2014 Kia Forte EX Long-Term Road Test

2014 Kia Forte: Wheel Feel

September 27, 2013

2014 Kia Forte

Each time I get in the 2014 Kia Forte, I'm slightly more amazed at how much stuff they squeezed in here: heated front seats (ventilated and 8-way power adjustable for the driver), power-folding mirrors, a nice nav and multimedia system, a rear-view camera, keyless touch entry and ignition, and upholstery and steering wheel covered in something resembling leather.

The upholstery's pretty nice, somewhere between genuine leather and M-B Tex. The steering wheel wrap, meanwhile, feels something more like polyvinyl chloride than leather. If it's indeed leather, I'm certain I'll hear about it. If not, it's a pretty good approximation, if with just a slightly chalky texture.

I once had a swag jacket made from the polyvinyl stuff. I wore it for manual labor, helping friends move, and crawling under the Jeep during the cool months. It got down to the fibers pretty quick. Granted, this was a piece of cheaply-made promo clothing that I abused. I give the Forte wheel better odds. It's made from the same material that covered the wheel in our former long-term Optima, and I believe that made it to 20,000 miles with nary a blemish. The plastic inserts on the inner bottom rim also make a nice contrast to the rest of the texture.

I can only guess that the upholstery and materials (and loads of other features on the Forte) come through Hyundai/Kia's lauded vertical manufacturing structure, the product of in-house or in-network suppliers that help keep costs down, and allow a car loaded like our Forte out the door for $25,700.

Dan Frio, Automotive Editor


  • vvk vvk Posts:

    That's about how much my almost new very low mile one owner BMW 328xiT 6-speed manual AWD station wagon cost me. With sport package, leather, heated seats, premium sound and rear window shades. Just saying...

  • ryster ryster Posts:

    $25K for a BMW that originally priced out at $49K new? That's crazy. I was always under the impression that BMWs held their value better than the average car.

  • vvk vvk Posts:

    Same price for a $60k 528i. Actually, less. A 3-series wagon is more expensive because it is so rare. And I get free maintenance, free loaners and my BMW service adviser bends over backwards to make me happy.

  • emajor emajor Posts:

    The "I got a premium used car for the price of a commuter-grade new car" argument is pretty old and irrelevant. Almost as old and irrelevant as the "I can get a base trim of the next size up car for this price" argument. You can always get a nicer used car for the price of new, and I think everyone knows this. But no one who is shopping for a loaded Forte to be comfy on their way to work is going to WANT a heavily-depreciating niche manual transmission European wagon with an elevated chance of becoming a money pit as the miles roll on. And I say this as someone who would much rather walk out to see your BMW in my driveway than a Forte.

  • vvk vvk Posts:

    My point is that $25k+ for a subcompact *KIA* is extreme.

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

$184 per month*
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