2014 Kia Forte EX Track Test on Edmunds.com

2014 Kia Forte EX: Track Tested

Testing Our 173-Horsepower Kia

Edmunds tests hundreds of vehicles a year. Cars, trucks, SUVs, we run them all, and the numbers always tell a story. With that in mind we present "Edmunds Track Tested," a quick rundown of all the data we collect at the track, along with comments direct from the test-drivers. Enjoy.

The compact sedan segment is chock full of excellent cars these days. So, without the aid of a storied name and decades of proven reliability, what's a new guy in the segment to do?

Well, if you're Kia you start with a sharp new design and augment that with a low starting price, cool options and finally, one of the most powerful motors in the segment today. Kicking out 173 horsepower and 154 pound-feet of torque, the 2014 Kia Forte EX's 2.0-liter direct-injection four-cylinder has the specs to attract potential drivers lured in by the attractive price. And with EPA fuel economy number of 28 mpg combined (24 city/36 highway), it doesn't seem to have any real sacrifice.

But what's that new engine good for when pushed? We took it to the track to find out.

Vehicle: 2014 Kia Forte EX
Odometer: 1,188
Date: 7/2/2013
Driver: Mike Monticello
Price: $25,735 (as tested)

Drive Type: Front engine, front-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Six-speed automatic
Engine Type: Naturally aspirated, direct-injected inline-4
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 1,999/122
Redline (rpm): 6,750
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 173 @ 6,500
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 154 @ 4,700
Brake Type (front): 11-inch ventilated discs with two-piston sliding calipers
Brake Type (rear): 10.3-inch solid discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Suspension Type (front): Independent MacPherson struts, coil springs, stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Semi-independent twist-beam axle, stabilizer bar
Tire Size (front): 215/45R17 87H
Tire Size (rear): 215/45R17 87H
Tire Brand: Nexen
Tire Model: CP671 Classe Premiere
Tire Type: All-season
As Tested Curb Weight (lb): 2,947

Test Results:

0-30 (sec): 3.2 (3.4 w/ TC on)
0-45 (sec): 5.5 (5.7 w/ TC on)
0-60 (sec): 8.4 (8.8 w/ TC on)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 8.1 (8.4 w/ TC on)
0-75 (sec): 12.4 (12.7 w/ TC on)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 16.2 @ 86.7 (16.4 @ 86.5 w/ TC on)

30-0 (ft): 32
60-0 (ft): 122

Slalom (mph): 63.7
Skid Pad Lateral Acceleration (g): 0.81 (0.80 w/ ESC on)

RPM @ 70: 2,250

Acceleration: Little punch off the line and the power never really picks up. Engine sounds tinny, but it's never thrashy. Smooth, but slow, shifts from the automatic. Overlapping throttle and brake at launch woke the Forte up a bit, got some front wheelspin, but it was still 0.3 second slower to 60 than the last 2014 Forte. Manual mode is via console lever (pull back for downshifts). Does not blip throttle, does not hold gears.

Braking: Extremely firm and short-travel pedal. Stopping distances did get longer, but pedal remained consistent. Only minor nosedive and the car tracked straight. First stop was shortest at 122 feet. Fourth stop (out of five) was longest at 127 feet.

Skid pad: Turning the stability control system off allowed us to properly play with the chassis, letting the throttle affect understeer/slight oversteer. Was easy to add too much throttle back in (it's sensitive) and run wide of arc. Plenty of tire squeal.

Slalom: An enlightened stability control system here. It lets the driver attack the cones with a nice level of aggression. Car feels light, narrow and agile and the steering is fairly direct and precise. I had the steering set to the Sport mode. You can really toss the Forte around the cones.

And just for fun, here's how the 2014 Kia Forte stacks up against another one of our long-termers, the 160-horsepower 2013 Dodge Dart SXT Rallye.

2014 Kia Forte
2013 Dodge Dart SXT Rallye
0-30 (sec.):
0-45 (sec.):
0-60 (sec.):
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec.):
0-75 (sec.):
1/4-mile (sec @ mph):
16.2 @ 86.7
16.3 @ 86.1
Curb weight as tested:

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

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