2014 Kia Forte EX Long-Term Road Test - Audio & Technology
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2014 Kia Forte EX Long-Term Road Test

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2014 Kia Forte EX: Easy Commuter

May 27, 2014

2014 Kia Forte

In the past, I've commented on what a good road trip car our 2014 Kia Forte is. But the Forte also serves very well in the considerably less glamorous, but much more commonplace role as a commuter. From start to finish, the Forte makes it as easy as possible. Walk up to the car and the perimeter lights automatically greet you. Open the door, hop in and fire it up. All while leaving the key in your pocket thanks to the optional keyless entry/ignition system.

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2014 Kia Forte: Audible Car Alarms in 2014

May 2, 2014

2014 Kia Forte

We've all had the pleasure of hearing an audible car alarm blaring in a parking garage or on a nearby street when you're trying to enjoy a nice meal or just go about your business. The loud sounds are usually accidentally triggered and any potential theft is completely ignored by everyone.

According to legend (or Popular Mechanics) the car alarm was invented by an unknown automobile mechanic serving a stint in a Denver jail back in 1913, more than 100 years ago.

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2014 Kia Forte: Using Uvo Voice Commands

March 31, 2014

2014 Kia Forte

Our 2014 Kia Forte EX comes standard with Kia's Uvo service. There are a lot of neat features within Uvo, such as having an Uvo app on your smartphone, maintenance notifications and indicators, emergency assistance and enhanced entertainment.

Uvo also includes voice command functionality for phone, audio and navigation on our Forte, and since it's something you can use frequently, I was curious to see how well it worked.

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2014 Kia Forte: Rearview Cam Replaces the Tennis Ball

March 14, 2014

2014 Kia Forte

Old habits die hard. While living and driving in Japan, you quickly learn to back into spaces. It's not part of traffic law, but it's socially expected behavior in parking lots and garages. I haven't driven regularly in Japan since rearview cameras have proliferated, but I can only imagine they're a welcome tool.

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2014 Kia Forte: Acquiring Signal

February 7, 2014

2014 Kia Forte

I was driving our 2014 Kia Forte and just as I was about to get all nostalgic about Jimmie's Chicken Shack and my former skateboarding youth, I got the message below.

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2014 2014 Kia Forte EX: LED Taillights? Yes, Please

January 10, 2014

2014 2014 Kia Forte EX

Hiring away designer Peter Schreyer from Audi is one of the best decisions ever made at Kia. His presence at the company over the last six years has resulted in dramatically better looking cars that usually manage not to hit you over the head with overdone styling flourishes.

Our long-term 2014 Kia Forte EX sedan is an example of this new wave of Kias, and these LED taillights are one of my favorite design details.

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2014 Kia Forte EX: I'll Take Xenon Headlights at Any Price

January 9, 2014

2014 Kia Forte EX

Xenon headlights are one of my few must-haves on any car. The reason is simple: I like seeing things. Good headlights facilitate seeing things at night and make road trips a lot more enjoyable.

Problem is manufacturers tend to bury them in the upper trim levels and/or expensive option packages. On our 2014 Kia Forte EX sedan, they're part of the $2,300 Technology package.

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2014 Kia Forte: Passengers Pluses and Minuses

November 25, 2013

2014 Kia Forte

I spent some time in the passenger seat of the 2014 Kia Forte this weekend. It's a nice place to be, in many respects.

First and foremost, Kia allows passengers to set destinations and otherwise use the navigation system while the car is in motion, at speed. Hooray for common sense. It's a minor but understandable inconvenience that the screen is canted slightly toward the driver. Most passengers won't mind that.

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2014 Kia Forte EX: Shows the Road

November 4, 2013

2014 Kia Forte EX

I knew the route anyway, but I appreciate nav systems like the 2014 Kia Forte's that use clear graphics to tell you, in not so many words, "dummy, stay in your lane, stay on this highway." It shows up only for a half-mile or so before the navigation point, but I find it easier to process this kind of graphic direction than reading from a list of actions.

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2013 Kia Forte EX: GPS Speed Info

November 1, 2013

2013 Kia Forte EX

The 2014 Kia Forte has nice, classic-style analog gauges. By classic, I mean sharp typeface, no clutter, no corny digital inset Tron graphics. That said, I still like an electronic readout of vehicle speed on long trips, mostly to prevent becoming a target of overzealous enforcement. If the Forte has one to show in the LCD display between speedometer and tach, I couldn't find it.

