2014 Kia Forte EX Long-Term Road Test

2014 Kia Forte: DRLs and LED Brows

July 22, 2013

2014 Kia Forte

I'm a fan of daytime running lights (DRLs). They make it easier for me to spot cars at a glance in the rear-view mirror and on the road. In Canada, all cars are required to have DRLs. In the U.S., it is optional. Kia opted not to include DRLs on the 2014 Forte. But this could be a quick fix, if Kia wanted to add them.

See that LED brow on the Forte's headlight? Use that. This strip of lights is pretty common on new cars nowadays, and while many editors in the office seem to have "LED brow" fatigue, most agree that the lights are functional. But the Forte's LED brow only comes on when the lights are in parking mode or the headlights are on.

I wasn't able to find a way to switch on DRLs in the Forte's settings menu. The owner's manual, likely written to cover the U.S. and Canadian versions of the car, shows that the car is capable of having DRLs. But ours didn't come that way.

What are your thoughts on DRLs and LED brows?

Ronald Montoya, Consumer Advice Editor @ 2,625 miles


  • bemybear bemybear Posts:

    I think that daytime running lights are a good thing. Many people are either unaware or uninterested in how hard their vehicles are to see in cloudy or rainy conditions and DRL is a big help. There is almost no fuel economy impact from them and there are very few instances where they are problematic. What was or can be problematic is if there isn't an easy way to turn them off at least on a once per drive option. I love my automatic headlights and on my Malibu they are easy to turn off when in a drive through or whatever but I have been in some cars where the headlight controls were not intuitive. I find the anti-DRL crowd hard to understand. It seems like the argument usually comes down to resenting that DRL is 'forced' on them which it isn't here in the US.

  • wdrauch wdrauch Posts:

    bemybear, my problem with DRLs is that too many drivers who have them drive around in daytime inclement weather with only their DRLs on, instead of turning on their headlamps. This leaves them with no taillamps on and, therefore, poorly visible from behind ...... a very dangerous situation for other drivers. Solution? Require cars with DRLs to also have auto headlamps.

  • bankerdanny bankerdanny Posts:

    I'm in favor of them. Car & Driver has whined about them for years. Complaining that they made the car more visible to the police. Personally I am more concerned with making it easier to see me than making it harder for the cops to notice me when I breaking the traffic laws. Plus, DRL have no impact on radar guns, speed cameras, or red light cameras. So I say bring them on.

  • stovt001_ stovt001_ Posts:

    LED brows are definitely overplayed, but if the car has them it is just silly to not use them as DRLs.

  • shindig4 shindig4 Posts:

    I am a supporter of DRLs. In certain conditions, cars can be difficult to spot, and DRLs solve that problem. I agree with wdrauch, though -- I've seen so many drivers over the past few years drive in rain, dusk, and darkness with only DRLs and no headlights. This is a major safety issue. I blame this more on the instrument lighting of most modern cars more than DRLs. So many newer cars have gauges, buttons, and displays that are constantly lit, and less-than-attentive drivers don't notice to switch their headlights to the ON position. To me, the best fix is to equip auto headlights on all cars with DRLs or a constantly-lit instrument panel.

  • duck87 duck87 Posts:

    I'm kind of surprised about the comments regarding DRLs and drivers not using their headlights in inclement weather... you guys know that inattentive drivers are not going to notice their headlights are on, whether or not their cars are equipped with DRLs right? Since I constantly straddle Michigan and Ontario, I get a first-hand glimpse of both sides of the fence, and when it comes to drivers and headlights... if they're clueless, they're clueless. I'd prefer DRLs to at least compensate for poor weather conditions.

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    I would rather have it that there is no way for the IP lights to come on without turning on your headlights, whether manually or automatically. There is nothing like invisible instruments to get people to turn on their regular headlights. Yes, some cars have a sensor so that if you are driving directly into a bright setting or rising sun, they will kick on the IP lights so you can read the instruments with eyes that have adjusted for that bright, low sun, but as soon as the sun either rises higher in the sky or drops below the horizon, the IP lights in those cars should go off so you are reminded that your full running lights are also off.

