We were just starting to mosey our way out of Scottsdale, Arizona, in the 2014 Kia Forte EX when we noticed that something was missing.
Prodding the right pedal from a stoplight, we were greeted with a supple wave of power that delivered a smooth getaway. And as we hopped onto a highway on-ramp, the hearty 173-horsepower direct-injected four-cylinder thrust the compact sedan forward with plenty of scoot to merge safely.
Our passenger continued his casual conversation without raising his voice as we reached an easy 70 mph. It seemed great, yet we knew something was missing from the previous Forte.
We sidestepped onto a Saguaro cactus-lined two-lane and took off through the hills of the Tonto National Forest. The suspension easily soaked up bumps, and wind and road noise were nearly nonexistent.
And that's when it hit us. This Kia Forte is missing plenty of things, like the noise, the crudeness and the harsh suspension of its predecessor. And the annoyingly abrupt throttle tip-in the Forte was plagued with? It's gone, too. They're all gone, and the 2014 Kia Forte feels like a completely different car because of it.
All-New. All Over Again Just three and a half years ago the then-new Kia Forte was launched, replacing the Spectra as Kia's compact economy car. But since then the competition in the category has heated up considerably. So much so that Kia quickly came up with an all-new car. It utilizes the platform of the new 2013 Hyundai Elantra and was sculpted by Kia's design chief, Peter Schreyer.
Kia executives affectionately call Schreyer "our not-so-secret weapon." And why not? Good design sells cars. Kia's California Design Center in Irvine did the bulk of the work on the Forte's new lines. The aggressive face, rising beltline, massively sloping roof and short deck aren't just pretty, they're slippery, too. The Forte has a drag coefficient of 0.27, which is very low and great for mileage.
Despite the major redesign, the new Forte takes up pretty much the same footprint as before. The wheelbase is 2 inches longer while overall length grows by just 1.2 inches. Roof height is down an inch, and width is increased by 0.2 inch.
Overall interior room has decreased ever so slightly. But unless you're some kind of a deformed giant, you'll fit in this car. The real shocker is that, in spite of that style-centric roof line, there's actually decent rear headroom. The trunk has a nice wide opening and total volume is up from 14.7 cubic feet to 14.9. That's better than the Ford Focus (13.2 cubic feet) and about even with the Chevy Cruze (15).
Six-Speeds for Everybody Kia said we could drive any Forte we wanted, as long as it was an EX model in blue. Maybe it didn't want us to be underwhelmed by the base LX's 1.8-liter four-cylinder and its 148 hp and 131 pound-feet of torque. The LX can also be mated to a six-speed manual unlike the EX, which is available only with a six-speed automatic.
The 2.0-liter GDI four-cylinder is new to the Forte EX. It's basically the same engine found in the uplevel 2013 Kia Soul, but with the addition of direct injection. As such, the 2.0 GDI isn't shared with any other Kia or Hyundai product, for now at least.
Its 173 hp at 6,500 rpm and 154 lb-ft at 4,700 rpm put it on the high side for eco-minded compacts. The Focus only musters 160 hp, the Honda Civic 140 and the Cruze just 138 hp.
Even with the extra sauce under the hood, you won't become giddy with speed when you press on the 2,857-pound Forte's accelerator. What is impressive, though, is the smooth and quiet way it delivers the power to the front wheels. You can barely make out more than a minor hum at freeway speeds. The foam-filled pillars and special sound-deadening for the dash pad do their job. Spin the tachometer toward redline and the four-banger does get loud, but never thrashy or unrefined.
Part of the reason the Forte never feels fast is the smooth-shifting transmission. It's so seamless that you need to watch the tach to notice a shift, they're that imperceptible. On the downside, it heads for 6th gear as soon as possible to boost mileage, but it reacts intuitively with a downshift when you give the throttle an extra prod.
The EPA has yet to give fuel mileage ratings, and Kia refused to provide any estimates.