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2014 Kia Forte EX: User-Friendly Controls

October 24, 2013

2014 Kia Forte EX

It seems like some manufacturers find joy in "challenging" us with infotainment intricacies and all manner of hidden menus.

So it was refreshing to get into the 2014 Kia Forte EX the other night. Within seconds I had made room on the car's phone list by deleting "Scott's iPhone," whoever that poor guy might be.

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2014 Kia Forte: Customized Radio Channel List

September 30, 2013

2014 Kia Forte

This is the screen you get when you want to "browse" through all the Sirius/XM channels in our long-term 2014 Kia Forte. You can go up and down the list using either the little touch buttons on the screen (annoying) or the little rotary knob at the right (much better). Notice the "buttons" next to the channel name ones that say "skip?"

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2014 Kia Forte: Luxury Car-Like Feature Compendium

September 25, 2013

2014 Kia Forte

We've already had a variety of previous updates noting that our 2014 Kia Forte EX came loaded with features, many of them unexpected for this class of car. I've collected those updates here so that you can see them in one place. I've also added a few more features that I've noticed.

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2014 Kia Forte EX: Darn Good Day Tripper

September 19, 2013

2014 Kia Forte EX

I recently took the 2014 Kia Forte to one of my favorite day-tripper destinations, Solvang, CA, which is located about 125 miles north of L.A. This quaint Danish village is surrounded by beautiful vineyards and also has an unexpected treat for guys like me in the form of a motorcycle museum. The latter's eclectic collection includes such gems as a Brough Superior and a number of early-1900s bikes. Oh yeah, a trip there also includes a really nice drive.

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2014 Kia Forte: Power Folding Rearview Mirrors

September 13, 2013

2014 Kia Forte

After spending three glorious days in our long-term Mercedes SLS AMG Roadster last week, I hopped in our Kia Forte last week for a trip to San Diego.

I expected at least some initial shock based on the differences between the two cars, but it just wasn't there. Sure, the Forte is no tire-shredding supercar, but it was comfortable along the highway and (as many of our editors have noted) it feels nicer than its price tag suggests.

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2014 Kia Forte: Simple Navigation Display

August 28, 2013

2014 Kia Forte

A couple of weeks ago I complained about not being able to hear our 2014 Kia Forte's navigation system provide directions. Now, after spending some time in other test cars this week, I realize how much I do appreciate the simple graphic display the Kia offers.

Some systems overly clutter the page with additional details. But when you're not interested in POI or alternative routes, the Kia does a great job of showing just the potential slow-downs.

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2014 Kia Forte: Can't Hear the Nav Directions

August 13, 2013

2014 Kia Forte

I may be blind, but I'm not deaf. At least that's what I thought until I found myself struggling to hear the verbal directions while using our 2014 Kia Forte's navigation system.

Starting the system in a quiet parking garage, I had no trouble hearing that the destination directions had begun. But once I hit the freeway, I couldn't get the volume loud enough. I tried turning up the volume knob while the "woman" was talking to me, but it didn't seem to make a difference over the road noise. I then found a volume adjustment on the touchscreen, but after giving it a few taps, it appeared that the volume was already on max.

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2014 Kia Forte: Good Graphics

August 5, 2013

2014 Kia Forte

As a former art director/layout slave, I have a certain fondness for good graphics. And our Kia Forte's got them.

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2014 Kia Forte: Slick Navigation System

July 26, 2013

 2014 Kia Forte

After spending a few days in our long-term 2014 Kia Forte, I found that the navigation system and its associated functions are very easy to use and nicely designed. Take for instance this notification I got when the fuel was low.

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2014 Kia Forte: DRLs and LED Brows

July 22, 2013

2014 Kia Forte

I'm a fan of daytime running lights (DRLs). They make it easier for me to spot cars at a glance in the rear-view mirror and on the road. In Canada, all cars are required to have DRLs. In the U.S., it is optional. Kia opted not to include DRLs on the 2014 Forte. But this could be a quick fix, if Kia wanted to add them.

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