2014 Kia Forte EX Long-Term Road Test

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2014 Kia Forte EX: Fuel Economy Update for March

April 4, 2014

2014 Kia Forte EX

We put 1,416 miles on our long-term 2014 Kia Forte EX in March. With a healthy dose of open highway travel to balance out the Southern California gridlock (plus Brent's Active Eco mode experiment), the Forte managed a 30.3 mpg average for the month.

Its lifetime average crept up to 28.7 mpg, which surpasses the EPA combined fuel economy rating of 28 even.

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2014 Kia Forte: Find Some Bumpy Roads During Your Test-Drive

April 2, 2014

2014 Kia Forte

Early on in our test of the 2014 Kia Forte, Mark Takahashi wrote about the rear suspension and how its relatively unsophisticated design can lead to awkward undulations coming from the rear of the car when driving over bumpy or choppy pavement.

This isn't something you'll encounter on a daily basis necessarily. But it is a quality that cars like the Mazda 3 or Ford Focus don't suffer from, and it's important enough that I'd encourage a shopper to factor it in for his or her car purchasing decision.

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2014 Kia Forte: Using Uvo Voice Commands

March 31, 2014

2014 Kia Forte

Our 2014 Kia Forte EX comes standard with Kia's Uvo service. There are a lot of neat features within Uvo, such as having an Uvo app on your smartphone, maintenance notifications and indicators, emergency assistance and enhanced entertainment.

Uvo also includes voice command functionality for phone, audio and navigation on our Forte, and since it's something you can use frequently, I was curious to see how well it worked.

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2014 Kia Forte: Does Using Active Eco Improve Fuel Economy?

March 28, 2014

2014 Kia Forte

The past few days I've been driving our 2014 Kia Forte with its "Active Eco" mode turned on. This mode, which you activate by pushing a button on the dash to the left of the steering wheel, adjusts certain aspects of the car to potentially improve fuel economy.

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2014 Kia Forte: 15,000 Miles

March 25, 2014

2014 Kia Forte

We've had our 2014 Kia Forte in our long-term fleet for about 9 months now. We also just recently cleared 15,000 miles in the car, which means we're right on schedule for getting about 20,000 miles at the completion of our one-year test.

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2014 Kia Forte: A Winning Choice for A Small Sedan

March 24, 2014

2014 Kia Forte

Choosing a new small sedan to buy for 2014 isn't easy. There are plenty of great choices. But if you end up with a 2014 Kia Forte you'll have what I find to be one of the best cars in the class.

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2014 Kia Forte: Tall People May Have Trouble

March 18, 2014

2014 Kia Forte

At 6'4", I realize I am slightly taller than the average American male (5'9", according to the Centers for Disease Control, in case you were wondering). My height has been known to cause me discomfort in certain automobiles, especially in compact cars. Such is the case in our long-term 2014 Kia Forte.

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2014 Kia Forte: Rearview Cam Replaces the Tennis Ball

March 14, 2014

2014 Kia Forte

Old habits die hard. While living and driving in Japan, you quickly learn to back into spaces. It's not part of traffic law, but it's socially expected behavior in parking lots and garages. I haven't driven regularly in Japan since rearview cameras have proliferated, but I can only imagine they're a welcome tool.

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2014 Kia Forte EX: This Car Knows When You're Coming

March 6, 2014

2014 Kia Forte EX

If you have a dog you know what it's like to put the key in your front door and hear the eager barking inside. Not to take anything away from man's best friend, but the LED perimeter approach lighting and illuminated door handle pockets on our long-term 2014 Kia Forte EX have a similar effect.

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2014 Kia Forte: Rear Vents Are a Nice Feature

March 5, 2014

2014 Kia Forte

Rear vents seem like a no brainer, one of those things you expect to have in any modern vehicle with rear seats. Surprisingly enough, they're not always as prevalent as you think. There's a certain pickup truck in our fleet that has full-size rear seats and no vents.

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2014 Kia Forte EX: Fuel Economy Update for February

March 4, 2014

2014 Kia Forte EX

During February, our 2014 Kia Forte EX rolled up nearly another 1,500 miles on the odometer. For the month, it averaged 30.6 mpg. That's 2.6 mpg higher than the EPA combined figure and pretty good considering L.A.'s notorious traffic.

