The Kia Forte has gotten a facelift for 2014. The sedan was first introduced back in 2010, and this year it has been revamped and re-engineered. The first thing you’ll notice about the new Forte is its curvier, more modern and organic exterior lines, that have actually been influenced by European sport sedan styling. Kia has also thrown in LED headlights and tail lights. The new Forte is also longer, wider and lower than the previous generation Forte. This more attractive exterior design is complimented by a revamped interior with large, easy-to-read instruments and chrome accents that transform the look of the interior into a more luxurious experience. Inside there is room to sit 5 passengers comfortably. The 2014 Forte is available in an LX model with an efficient 1.8-liter engine, or in the EX model which comes with a more powerful 2.0-liter engine.
The 148 horsepower LX comes standard with steering wheel-mounted audio controls, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, Bluetooth, power windows, air conditioning and power heated outside mirrors. For an additional cost, you can also get 16-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, keyless entry with remote trunk release and a sliding front armrest.
On the other hand, the 173 horsepower EX comes standard with remote keyless entry with trunk opener, a rear camera back-up display, and a sliding center armrest and a cooling glove box. For an additional cost you can throw on the FlexSteer system which lets you choose between three steering profiles – Comfort, Normal and Sport. The FlexSteer system is a nice inclusion to have for those drivers who like to feel like they are driving a sports car at times. But most of the time we preferred driving on the normal setting which provided a smooth and easy ride.
This latest generation UVO infotainment system is the most straight-forward and easy to use infotainment system we have tried to date. You won’t find yourself scratching your head, or reaching for a manual to figure out how to use it. And while it may not offer support for some entertainment apps that some other in-car infotainment systems do offer, it offers all the important key features you would want in a good in-car infotainment system, including robust digital music support and a simple to use Google based navigation system. When it came to our music, the UVO system recognized our iPhone 5 just a moment after we plugged it in via USB. When attempting to pair the iPhone via Bluetooth, UVO was just as efficient. But aside from support for the iPhone, the UVO offers hands-free control of music playback on CDs, and the Radio. It also easily pairs with the iPhone, Android, and other smartphones for handsfree calling. Finally, the navigation system on UVO is also easy to navigate, with a more intuitive U.I. than what could be found on the 2013 Kia Forte.
We took the EX with the optional Premium Package for a road test and in our opinion, it’s really worth going for the Premium Package, as it really transforms the Forte into a premium class vehicle. The package includes heated front and rear seats, a 10-way power adjustable driver’s seat with class-exclusive air-cooled ventilation, leather seat trim, a power sunroof, 17-inch alloy wheels and a push button start with Smart Key and a heated steering wheel. Last but not least, the Technology Package adds HID headlights, LED tail lights, a 4.2-inch color LCD display system to work with UVO, and dual-zone automatic temperature control with rear seat ventilation.
We got to road test the Forte out in central Arizona and were impressed with how well the car handles itself on curvy roads, hills, and desert highways. We were also happy to discover that the suspension has been significantly improved over the previous 2013 Forte, resulting in a much smoother ride. That said, if you’re looking for a truly smooth ride where you’ll hardly notice any friction at all, you’ll want to consider the all new 2014 Kia Sorento.
As for MPG, Kia has not made an official statement about the Forte’s gas mileage, but we have a feeling that they will be good numbers.
We have had some issues with the suspension on 2012 and 2013 Kia sedans, but fortunately the 2014 Kia Forte offers a much smoother ride than its predecessors. Drivers will appreciate its new sleeker design with its flowing lines, and its more luxurious interior with trim options, as well as its new powertrain and engine options. This is a compact sedan that is likely to create some serious competition for the popular Honda Civic and Ford Focus.
Kia also gets extra points for including the extremely straightforward, easy to use latest generation of the UVO infotainment system. But most of all, we’ve come away impressed with how much value the 2014 Kia Forte offers for the money, especially if you opt in for its premium features. The premium amenities that are available in the Forte help make the car seem like it’s a much more expensive car then it actually is. We envision the Forte being a great car for first time car buyers, and those desiring a near-luxury experience that won’t cost a fortune.
Pricing for the 2014 Kia Forte begins at around $16k to $18.5K with the premium package and other features added on.