  • cotak cotak Posts:

    I am with duck87. The problem is dash lighting. Since dashes became lighted even during day time people have stopped remembering to put on their lights. Auto head lamps are not a fix either. My sister's one of those with auto head lamps and it's on auto when one of the other members of the family has driven her car, but it's off again once she visit the dealer for service and they turn it back to off. And she'll drive like that until someone else turns it on for her. I suppose HID or LED head lamps with halogen DRL would help simply because of the color temp change when lights are on. But no car company's going to shove in old halogen DRL... The other typical clueless annoyance is the high beam. Not sure if some of them think that having the blue light icon on means lights on rather than high beam but it happens a lot. And the most common offender are honda civics...

  • stovt001_ stovt001_ Posts:

    @fordson1: I'll echo Duck87 on this one - if a driver is clueless, they're clueless, and that includes the IP. I've seen more than my fair share of cars driving at night with no headlights, and the IP is completely dark too. Because if you can't be bother

  • schen72 schen72 Posts:

    cotak, I myself drive with my high beams on purpose. I'm fully aware of what they are. The reason is that my 13 year old car's HID lights are no longer bright at all. So I use high beams during the day to mimic bright DRLs.

  • wdrauch, I actually like the fact that the rear lights aren't on in most daylight conditions as in non-dark settings having them lit can make the brake lights less noticeable. ---- schen72, bright enough high beams coming at you are still annoying during the day. They aren't blinding like at night but they are distracting. That's why the cars that use high-beams for DRLs run them at partial power.

  • mazeroni mazeroni Posts:

    When automakers use a light-pipe to create a single lighting element I am a fan. Such as those on new MBs, BMWs, Camaro, new Mazda 3, and Golf. I saw the new GMC Sierra which has LED's along bottom of the lighting cluster and it looks straight-up cheap for a $40K+ vehicle. Too many automakers are using LEDs as a afterthought to denote luxury when they hadn't invested any money or thought into their application.

  • cx7lover cx7lover Posts:

    I'm a fan of them. My 2014 Mazda6 has Angel eyes and an LED strip that act as the DRL's and at night they are subdued to blend more with the Xenons.

  • I have no problem with DRL's in general but I do have issues with the way some manufacturers implement them. I don't think that the high or the low beams should be used as DRL's for 2 reasons. First is that when I actually need to use them at night, they are dimmer because they are always on and in turn burn out sooner. Secondly I ride a motorcycle which is required to have it low beam on whenever it is running so that it stands out in the daytime in the sea of cars. But if all cars also have their headlights on as DRL's than this is a moot point. However if a car has LED DRL's, like Audi, or uses the orange turn signals as DRL's, early 2000 GM products, it takes care of my complaints.

  • stovt001_ stovt001_ Posts:

    Ah yes GM's amber DRLs were kinda cool. Created noticeable visibility, differentiated from bikes, saved the headlights, and avoided confusion between the auto headlights and DRLs. And like Cotak, I've suspected some people driving around with the high beams on may think the blue headlight symbol just indicates that headlights are on.

  • hybris hybris Posts:

    While invisible IPs are a good way to remind people to turn on their headlights I still think that DRL's just reinforce stupidity regardless of weather conditions or time of day. I'll take full manual headlights anyday........................................On a different manner is their some way I can get a link to the Edmunds site survey I got the offer but it was blocked by my ADBLOCKER(!) and I want to take said survey in hopes that someone higher up will look at it.

  • toddm52789 toddm52789 Posts:

    I could see DRL's both good and bad. I've got a Honda Accord, and while I do see a point in DRL's making the car more visible to others, they can be a bit troublesome, if you are not used to DRL's. I went from a car without DRL to a car with them, and I did accidentally drive at night with only the DRLs on wondering why the headlights are so dim. But that could also be me dash lighting. The only way to tell if my headlights are on, would be obviously the switch, or a tiny little green headlight indicator on the gauges. My gauges do not dim or brighten up with headlights on. I would have to see if that can be changed.

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