficiencies. Add $1,500 for an automatic transmission, then another $900 for the Popular Package – alloy wheels, remote keyless entry, etc. – and you've got yourself a respectable compact car, but for $19,100. The $19,400 Forte Koup and $20,500 Forte5 both start a trim-level higher, and include a lot of what's optional on the sedan. A full complement of active and passive safety features are standard on every Forte.

Optional Equipment

A fully loaded 2014 Kia Forte can surpass $25,000, but with an impressive set of equipment that includes common touches like leather seats, moonroof, keyless entry and push-button start, plus unexpected touches like a heated steering wheel, ventilated driver's seat and heated rear seats. The Google-powered UVO eServices infotainment system is also among the most comprehensive systems in the segment. Moving up to the turbocharged engine adds $2,000 to the Forte Koup, or $1,200 in the Forte5.

Under the Hood
2014 Kia Forte Engine photo

The front-wheel-drive Forte is available with three different engines, depending on body style, including one of the most powerful engines in the segment. Each is matched with the same 6-speed automatic transmission, while a 6-speed manual is available as well, again, depending on body style. The Forte's power advantage requires a small compromise in fuel economy, with the Forte's numbers trailing many of today's newer compact cars.

1.8-liter 4-cylinder (Kia Forte Sedan LX)
148 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
131 lb-ft of torque @ 4,700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/37 mpg (manual), 25/36 mpg (automatic)

2.0-liter 4-cylinder (Kia Forte Sedan EX, Koup EX, Forte5 EX)
173 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
154 lb-ft of torque @ 4,700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/33 mpg (manual, Koup only), 24/36 mpg (automatic)

1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder (Kia Forte Koup SX, Forte5 SX)
201 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
195 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/29 mpg (manual), 22/30 mpg (automatic)

Today's Kias don't offer the same price advantage they used to, but better quality, more features and improved resale values make them a much smarter buy. Yes, the Forte's $16,700 starting price is one of the lowest in the category, but Kia won't make many of those bare-bones vehicles and you don't want one anyway. You might still pay less for a Forte than a Civic, but the apples-to-apples difference will likely be hundreds of dollars, not thousands. The $19,400 base price for the Forte Koup, or $20,500 base price for the Forte5 hatchback doesn't include the turbocharged engine, which is a primary reason to get either car. Regardless, don't expect to pay much less for a Forte, but you'll be getting more features. And if you plan on keeping your next new car longer than the three years or 36,000 miles that most competitors cover, Kia's impressive 5-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty is a real advantage.

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2014 Kia Forte Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.0
Out of 10

Based on 35 Ratings for the 2014 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.0/10
    Quality
    9.4/10
  • Reliability
    9.7/10
    Performance
    8.8/10
  • Comfort
    9.4/10
    Styling
    9.6/10

More power and tech for the price.

By on Thursday, July 02, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 150

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Good horsepower, High class interior."

Cons: "Shallow cupholders, No change$ holder"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"This car can get up and go when you really step on the pedal, the dangerous part is that it rides smooth enough that often times I find myself going 50+ without realizing it. Iv only had the car for 100 miles but here are a few things I love and little things I have noticed. Pros 1. Lots of tech for the price. 2. Rims! 3. Folding mirrors, and auto dim interior mirror. 4. Awesome lights. 5. Warranty. 6. Beautiful interior, Flows nicely. Cons 1. Resale value 2. Steering modes are gimmicky.(I find comfort to be the best) 3. Accessing back seats is a pain.(kinda obvious) 4. Trunk doesnt pop up when you hit the button. 5.Doors are massive and heavy."

So Far So Good!

By on Wednesday, April 22, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Price, Looks, Features."

Cons: "Little under powered, Re-sale Value."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"As a long time Toyota driver ( Camry, Corolla )It was time to look for a new car under $20,000. It came down between the 15 Corolla LE and 15 Forte LX. Both drove nice and Both look nice. The Forte had a lower price and more features. The Forte also has a little more of a sporty look to it and slightly roomier interior. KIA has come a long way and is slowly getting over its "basic cheap car" reputation. The Corolla on the other hand has an excellent reputation and holds its value much better too. After going back n fourth I went with the Forte. Ive had it for almost 6 months now, and Ive been very happy with it. Not one single problem to report. I wish it had a little more horsepower though. (The EX model does, but was over 20K) But the car has been great. I really have no major complaints."

5 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Worth the money!

By on Wednesday, April 22, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,800

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Great Look! Great Value! Great Gas mileage!"

Cons: "Handling needs to be improved."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I own a 2014 Kia Forte LX with the upgraded package. I have owned a lot of 4 cylinder engines in my time but I am blown away by how well the 1.8L engine in the car responds. I have no issues getting on the highway or passing because the car gets up and moves. I am averaging 39mpg but I drive mostly highways. The 6 speed transmission shifts smooth, unlike some of the competitors! The handling is OK but could be better. I have owned 3 other Kia’s (Sedona, Rio & Spectra) and never had any issues with them. Kia had a rough start but they have really turned the quality & reliability around. I would recommend this car to anyone."

8 people out of 9 found this review helpful

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