2014 Kia Forte EX Long Term Road Test - Introduction

2014 Kia Forte EX Long Term Road Test


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2014 Kia Forte EX: Introduction

It's a good time to be shopping for a compact sedan, but not such a good time to be introducing a new compact sedan. The competition out there is tough, and the 2014 Kia Forte EX joins a crowded field that makes it even tougher.

The newly redesigned Forte is longer and wider than before, with a fully revised suspension that promises more control and compliance. There's also an all-new direct-injection motor that brings more power to the party. On paper, it's an impressive package that appears to have everything it needs to compete in the crowded compact sedan segment. And now that a 2014 Kia Forte EX has entered our long-term test fleet, we've got a year to see if that feeling holds up.

What We Got
With a $20,200 starting price, the 2014 Kia Forte EX comes well equipped with standard USB/aux input, Bluetooth, cruise control, steering-wheel-mounted controls, air-conditioning and Kia's unique Uvo eServices infotainment/telematics system with standard back-up camera.

We've never spent a full year with Uvo, and this is the perfect opportunity. This system not only gives real-time maintenance notifications, but it features 911 Connect in case of an accident, roadside assistance and apps like Twitter, Siri and Pandora. This is free for 10 years/100,000 miles and does not require an additional data plan on your phone.

Another first for us from the Kia family is the new 2.0-liter, direct-injected four-cylinder that's hooked to a six-speed automatic transmission. This new motor, in direct-injected trim, isn't currently shared with anything else in the Kia line and makes 173 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 154 pound-feet of torque at 4,700 rpm. This outguns most of its rivals like the Civic (140 hp), Dodge Dart (160 hp) and Ford Focus (160 hp). Though it makes the most power of the group, there's no real sacrifice to fuel economy. The 2014 Kia Forte returns 24 city/36 highway and 28 mpg combined.

But those are just the features of the base EX. Ours, as is usual for our test fleet, is loaded. First up, the 17-inch wheels replace the standard 16s and ring up $300. Next up is the $2,600 Premium package that includes a sunroof, leather seats with power adjustability and ventilation for the driver, heated front seats, heated outboard rear seats, push-button start and entry and a heated steering wheel. The EX Technology package adds $2,300 and includes xenon HID headlights, dual-zone climate control, navigation, LED taillights and a 4.2-inch color LCD in the instrument panel.

When everything gets added up, this Crimson Red 2014 Kia Forte EX wears a sticker price of $25,735. It was provided to us by the manufacturer for the purpose of this test.

Why We Got It
This 2014 Kia Forte EX joins our fleet at a prime time for us and a difficult time for the Forte. The compact sedan segment is booming. For starters, Honda has just released the 2013 Honda Civic with extra content and a lot of refinement to an already solid package. The 2013 Ford Focus is excellent as well, not to mention the Chevy Cruze and Hyundai Elantra. On the horizon, the Toyota Corolla is getting a full redesign for 2014 and the all-new Mazda 3 is right around the corner. And then, finally, in our very own test fleet is the all-new 2013 Dodge Dart that is equipped very similarly.

Not only does it have to live up to the now-high standards we have for Kia cars, but it has to impress us in what may be the freshest and most competitive segment in America. We've got 20,000 miles to see if the 2014 Kia Forte is a front-runner, or just a member of the pack. Follow along on our long-term road test page for daily updates on this and the rest of our long-term test fleet.

Best MPG: 35
Worst MPG: 20.3
Average MPG over 852 miles: 24.2

The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.


  • se_riously se_riously Posts:

    MSRP of $25,735? Granted that's a lot of content, but at that price you really should have stepped up to a decently equipped midsize vehicle provided you have the room to park it. The Forte offers no benefit in terms of fuel economy or power compared to a midsize, yet you have less room and probably a less refined overall package. Doesn't make sense.

  • emajor emajor Posts:

    I'm interested to see how this car does. It looks good inside and out and the power ratings from the engine are impressive. I've tried the refreshed Soul and thought it was a fantastic little car, but was badly disappointed in the four-cylinder Optima LX due to its lousy seats, artificially heavy (yet completely numb) steering, and an overall driving experience that didn't live up to the exciting sheet metal and hype at all.

  • emajor emajor Posts:

    se-riously, You are making an old argument that applies to all loaded versions of compact cars. It's not helpful because some people actually want a smaller car loaded up and willingly choose one over a larger midsize. It also gives Edmunds a chance to test all of that content. If you want them to step up to a midsize for that price, why not also ask them to step up to a $26K used entry level luxury car, since you will get much more for your money that way as well?

  • ahightower ahightower Posts:

    I'm not saying it's overpriced... that is a lot of kit. But I recently got an internet quote for an Optima EX with all but the xenons and nav for about the same price, and it gets about the same MPG. (Went with a new Accord Sport because manual.)

  • ahightower ahightower Posts:

    That internet quote I mentioned was out the door. TTL, everything. I know Optima is older and therefore going to be more deeply discounted. But to the argument about compact vs midsize, the point is there are new midsize cars, even with plenty of options, comparably priced to this. Unless you need a compact because of space, or are getting much better mpg or just really like the way something smaller drives (MZ3, Civic Si, GTI), why get a rather sedate compact sedan instead of a rather sedate midsizer?

  • zoomzoomn zoomzoomn Posts:

    Don't like the overly wedged look with the huge windshield. And 24.2 avg mpg? My '13 TSX SE gets better than that and it's driven, let's just say, spiritedly.

  • noburgers noburgers Posts:

    the dimensions are getting really close to the Optima except for overall length. Interior room is close enough, too. I think I would real-life cross-shop these, but I like the Optima's looks a little better. I see new base Optimas going for under $18K at this point in the model year, which makes it look like a bargain compared to a base Forte.

  • noburgers noburgers Posts:

    I wish comments showed up before you post. I agree with both of emajor's comments. You really have to test drive a car to see if it is a good "fit".

  • bankerdanny bankerdanny Posts:

    Kia is evolving into the 1980's-1990's version of Honda. If I were looking for a small sedan or coupe a Kia showroom would be my first stop. Considering how recently their cars were cheap ugly crap, that's pretty impressive.

  • Should I even point out the obvious here? For this price, I could buy numerous sedans that are better on all levels. A Honda Accord Sport for starters. Don't even get into the logistics and differences between the two, it boils down to whether or not you have a brain. No amount of incentives on KIA's part would sweeten that deal either. Poor resale value can't be discounted.

  • This car looks good and I for one will be in the market for either this , the new Soul, the new 3 or for 5k more, a 2013 Accord....

  • Also MPG's are a bit disappointing but getting that 173hp will require high revs.... most peoples mpg's numbers are inflated. Everyone kicks around 25mpg and up (unless in an suv) but truthfully are somewhere between 20-25mpg. The other day an infinity owner that I know drives hard tried to tell me they were getting 30mpg (facepalm)

  • bankerdanny bankerdanny Posts:

    where's the button to view prior comments?

  • agentorange agentorange Posts:

    So we have a spot for comments but no button to view them. What's up with that?

  • agentorange agentorange Posts:

    @frank908 I see what you did there. :-)

  • agentorange agentorange Posts:

    Fake post to read the other posts because there is no "Comments" button with the article.

  • zix80 zix80 Posts:

    How do I follow for your daily update on this car? where's the link ?

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