Even more impressive is that, at 28.5 mpg, the Kia's lifetime average is still above the EPA combined average.

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2014 Kia Forte EX: What Would It Really Cost?

February 25, 2014

2014 Kia Forte EX

In our long-term introductions we always list the MSRP of the vehicle we are testing. But we rarely talk about what it would actually cost to buy the car. Of course, the purchase price is a moving target. Incentives come and go. The price of new cars rises and falls. And car buyers each have their own ability level when it comes to deal-making.

Since I liked this feature-rich 2014 Kia Forte EX, and I'm coming out of a lease on my current car this summer, I was curious to know what it would take to put this car in my garage. So I ran the numbers to see how much a purchase and a monthly payment would cost. Here's the skinny.

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2014 Kia Forte EX: Two Sides of Fuel Economy

February 24, 2014

2014 Kia Forte EX

Each year Edmunds editors hold a "Fuel Sipper Smackdown" to show how different driving conditions provide very different fuel economy results. On a recent trip to Las Vegas in our long-term 2014 Kia Forte EX, I conducted a mini-smackdown of my own by isolating the city driving from the two highway legs. The results were amazingly different.

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2014 Kia Forte: Steering Feel

February 21, 2014

2014 Kia Forte

Last week I spent five days in a 2014 Nissan Altima S while my Leaf was in the shop. It reminded me how important extended test drives are in selecting the car you want to buy. Case in point: the Altima is a pleasant commuter car, but after a few days I began to notice that the light steering requires frequent adjustment to stay centered in the lane. As soon as I identified this issue, it grew in my mind to the point where I think it might be a deal breaker. Was I being overly critical?

Enter the 2014 Kia Forte EX.

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2014 Kia Forte EX: Perforated Leather Not for Kids

February 14, 2014

2014 Kia Forte EX

Maybe the only downside to perforated pleather rear seats: crumbs from the kids. Our 2014 Kia Forte's rear seats offer heating elements, hence the holes. Heated rear seats are a pretty upscale feature for an economy compact, but this shouldn't surprise. Kia excels on the features-for-price ledger, and now does it with style and satisfaction.

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2014 Kia Forte: Acquiring Signal

February 7, 2014

2014 Kia Forte

I was driving our 2014 Kia Forte and just as I was about to get all nostalgic about Jimmie's Chicken Shack and my former skateboarding youth, I got the message below.

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2014 Kia Forte EX: Fuel Economy Update for January

February 5, 2014

2014 Kia Forte EX

We added 1,391 miles to our 2014 Kia Forte in the month of January.

In that time we averaged 32.2 mpg, which is considerably better than the EPA estimated combined. It helped raise our lifetime average for the car from 28.1 to 28.5 mpg.

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2014 Kia Forte: Really, It Has Seat Memory?

January 20, 2014

2014 Kia Forte

Our 2014 Kia Forte EX sedan is pretty loaded with features, so much so that I overlooked a few during my drive to Vegas last month. Halfway through the trip, my husband and I realized we hadn't been taking advantage of its seat memory settings for the driver seat.

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2014 2014 Kia Forte EX: LED Taillights? Yes, Please

January 10, 2014

2014 2014 Kia Forte EX

Hiring away designer Peter Schreyer from Audi is one of the best decisions ever made at Kia. His presence at the company over the last six years has resulted in dramatically better looking cars that usually manage not to hit you over the head with overdone styling flourishes.

Our long-term 2014 Kia Forte EX sedan is an example of this new wave of Kias, and these LED taillights are one of my favorite design details.

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2014 Kia Forte EX: I'll Take Xenon Headlights at Any Price

January 9, 2014

2014 Kia Forte EX

Xenon headlights are one of my few must-haves on any car. The reason is simple: I like seeing things. Good headlights facilitate seeing things at night and make road trips a lot more enjoyable.

Problem is manufacturers tend to bury them in the upper trim levels and/or expensive option packages. On our 2014 Kia Forte EX sedan, they're part of the $2,300 Technology package.

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2014 Kia Forte EX: Fuel Economy Update for December

January 6, 2014

2013 Kia Forte EX

We put 1,983 miles on our long-term 2014 Kia Forte EX in the last month of 2013, thanks to three weeks' worth of commuting and a holiday week in Las Vegas.

