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Used 2014 Kia Forte Review

2014 Kia Forte

Edmunds Summary Review of the 2014 Kia Forte

  • A Edmunds Rating
  • Quality and value are high points on the 2014 Kia Forte, and its sharp new look pushes it toward the head of the compact-car class.

  • Pros

    Spacious interior for both sedan and coupe; many upscale features available; strong engines on EX and SX trims; easy-to-use controls; lengthy warranty coverage.

  • Cons

    Fuel economy isn't as high as some other top rivals; unrefined ride quality at times; middling frontal-impact safety scores.

  • What's New for 2014

    For 2014, the Kia Forte is fully redesigned.

    2014 Kia Forte Video Review

Full Edmunds Expert Review: 2014 Kia Forte

What's New for 2014

For 2014, the Kia Forte is fully redesigned.


Lately, Kia has been fielding strong entries in virtually every segment it enters. Now the 2014 Kia Forte has joined the roster in the compact car class. Previously, we had considered the Forte a decent pick thanks to its low price, respectable performance and generous standard features, but ultimately relegated it to mid-pack status for its lackluster cabin materials and elevated road noise. With this year's redesign, Kia has addressed those gripes in a big way.

Once again, the Forte will come in three body styles: sedan, four-door hatchback (known as the Forte 5) and two-door coupe (Forte Koup). No matter the body style, one of the biggest draws to the new car is the way it looks. We usually don't talk about styling, given its subjective nature. But we doubt we'll find much argument when we say the Forte is one of the sharpest-looking cars in its segment.

Even better, the redesigned Forte isn't an example of form over function. It's longer and wider than its predecessor, and you'll notice this on the inside, as the car is quite roomy. Rear seat legroom is especially good. You'll find plenty of features here, too, as even the base LX trim level offers Bluetooth and an iPod interface as standard, while high-end amenities like xenon headlights, keyless ignition/entry, a voice command system (for the audio system and your smartphone) and even heated rear seats are available. Overall interior quality is much better this time around as well.

There are three different engines for the 2014 Kia Forte, and all make more than competitive power. The upgraded 2.0-liter four-cylinder on EX models makes the new Forte one of the quickest cars in the segment, while an even stronger, turbocharged 1.6-liter engine is available on SX versions of the Forte coupe and Forte5 hatchback. The downside, though, is that none of these engines excels in the fuel economy department.

As you likely know, there are many good choices in this class. The 2014 Ford Focus and 2014 Mazda 3 are a little more fun to pilot and tend to get better fuel economy in real-world driving, while the Honda Civic and 2014 Volkswagen Jetta are well-rounded sedans with lots of refinement and comfort. And of course you might also consider the Kia's cousin, the Hyundai Elantra. But with its roomy interior, upscale features, strong engine lineup and sharp styling, the 2014 Kia Forte is an excellent choice for an affordable sedan, coupe or hatchback.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2014 Kia Forte is available as a sedan in LX and EX trim levels. The four-door hatchback (Forte5) and two-door coupe (Koup) are available in EX and SX trims.

Standard features on the LX sedan include 15-inch steel wheels, air-conditioning, full power accessories, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a height-adjustable driver seat, a 60/40 split-folding rear seat, Bluetooth phone connectivity and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio and USB/iPod/auxiliary input jacks.

Optional for the LX is the Popular package that includes 16-inch alloy wheels, mirror-mounted turn signal repeaters, keyless entry, upgraded interior trim, two additional audio speakers, cruise control, a sliding console armrest, a fold-down rear center armrest and dual lighted vanity mirrors.

Spring for the EX and you get all the above plus a more powerful engine, adjustable steering effort, foglights, LED running lights, chrome accents, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, Kia's Uvo voice-activated infotainment system with Bluetooth audio connectivity, a rearview camera, a sliding console armrest and a fold-down rear center armrest.

Options for the EX include 17-inch wheels and two option packages. The Premium package features a sunroof, keyless ignition/entry, leather upholstery, heated front and rear seats, a heated steering wheel, a ventilated eight-way power driver seat (still a manual-adjustment seat on the Koup) and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. The Technology package includes xenon headlights, LED taillights, dual-zone air-conditioning with rear seat vents and a navigation system.

