2013 Chicago Auto Show: 2014 Kia Forte Five-Door
2013 Chicago Auto Show
What Is It?
2014 Kia Forte Five-Door
What's Special About It?
On the one hand, the name alone should clue you in. This is the hatchback version of the 2014 Kia Forte sedan unveiled at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show and driven for the first time this week, earning strong reviews in both instances.
On the other hand, the Kia Forte Five-Door offers some significant differences and unique attributes. Obviously, the traditional trunk was lopped off in favor of the hatch, but the styling differences go much farther than that. The hatchback's trademark Kia grille is far less prominent, shying away from the spotlight in favor of a much larger lower grille opening. Out back, the taillights are very similar, though the Five-Door carries forward the outgoing car's cheesy rear diffuser.
The cabin design is a carbon copy of that found in the sedan, which is good news given its classic appearance, driver-oriented controls and sensible layout. Just as the sedan boasts surprising rear headroom, so does the hatchback. The cargo area's 23.2 cubic feet of space is virtually identical to that of the Ford Focus.
The Five-Door's trim levels and engines differ as well. Whereas the sedan is available in LX and EX trims (for now at least), the Five-Door starts off with the EX and its bigger 2.0-liter 173-horsepower direct-injected four-cylinder. From there, the hatch also offers an SX trim complete with the 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder also found in the Hyundai Veloster that's good for 201 hp and 195 pound-feet of torque. Larger wheels and front brakes are the SX's other performance upgrades. Both engines come with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic.
Michael Sprague, Kia executive vice president of marketing and communications, said that 20 percent of outgoing Forte buyers opted for the Five-Door, and he expects the new one to be about the same when it goes on sale in the third quarter of this year. Keep in mind, however, that part of the old Forte's sales mix included the two-door Koup. That will once again be the case, as the all-new 2014 Forte coupe is set for an unveil at the 2013 New York Auto Show in March. Kia wouldn't say if it'll get the turbocharged engine, but it seems safe to deduce that given its connection with the Five-Door's SX trim and the fact that the old Koup was offered as an SX.
Edmunds says: Like the 2014 Kia Forte sedan, the new Five-Door represents dramatic improvements for this compact sedan.