The extra highway mileage pushed the Kia's lifetime average to 28.1 mpg (up from 27.7 a month ago), which matches its EPA combined fuel economy rating.

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2014 Kia Forte: Adults in the Backseat

January 3, 2014

2014 Kia Forte

Under the original plan, my family members were all going to rent cars during our holiday rendezvous in Las Vegas. So when I picked out our long-term 2014 Kia Forte EX for my road trip, I never envisioned more than two adults riding in it.

However, for most of our travels around Vegas (including this day trip to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area), there were four or even five adults inside the compact Kia. It was cozy, but for the most part, the Forte was up to the challenge.

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2014 Kia Forte: Let's Drive to Vegas for the Holidays

January 2, 2014

2014 Kia Forte

Vegas would never be my first choice for a holiday destination, but when one side of my family decreed that we'd meet up in Sin City (instead of our usual spot: subfreezing central Illinois) the week of Christmas, my husband and I were obliged to make the drive. Never mind the annoyance of good weather, though. This would be an opportunity to take our long-term 2014 Kia Forte on a short road trip.

I hadn't spent much time with the redesigned Forte before this trip. Experience with the previous-generation car shaped my expectations, though. I knew I would enjoy all the amenities packed into our $25,735 long-term car but figured I'd find the actual driving experience rather dull, no more than adequate.

But after spending close to 1,000 miles in our 2014 Forte, I like our Kia a great deal more than that.

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2014 Kia Forte: Hey, Good Lookin'

December 25, 2013

2014 Kia Forte

I continue to enjoy the styling of our 2014 Kia Forte EX long-termer. It has sleek, interesting lines and some neat details.

What's truly cool is that with cars like this Forte, the Ford Focus and the new Mazda 3, this compact economy segment offers buyers multiple choices of good-looking cars.

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2014 Kia Forte: Flex Steer

December 24, 2013

2014 Kia Forte

It's pretty cool that the 2014 Kia Forte EX has adjustable steering effort, called Flex Steer. Especially considering the segment and price-point this car falls into.

There are three settings: Comfort, Normal and Sport, and you can adjust them by pressing that button with the little steering wheel on it just above the cruise control.

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2014 Kia Forte: Parking Lot Scrape

December 19, 2013

2014 Kia Forte

The only thing worse than having a stranger frantically wave at you from across the parking lot is to then have that stranger point out the new scrape on your car.

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2014 Kia Forte: 10,000 miles

December 17, 2013

2014 Kia Forte

Our 2014 Kia Forte test car crossed the 10,000-mile mark this weekend, which means we've added 5,000 miles to the odo since mid-September.

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2014 Kia Forte: Kia Trunk-Lid Hinges

December 12, 2013

2014 Kia Forte

I've been looking for something I don't like about our 2014 Kia Forte. And while loading up a trunkful of Goodwill items, I noticed its box-crushing trunk hinges.

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2014 Kia Forte EX: Fuel Economy Update for November

December 05, 2013

2014 Kia Forte EX

The window sticker for our 2014 Kia Forte tells us it comes with a four-cylinder engine (which it does), as well as leather seats, a nav, sunroof (check, check and check) as well as host of other goodies. But the window sticker also has EPA MPG numbers and those, while claimed, can be much less easy to prove. Is our Kia living up to those numerical expectations?

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2014 Kia Forte: Passengers Pluses and Minuses

November 25, 2013

2014 Kia Forte

I spent some time in the passenger seat of the 2014 Kia Forte this weekend. It's a nice place to be, in many respects.

First and foremost, Kia allows passengers to set destinations and otherwise use the navigation system while the car is in motion, at speed. Hooray for common sense. It's a minor but understandable inconvenience that the screen is canted slightly toward the driver. Most passengers won't mind that.

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2014 Kia Forte: The Relentless Pursuit of Customer Satisfaction

November 22, 2013

2014 Kia Forte

The service advisor, of course, prepped me for what would come next. You might get a survey, he said, and we want to make sure you were 100 percent satisfied with the service. I nodded, smiled. I might have said that everything was great, and it was.

The next morning, I got an email from the dealership's CSI administrator. These initials, of course, do not stand for "crime scene investigation," but for "customer satisfaction index."

