2014 Kia Forte: Long Haul Comfort
June 18, 2014
It started with a bit of an apology. I had a road trip up to Berkeley coming up and requested something fun. It was a stretch, sure, as most of the time the car would be parked, but the way up and back would be on California's 1 and 101 highways. If you haven't driven either, you need to. In something fast. I've done it before and was still excited
But then, due to scheduling, I was dumped into our 2014 Kia Forte.
Personally, I've never been a big fan of this Forte. Objectively it's darned good. We gave it an overall rating of A. I'm just not that into the interior style and find the seats flat, featureless and lacking enough thigh support and seat-bottom recline for even short drives. (The driver seat is heated and cooled which is nice. Gotta give it that.)
Turns out, with the Forte, time is your friend.
I wiggled around trying to get comfy for the first hour or so of the trip and then, BAM! I was settled. I hit the right combo of wiggling, lumbar, rake, height and tilt and just clicked into the seat. This is how safecrackers must feel.
With that pesky annoyance out of the way, I was free to enjoy some of the Kia Forte's other good points. Specifically, the quiet, high-speed cruising. Seriously, this thing just kinda bombs down the interstate at about 10 mph faster than you think you're going. This is big-car behavior, not compact stuff. The engine itself isn't particularly fond of steep grades, but loves flat cruising and settles into a smooth whir.
The only thing that can't keep up at these speeds is the suspension: Those spots over bridges where the surfaces changes from concrete to asphalt? Those turn into an adventure as the rear twist-beam suspension makes everything go a bit jiggly. Mark has commented about this behavior before.
I couldn't find that perfect seating comfort on any of the short drives I took up in the Bay Area. But on the way back, it clicked again and I cruised back to L.A. without an ache.
Mike Magrath, Features Editor @ 18,250 miles