Something Borrowed The Forte's MacPherson strut front and twist-beam rear axle, as well as its electric-assist steering are the same units used in the Hyundai Elantra, but the tuning is unique to Kia.
The 2014 Forte EX also adds what Kia calls Flex Steer. It lets you adjust the assist level among Comfort, Normal and Sport via a button on the steering wheel. In truth, we didn't notice huge differences in effort, and deemed Sport the best feel for all driving.
Bend the new Forte into a curve and you'll find it strikes a good mix between ride and handling. It doesn't have the steering precision or suspension communication the Ford Focus boasts, and midcorner bumps can upset the rear a bit, but overall it does a nice job of soaking up harsh hits with at least some back-road playfulness on tap for more enthusiastic drivers. Go any harder and the optional 17-inch tires find their limits quickly and significant body roll sets in.
Simple and Honest Press your finger against any button in the Forte's cabin and you're greeted with soft-feel plastic like the keys on a laptop. Turn a knob and the detents are perfect. Overall, the Forte's cabin nearly matches the quality of the class-leading Focus, but with honest functionality and none of the Ford's overstyled messiness.
Kia was proud to point out that the Forte's center stack is canted 10 degrees toward the driver, just like its bigger brother, the Optima. Or a 1980s-era Volvo 760.
Notable features include a cooled driver seat that's available in the optional Premium package, and Kia's UVO hands-free infotainment system, which comes standard on the EX. A new eServices aspect of UVO features 911 Connect in case of an accident, roadside assistance and real-time maintenance notifications as well as connection with Twitter, Siri and Pandora. The contract is free for the first 10 years/100,000 miles, and Kia says no additional data plan for your smartphone is required.
We paired our iPhone in near record time.
Doing the Numbers The 2014 Kia Forte will start arriving in U.S. dealers in mid-March. Kia has yet to announce official pricing, but says a Forte LX with manual transmission, Bluetooth, satellite radio, air-conditioning, power windows and power/heated mirrors will start under $16,000. A "well-equipped" LX with the Popular package (16-inch alloy wheels, cruise control and keyless entry) will start in the mid-$18s.
The EX 2.0 GDI standard features list is even longer, including the UVO eServices, back-up camera, a sliding center armrest and a cooled glovebox (cold enough for candy bars but not drinks). A starting point of $18,600-$19,000 is a safe bet.
Compact car shoppers used to have to be satisfied simply with good fuel economy and a low entry price. That's no longer enough. Gas prices, heated competition and customer demands have forced manufacturers to build compacts that are as stylish, quiet and feature-filled as midsize sedans. The first-generation Kia Forte proved how quickly expectations can change. The second-generation 2014 Kia Forte proves how quickly Kia can rally back and produce one of the best compact cars on the road.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.
2014 Kia Forte Overview
The 2014 Kia Forte is offered in the following submodels: Hatchback, Sedan, Coupe. Available styles include EX 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 6A), LX 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 6A), and Koup EX 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl 6A). Forte models are available with a 2.0 l-liter gas engine or a 1.8 l-liter gas engine, with output up to 173 hp, depending on engine type. The 2014 Forte comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 6-speed shiftable automatic. The 2014 Forte comes with a 5 yr./ 60000 mi. basic warranty, a 5 yr./ 60000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 10 yr./ 100000 mi. powertrain warranty.
What's a good price on a used 2014 Kia Forte?
Save up to $300 on one of 136 used 2014 Kia Fortes for sale at dealerships within 25 miles of Ashburn, Virginia with prices as low as $6900 as of Dec 16, 2017, based on data from 18 dealers and 160 consumer-driven dealer ratings ranging from 1 to 5 out of 5 stars.
Price comparisons for used 2014 Kia Forte trim styles:
The 2014 Kia Forte Koup EX is priced around $11868 with average odometer reading of 21097 miles.
The 2014 Kia Forte LX is priced around $10505 with average odometer reading of 43199 miles.
