2014 Kia Forte EX: Track Tested

Testing Our 173-Horsepower Kia

  • 2014 Kia Forte EX

    2014 Kia Forte EX

    2014 Kia Forte EX. | August 20, 2013

7 Photos

Edmunds tests hundreds of vehicles a year. Cars, trucks, SUVs, we run them all, and the numbers always tell a story. With that in mind we present "Edmunds Track Tested," a quick rundown of all the data we collect at the track, along with comments direct from the test-drivers. Enjoy.

The compact sedan segment is chock full of excellent cars these days. So, without the aid of a storied name and decades of proven reliability, what's a new guy in the segment to do?

Well, if you're Kia you start with a sharp new design and augment that with a low starting price, cool options and finally, one of the most powerful motors in the segment today. Kicking out 173 horsepower and 154 pound-feet of torque, the 2014 Kia Forte EX's 2.0-liter direct-injection four-cylinder has the specs to attract potential drivers lured in by the attractive price. And with EPA fuel economy number of 28 mpg combined (24 city/36 highway), it doesn't seem to have any real sacrifice.

But what's that new engine good for when pushed? We took it to the track to find out.

Vehicle: 2014 Kia Forte EX
Odometer: 1,188
Date: 7/2/2013
Driver: Mike Monticello
Price: $25,735 (as tested)

Drive Type: Front engine, front-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Six-speed automatic
Engine Type: Naturally aspirated, direct-injected inline-4
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 1,999/122
Redline (rpm): 6,750
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 173 @ 6,500
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 154 @ 4,700
Brake Type (front): 11-inch ventilated discs with two-piston sliding calipers
Brake Type (rear): 10.3-inch solid discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Suspension Type (front): Independent MacPherson struts, coil springs, stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Semi-independent twist-beam axle, stabilizer bar
Tire Size (front): 215/45R17 87H
Tire Size (rear): 215/45R17 87H
Tire Brand: Nexen
Tire Model: CP671 Classe Premiere
Tire Type: All-season
As Tested Curb Weight (lb): 2,947

Test Results:

0-30 (sec): 3.2 (3.4 w/ TC on)
0-45 (sec): 5.5 (5.7 w/ TC on)
0-60 (sec): 8.4 (8.8 w/ TC on)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 8.1 (8.4 w/ TC on)
0-75 (sec): 12.4 (12.7 w/ TC on)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 16.2 @ 86.7 (16.4 @ 86.5 w/ TC on)

30-0 (ft): 32
60-0 (ft): 122

Slalom (mph): 63.7
Skid Pad Lateral Acceleration (g): 0.81 (0.80 w/ ESC on)

RPM @ 70: 2,250

Acceleration: Little punch off the line and the power never really picks up. Engine sounds tinny, but it's never thrashy. Smooth, but slow, shifts from the automatic. Overlapping throttle and brake at launch woke the Forte up a bit, got some front wheelspin, but it was still 0.3 second slower to 60 than the last 2014 Forte. Manual mode is via console lever (pull back for downshifts). Does not blip throttle, does not hold gears.

Braking: Extremely firm and short-travel pedal. Stopping distances did get longer, but pedal remained consistent. Only minor nosedive and the car tracked straight. First stop was shortest at 122 feet. Fourth stop (out of five) was longest at 127 feet.

Skid pad: Turning the stability control system off allowed us to properly play with the chassis, letting the throttle affect understeer/slight oversteer. Was easy to add too much throttle back in (it's sensitive) and run wide of arc. Plenty of tire squeal.

Slalom: An enlightened stability control system here. It lets the driver attack the cones with a nice level of aggression. Car feels light, narrow and agile and the steering is fairly direct and precise. I had the steering set to the Sport mode. You can really toss the Forte around the cones.

And just for fun, here's how the 2014 Kia Forte stacks up against another one of our long-termers, the 160-horsepower 2013 Dodge Dart SXT Rallye.

2014 Kia Forte
2013 Dodge Dart SXT Rallye
0-30 (sec.):
0-45 (sec.):
0-60 (sec.):
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec.):
0-75 (sec.):
1/4-mile (sec @ mph):
16.2 @ 86.7
16.3 @ 86.1
Curb weight as tested:

The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.


  • bassrockerx bassrockerx Posts:

    class competitve but does not feel quick. reminds me of my honda fit. compared to cars with more torque it feels like you are standing still when you are actually scooting along at a good rate.

  • empoweredbc empoweredbc Posts:

    Not a great performance. Better off with the standard engine with the better gas.

  • agentorange agentorange Posts:

    "Little punch off the line and the power never really picks up." Sounds like every other California SULEV choker. That said a 2 litre tuned for 170+ horsepower is never going to be a toque monster low down. Torque peak at 4700rpm is a bit of a clue.

  • duck87 duck87 Posts:

    Good braking and slalom performance, especially on all-seasons! Acceleration results and slalom are kind of lame...

  • duck87 duck87 Posts:

    Whoops, the second 'Slalom' should read 'Skipad'

  • hlisle hlisle Posts:

    As tested at $25K, this is very pricey! Are you kidding? How ridiculous! At that price point there are many cars that are better - curious how the new '14 Corolla will do... This price range hits the Optima range, Accord, Camry, etc range... My thoughts would be marginally different if this had an acceleration time to 60 in the low 6's...

  • jeffinoh jeffinoh Posts:

    So if you are gonna track-test the Kia Forte, then I think you should test the Corvette by taking it grocery shopping or maybe to the mall.

  • gloss gloss Posts:

    @hlisle It's loaded with tech and features you can't even get on other cars in the category. And plenty of folks don't want to upsize just because they can.

  • cynic783 cynic783 Posts:

    still much faster quarter mile than the "torque rich" volkswagen passat TDI http://www.edmunds.com/car-reviews/track-tests/2013-volkswagen-passat-tdi-sel-premium-track-tested.html

  • yellowbal yellowbal Posts:

    About as fast as the 8th gen Civic Si with TC on. Not bad considering this is an automatic vs Civic's manual.

  • themandarin themandarin Posts:

    LOL! What a POS

  • duck87 duck87 Posts:

    *skidpad*. Ladies and gentlemen, I am officially dyslexic (or my autocorrect broke). I'm inclined to agree with hlisle, there's a case to be made against upsizing, but at that kind of price range you're competing with entry level midsize sedans as well as enthusiast cars like the Focus ST and FR-S. They might not be as well equipped but they're not stripped cars either; and you will either have a roomy and comfortable ride or a more fun one. Not everyone cares about heated rear seats.

  • darthbimmer darthbimmer Posts:

    @hlisle-- A well optioned smaller car overlaps the price of the next larger model's base trim. That's the way it is today across lots of makes. And it's reasonable, too. For the same money some of us would prefer a smaller car with high end stereo, nav, m

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  • schp007 schp007 Posts:

    nice tech car

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