What's Not to Like? - 2014 Kia Forte EX Long-Term Road Test

2014 Kia Forte EX Long-Term Road Test

2014 Kia Forte EX: What's Not to Like?

August 19, 2013

2014 Kia Forte

I tried hard to find something about the 2014 Kia Forte that I didn't like. Ultimately — and this is pretty lame — the only thing I really disliked were the wheels and the graphics on the nav screen. Everything else worked so effortlessly, was so well designed, and so nicely balanced, that it was beyond reproach.

I did, however, find several features worth calling out.

I had to agree with Executive Editor Ed Hellwig's comments about the power in this Kia. Despite its name, its forte is not speed, or at least acceleration. With 173 horses on tap, and 154 pound-feet of torque there's all the zip you need to get out ahead of traffic. The problem is, it just doesn't give you that burst of power, the low-end grunt we like. And, wind it up a little, it sounds like it's trying too hard. But on the flip side, it got 33.2 mpg over more than 300 miles of driving.

One thing that did surprise me were the brakes. I'm not a driver that pays a lot of attention to brake-feel. But within the first couple of miles I noticed that the brakes engaged at the right level and modulated perfectly for my taste.

2014 Kia Forte

Finally, under the heading of hidden features, I found this air conditioning vent in the glove box to keep drinks cold. Only problem is, then you have to put your stuff somewhere else while the glove box becomes the ice box.

Basically, this is an impressive car that carries a sticker price of $25,735 (TMV is about a grand less). That's a lot of car for the money.

Philip Reed, Senior Consumer Advice Editor @ 4,012 miles


  • greenpony greenpony Posts:

    "Beyond reproach" eh? Sounds like you've decided what your next car will be. For me, though, this would be a second tier choice. The first reason is the styling; if I can't like it walking up to it every day, I don't want to own it. It's not as crisp and sporty as the Optima. Secondly, it's time for me to get out of an "economy" car and step up to something with just a wee bit more power; that's my automotive need at this time. For about $25k I can get a Civic Si, GTI, or ST, or even a V6 Mustang. To each their own, though.

  • duck87 duck87 Posts:

    What about the ride and handling? A few editors already noted that this car leaves them flat in that department. This looks like a good substitute for a Corolla.

  • reminder reminder Posts:

    How about crash test data? The one feature nobody wants to test. Survivability is a big deal.

  • agentorange agentorange Posts:

    " The problem is, it just doesn't give you that burst of power, the low-end grunt we like." Sure sign of a CA emasculated SULEV engine. The throttle calibration is always soft on those cars. I refuse to buy them for that very reason. Test a car from a free state and feel the difference.

  • sharpend sharpend Posts:

    Safety could be a problem, as reported this month: The IIHS called the Forte "the worst performer for both restraints and structure of all of the small cars evaluated" because too much belt slack and a side curtain airbag that didn't provide enough forward coverage allowed the dummy's head to hit the windshield pillar and instrument panel. The dummy's bottom half was also in bad shape. "Door hinge pillar, driver footwell, and instrument panel intrusion was extensive and contributed to a high risk of injury to the left thigh and a significant risk to the left lower leg," the agency said in a statement.

  • nick944 nick944 Posts:

    Shapend, it should be noted that this was only in the new IIHS small overlap crash test which only half of the compact vehicles tested passed. Otherwise it is on par with other vehicles in other crash situations. Once, manufacturers take the new data from the small overlap test and design vehicles to survive this type of crash most of these vehicles should pass.

  • bassrockerx bassrockerx Posts:

    for 25k that competes very competitively with your camry SE that you had last year? i know this car is price-competitive in it's class but with the midsize sedans allways "on sale" and with low prices all the time im having a hard time justifying this car at this price compared to a midsizer. also for speed there is the civic SI that you might be able to get cheaper as well. (although you would be sacrificing lots of features like mentioned above)

  • duck87 duck87 Posts:

    @nick944: Well... the Elantra passed the test (barely). Not to mention the Forte is a new car, one that was designed when they should have known the small overlap test was coming (the Civic was redesigned for the test when it underwent its first year make

  • agentorange agentorange Posts:

    @duck87 I don't think the IIHS small offset crash is a part of the NHTSA requirement yet. Kia and everybody else will have been working on the design for some time based on the regulatory requirements. To gripe about them failing a test invented after the

  • duck87 duck87 Posts:

    @agentorange: Nobody is griping about anything; these are just observations.

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