The 2014 Kia Forte EX is priced around $11337 with average odometer reading of 42498 miles.
The 2014 Kia Forte Forte5 EX is priced around $12598 with average odometer reading of 23005 miles.
The 2014 Kia Forte Koup SX is priced around $10995 with average odometer reading of 43542 miles.
Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, Virginia. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.
Is the 2014 Kia Forte a good car? Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2014 Kia Forte and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2014 Forte featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
Our Review Process All of our reviews are written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.
How do people like the 2014 Kia Forte? Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2014 Kia Forte and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2014 Forte 5 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2014 Forte.
Vehicle Koup SX 2dr Coupe (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
Review Love my Koup! Unfortunately, I haven't had it long enough to truly give a fair rating. The dealership has been working on getting the TSM fixed, then it blew a head gasket! The dealership has been great at working with us; but I'd like to have my car back to enjoy! Can honestly say that it does get great gas mileage and runs very well (my middle-age crisis car!) The driver's seat fits me and I am extremely comfortable in the car; truly love driving the car...it's just fun! It came with the remainder of the KIA warranty, which is a great deal and truly helpful with the issues that I have had. I'm not judging the car on these issues as it is a used car. But I can truly say that it is so much fun to drive; tight steering, rides great even on the low profile tires and hugs the road.
2014 Kia Forte inventory listings Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2014 Kia Forte for sale near Ashburn VA. There are currently 435 new and 592 used and CPO 2014 Fortes listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as 5999 and mileage as low as 0. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a car from our massive database to find cheap vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a vehicle you're interested in, check the Carfax and autocheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the 2014 Kia Forte. Then select Edmunds special offers, perks, deals, and incentives to contact the dealer of your choice and save up to 300 on a new, used, or CPO 2014 Forte available from one of 2806 dealerships in your area.
How can Edmunds help? Edmunds has deep data on over 6 million new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles, including rich, trim-level features and specs information like: MSRP, average price paid, warranty information (basic, drivetrain, and maintenance), features (upholstery, bluetooth, navigation, heated seating, cooled seating, cruise control, parking assistance, keyless ignition, satellite radio, folding rears seats ,run flat tires, wheel type, tire size, wheel tire, sunroof, etc.), vehicle specifications (engine cylinder count, drivetrain, engine power, engine torque, engine displacement, transmission), fuel economy (city, highway, combined, fuel capacity, range), vehicle dimensions (length, width, seating capacity, cargo space), car safety, true cost to own. Edmunds also provides tools to allow shopper to compare vehicles to similar models of their choosing by warranty, interior features, exterior features, specifications, fuel economy, vehicle dimensions, consumer rating, edmunds rating, and color
Is the 2014 Kia Forte safe? The 2014 Kia Forte earned a 4-star overall safety rating from NHTSA and "GOOD" ratings from the IIHS in the following caregories: Side Impact Test, Roof Strength Test, Rear Crash Protection/Head Restraint, Moderate Overlap Front Test Results, and a JD POWER overall quality rating of 3.5 out of 5. Among Edmunds' many tools and resources for finding your perfect car are detailed safety ratings and analysis from NHTSA, IIHS, and JD Power, including overall ratings, frontal barrier crash ratings, side impact tests and crash ratings, rollover test results, roof strength tests, rear crash protection and head restraint ratings, side barrier ratings, combined side barrier and pole ratings, and more.
2014 kia forte EX 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 6A), 6-speed shiftable automatic, regular unleaded 28 combined MPG 24 city MPG/36 highway MPG
2014 kia forte LX 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 6A), 6-speed shiftable automatic, regular unleaded 29 combined MPG 25 city MPG/36 highway MPG
2014 kia forte Koup EX 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl 6A), 6-speed shiftable automatic, regular unleaded 28 combined MPG 25 city MPG/34 highway MPG
What options are available on the 2014 Kia Forte?
Available Kia Forte 2014 Submodel Types: Sedan, Koup, Coupe, Hatchback