Rear Suspension - 2014 Kia Forte EX Long-Term Road Test
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2014 Kia Forte EX Long-Term Road Test

2014 Kia Forte: Rear Suspension

August 6, 2013

2014 Kia Forte

So there I was, making my daily migration to Santa Monica in our long-term Kia Forte. There's a small section on my drive where the road is pockmarked and choppy. And that's when I felt something familiar.

It was a strange and slightly unsettling shimmy coming from the rear wheels. The first time I felt it was when I was driving the Hyundai Veloster, and it's all down to a similar rear suspension. A Torsion-beam suspension.

Torsion beam suspensions offer some advantages, namely in the cost and packaging departments. In terms of disadvantages, well, there's that shimmy I mentioned.

In its defense, the Forte remained composed over these ruts, but it just felt like the tires were skipping from side to side. In the Veloster, I also felt another more unsettling shimmy under hard braking while heading into turns. This one felt more like the beginnings of a tail-slapper, but it never got to that point.

Considering that this Forte has no performance-based aspirations, the torsion-beam is probably just fine for the majority of drivers. Me? I prefer either a truly independent rear suspension or a solid rear axle a-la Ford Mustang. I know, that's a pretty wide range there, but this middle-ground beam thing doesn't do it for me.

Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor @ 3,164 miles


Comments

  • duck87 duck87 Posts:

    Kia/Hyundai's suspension design and tuning is still a ways off many other manufacturers- Ford, Mazda, Honda are able to make it work in their compact cars. I remember driving the Veloster and being sorely disappointed, it fell to pieces when you're driving hard over rough sections of road. Clearly the design focus of these cars is in things that most mainstream consumers care about- interior, exterior, features... but it honestly doesn't cost much more to improve the chassis and suspension...

  • gslippy gslippy Posts:

    I happen to like torsion beam rear suspension a lot, mainly for its simplicity and solidity. A little hop on bumpy roads is sort of entertaining.

  • yellowbal yellowbal Posts:

    Torsion beam for my mom because of durability, independent for better feel and control.

  • cotak cotak Posts:

    The old torsion beam rear hip wiggle. It's just the nature of it. It's more feel then real issue. The Cobalt SS has the same suspension type and it clung onto corners like a cat with claws.

  • jederino jederino Posts:

    Loved my '97 Maxima with the torsion beam suspension, which had a rather refined and sporty ride despite that. And, yes, the rear hip wiggle was there, but in a finely tuned package minor flaws are part of the charm, right?

  • agentorange agentorange Posts:

    Nice commentary on the appalling state of many roads in the US. I wonder what advantage the twist beam has over a simple dead axle located by EQUAL length trailing arms? Oh, and if the Edmunds guys don't like the rear end on this car, God forbid they ever drive an E30 3-series with its semi-trailing arms. Put on tyres it does not like and be forced to brake at the wrong time and you will really know what funky rear ends are all about. You may guess how I know. :)

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    duck87 is right. Ford's torsion beam on the new Fiesta ST has none of this kind of crap going on. Hyundai/Kia still have a ways to go to nail suspension design and tuning.

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