The EX hatchback and coupe echo the sedan, while the SX versions include those features but takes a sportier tack, with a turbocharged engine, 18-inch wheels, unique front and rear fascia styling, chrome exhaust tips and metal-trimmed pedals. Option packages for the coupe and hatchback essentially mirror those for the EX sedan.

Powertrains and Performance

The LX is powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine making 148 horsepower and 131 pound-feet of torque. Power runs to the front wheels through a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy estimates for the Forte LX sedan are 29 mpg combined (25 mpg city/36 mpg highway) for the 1.8 with the automatic. The manual transmission is also rated at 29 mpg combined (25 mpg city/37 mpg highway).

The EX gets a 2.0-liter four-cylinder generating 173 hp and 154 lb-ft of torque. On the sedan and hatchback, this engine only comes with the six-speed automatic, but on the coupe, you can also get it with the manual transmission. Forte EX sedans with the 2.0-liter engine rate 28 mpg combined (24 mpg city/36 mpg highway). EX hatchbacks and automatic-equipped EX coupes also rate 28 mpg combined but have lower highway figures. Manual-shift Forte EX coupes come in at 28 mpg combined (24 mpg city/35 mpg highway).

The SX versions of the Forte Koup and Forte5 have a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder good for 201 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. On both body styles, you have a choice of the six-speed manual or six-speed automatic. Kia Forte SX hatchbacks rate 24 mpg combined (21 mpg city/29 mpg highway) with either transmission. For the Koup, fuel mileage estimates stand at 25 mpg combined (22 mpg city/29 mpg highway) with the manual and 25 mpg combined (22 mpg city/30 mpg highway) with the automatic.

In Edmunds testing, a Kia Forte EX sedan accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 8.1 seconds, while a Forte SX Koup with a manual transmission did the sprint in 7.0 seconds. Both times are very quick for the compact car segment.


Every 2014 Kia Forte comes standard with antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front side airbags and side curtain airbags.

In Edmunds brake testing, a Forte EX sedan came to a stop from 60 mph in 121 feet, while a Forte SX Koup turned in a 118-foot effort. Both are slightly better than average for this segment.

In government crash tests, the Forte sedan and hatchback both earned an overall score of four stars (out of five), with three stars for overall frontal impact protection and five stars for overall side impact protection. Within that three-star frontal rating, the Forte earned five stars for driver protection, but just two stars for the front passenger.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the Forte its highest score of "Good" in its moderate-overlap frontal offset, side-impact and roof-strength tests. In that agency's relatively new small-overlap frontal offset test, however, the Forte scored the lowest rating of "Poor."

Interior Design and Special Features

Far from being an economy car stuffed with gadgets, the new Kia Forte boasts a handsome cabin furnished with quality materials that, in the higher trim levels, would give premium-brand compacts a run for their money. What's more, the Forte's high-tech features are well designed and easy to use. The touchscreen interface, with its large, logically positioned "buttons," is one of the best examples of this technology, regardless of market segment or price range.

Seat comfort front and rear is very good thanks to thick, well-bolstered seats. Even 6-foot adults should be comfortable sitting in back. The Forte sedan is also very generous when it comes to cargo capacity, boasting a trunk capacity of 14.9 cubic feet. The Forte 5 hatchback boasts 23.2 cubic feet.

Even the two-door Koup is surprisingly practical, boasting a 13.3-cubic-foot trunk that rivals many compact sedans. Its backseat is also spacious enough for adults, and reasonably easy to reach. Unfortunately, the driver seat is mounted a bit high, and as a result some of our taller editors found it difficult to get comfortable behind the wheel.

Driving Impressions

The 173-hp four-cylinder in the 2014 Kia Forte EX is one of the stronger engines you'll find in this class. This output doesn't translate to blazing acceleration, but in general, the EX feels quicker than the norm. The automatic transmission provides smooth gearchanges, and it's surprisingly responsive with downshifts during typical passing and merging situations. The only downside is that the 2.0-liter sounds and feels a bit buzzy during hard acceleration. The available 1.6-liter turbocharged engine makes for a livelier experience in both the hatchback and coupe. Although both transmissions are well matched to this motor, the slick-shifting six-speed manual is quite a bit of fun if you're so inclined.

