2014 Kia Forte EX: Darn Good Day Tripper
September 19, 2013
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.
We headed out around 7:45 a.m. Sunday morning when the roads are blissfully free of traffic. Our route included the scenic PCH as well as 154-West, which provides some driving fun with its curvy sections of blacktop. The Forte, which averaged about 30 mpg roundtrip, proved itself a great road trip companion for three main reasons: performance, comfort and convenience.
First off, the direct-injected-four provides a respectable spread of power and it's teamed with a well-sorted transmission. The latter steps down a gear or two when needed without hesitation and holds lower gears so there's a minimum of gear hunting while running up steeper grades. When maximum thrust was needed to swiftly pass lumbering trucks, the Forte stepped up without ever sounding strained.
Thick, well-shaped seats provided proper support for the missus and I, while the heating and cooling features for the driver seat were used and greatly appreciated. Lastly, taking advantage of the Forte's high-tech features, such as Bluetooth, iPod integration and the navigation system, was super easy. That's something that can't be said for some other cars so equipped.
John DiPietro, Automotive Editor