Living up to the promise seen in earlier teaser photos, the all-new 2014 Kia Forte sedan made its formal debut in Los Angeles. Endowed with an impressive combination of style and substance, the third generation of this compact, front-drive 4-door also benefits from a modest growth spurt and numerous chassis enhancements that should add to its desirability when it hits the showrooms here during the first quarter of 2013.
Inspired by European sport sedans, the new Forte sedan was styled at Kia's American Design Center in Irvine, California. Longer, lower and wider than the car it replaces, the 2014 Forte boasts dramatically sweeping body contours and the signature Peter Schreyer grille set off with high-profile lighting elements. In addition to a wider track, the new Forte rides on an all-new front-drive platform that brings a 2.0-inch wheelbase stretch in addition to a new electric power steering system that offers a tri-mode Flex Steer option that lets the driver select Comfort/Normal/Sport levels of assist. The Forte LX is fitted with 195/55 tires on 15-inch wheels while the top-line EX wraps its 205/55 rubber around 16-inch alloys.
Each 2014 Forte 4-door gets its own unique drivetrain. The LX matches a 148-horsepower/1.8-liter port-injected 4-cylinder that features variable valve timing with a standard 6-speed manual transmission while the EX comes with a 173-horse/2.0-liter direct-injected four that's paired with a 6-speed automatic that's also an LX option.
Inside, the new Kia Forte possesses an even richer and more upscale character that displays the same organic contouring seen on its exterior while offering even more accommodating room for five. The well-appointed base LX boasts a full range of power assists, multifunction steering wheel, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, Bluetooth and more while offering both Popular and ECO Packages to further enhance appeal. Stepping up to EX brings even more good things, including remote keyless entry, rear backup camera and a cooling glove box. It also lets buyers opt for the Premium Package (leather upholstery, heated front/rear seats, a 10-way power driver's seat with class-exclusive air-cooled ventilation, power sunroof, 17-inch alloys with 215/45 tires, push button start with Smart Key and a heated steering wheel) and the Technology Package (HID headlights, LED tail lights, a 4.2-inch color LCD cluster screen and dual-zone automatic temperature control with rear seat ventilation).
Like the 2014 Kia Sorento, the new Forte also will be available with the automaker's new UVO eServices telematics/infotainment package that offers Advanced Voice Recognition and a variety of parental supervision controls. The system is designed to work in conjunction with an Apple iPhone and most Android-based platforms. In addition to allowing hands-free operation of an even wider array of on-board functions, UVO eServices offers new features like Car Care Web and remote Vehicle Diagnostics, 911 Connect automatic notification alert in case of an airbag deployment and Parking Minder that can send a location indicator directly from the vehicle to the owner's Smartphone. Pricing for the 2014 Kia Forte will be announced closer to the car's scheduled on-sale date.