The Forte has precise steering, and handling around turns is steady. On upper trim levels, you can even adjust the steering effort via a three-mode (Comfort/Normal/Sport) button on the wheel. Most shoppers in this segment will likely be satisfied with the Forte's overall ride quality. But the Forte's suspension can occasionally seem a bit unrefined. Rougher roads can produce a somewhat busier and stiffer ride, unlike rivals like the Focus or Mazda 3, both of which have a more sophisticated ride over broken pavement.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Average Consumer Rating (See all 20 reviews) Write a Review

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Best car i've owned

by on
Vehicle: 2014 Kia Forte

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Starts off great but major water issues!

by on
Vehicle: 2014 Kia Forte

I have had this car for over 2 years now and the issue of water somehow leaking into the car from the trunk/back lights has become a major problem. Anytime it rains or you get the car washed you have to hope that the car and anything in your trunk isn't soaked inside. I have gone out to find puddles of water, wet back seats and trunk, and in the cold months frozen windows (from the inside). The back windows stopped working which I am sure is due to the water damage and I have seen condensation inside the dash board where the speedometer is as well as freezing in the ceiling lights. Heads up, the problem begins with windows that constantly fog and you'll probably dismiss it with bad defrosting but DO NOT be fooled! The gas mileage is great but the issues that come with this car are not worth it.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Frustrated kia owner!!!

by on
Vehicle: 2014 Kia Forte

This car starts out cute, had it 2 yrs. now. Just found that there has been water running into the vehicle by way of trunk or back windshield. It's rains for a day and a half. I put something in my trunk and spotted a soaked trunk. I thought well I'll put in in the back seat , opened the door and put my bag on the back seat only to find that the back seat and floor were completed enfolded in water. Took the car to the dealer, there response was, well your warranty is out. The car is having electrical problems back windows won't open , apparently the water ruined them. The car has mold. They say , oh yes we are fixing there manufactures defect, not mine because it's out of warranty. WTF, this should be a recall due to defect! Won't stop this fight!!! This could cost more for repairs than the car is worth. Looking for help!!! Frustrated in North Carolina

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Good car but overstated mpg

by on
Vehicle: 2014 Kia Forte

Kia Forte overall is a good car, but they overstate their mpg. I'm not getting near kia projected 29 mpg instead I'm getting 25 mpg while driving about 60% highway and doing it with a light foot. Kia and hyundai are getting poor mpg compare to other compact cars manufacturers, plus they recently got fine by the govt for overstating their mpg for their cars. Guess they haven't learn there lesson.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Love her when she's not being serviced

by on
Vehicle: 2014 Kia Forte

Has been to dealer for several minor repairs. At 44k miles started having over heating issues. Cooling fan stopped working. Been at dealer a week. Not a major repair and the dealer is being very helpful but concerning that it needs these repairs at 44k miles!

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

This car is a lot of fun!

by on
Vehicle: 2014 Kia Forte

I've always owned Kia's and Hyundai's and have never had an issue and this car is no exception. our car is loaded with Bluetooth, satellite radio, rear back up camera and stereo controls on the steering wheel, making this car a fun and comfortable ride on roadtrips! we purchased this car for my wife in July of 2014 and now has 15k in it and have had NO PROBLEMS! i absolutely love it. Now i am in the market myself for a new car and after reading the reviews on the 2014 corolla, 2014 sentra SR, two of the cars i was considering buying, i realized the serious problems these two cars have with their trannys and or other critical components. So at this point i am happily going to stick to kia or hyundai. The only 2 issues i've had with my car so far are just minor interior issues. The car door seal seems like it shrunk with the heat (we live in arizona) and its coming out of place. the other problem is the passanger electric windows switch broke off... both of these issues are nothing compared to problems with the engine!

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Gas Mileage


  • 25
  • cty
  • 37
  • highway
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Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2014 Kia Forte in VA is:

$56.58 per month*

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