"If we have not achieved EXCELLENCE in your service experience, we have failed," the note said. The tone was one of slight panic. (I should add that the dealership didn't know that this was an Edmunds car. I used my own contact info.)

Later in the day, I got the dealership's invitation to join its email service-reminder list, with a promise of lots of perks. Still later, I got a phone call from the service department, just checking in to make sure the service experience was all it could have been. I assured the caller it was fine.

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2014 Kia Forte: Ancestor Spotting

November 20, 2013

2014 Kia Forte

I had just picked up our 2014 Kia Forte after its first service when I realized I was behind another Forte EX, also in Crimson Red. I don't know what year this one is, but you can see how the Forte is evolving, having shed its boxier backend and squared off headlights with the 2014 redesign.

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2014 Kia Forte: First Service Visit

November 19, 2013

2014 Kia Forte

As Travis previously noted, our 2014 Kia Forte was subtly telling us it was time for its first oil change and other minor service stuff. I had the choice of three Kia dealerships for the inaugural visit and went with the one that was, by a hair, the closest to my house. The fact that it's within walking distance of a Nordstrom did factor into my decision.

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2014 Kia Forte: Seat Heat Review

November 15, 2013

2014 Kia Forte

I always get happy when I see that a car has seat heaters. Our 2014 Kia Forte positioned the buttons right where you can't miss them. The Forte driver gets heated and cooled seats, but the passenger only gets heat.

But that's OK. At least they provide something for the passenger.

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2014 Kia Forte: Controls Close at Hand

November 13, 2013

2014 Kia Forte

I grew up in Philadelphia, sometimes affectionately referred to as Philthydelphia. From time to time (and this is pretty gross) a pig truck would try to take an illegal shortcut through my neighborhood and pollute the air. A pig truck is just like what it sounds, a truck full of pigs. And boy did they leave a trail of stick behind them. We'd all run for cover, shut our windows and protect our noses. I don't think they do this anymore, at least I hope not.

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2014 Kia Forte: First Service Required Soon

November 14, 2013

2014 Kia Forte

I drove our long-term 2014 Kia Forte for three days before I noticed the service warning. It only appears for a few seconds before the display reverts back to the default information screen, so it's easy to miss.

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2014 Kia Forte: Front Door Reflectors

November 12, 2013

2014 Kia Forte

When I opened the doors on our 2014 Kia Forte, I noticed something unique: reflectors. Sure, I've got them on the wheels of my bicycle, but I couldn't recall seeing this feature on the inside of many car doors.

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2014 Kia Forte: Can You Tow It Behind a Motorhome?

November 8, 2013

2014 Kia Forte

You can tow anything behind a motorhome if you load it on a trailer first. But most RV regulars see this as a huge hassle, and they'd rather not have to resort to a two-wheel tow dolly, either.

The ideal scenario is shown above. A so-called "dinghy" vehicle tags along behind on its own four wheels, ready to be unhooked and driven on side trips while the motorhome sits moored with its awnings unfurled and its sliders popped out in full relaxation mode. Flat-towing makes it unnecessary to fret about the extra towed weight, loading time and storage problem that a trailer or dolly represents.

That's all well and good, but could I tow our 2014 Kia Forte behind a motorhome?

Sorry, but the answer seems to be "no." The owner's manual in our 2014 Kia Forte does not authorize it for such duty.

This answer isn't spelled out specifically because, quite frankly, the owner's manual creates the impression that Kia doesn't even know what dinghy towing is. There's no acknowledgement that flat-towing exists beyond the need for vehicle recovery after a mechanical breakdown.

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2014 Kia Forte: Classy Headlights

November 7, 2013

2014 Kia Forte

During the four months we've had the 2014 Kia Forte in our long-term fleet, there hasn't been much to complain about. It's a strong competitor in the compact sedan segment, partially because of how functionally excellent it is, but also because of quality styling cues. Take the headlights, for example.

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2014 Kia Forte: Fuel Economy Update for October

November 5, 2013

2014 Kia Forte

We took possession of our 2014 Kia Forte in the latter part of June, so we've been pouring fuel into this nice-driving Korean compact sedan for a little more than 4 months. In that time we've driven it 7,963 miles, which works out to a little more than 1,850 miles per month.

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Edmunds Insurance Estimator

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

$256 per month*
* Explanation
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