2014 Kia Forte Review: New design delivers sedan hit

James Raia

The 2014 Kia Forte has a sleek new style.

Four model years after its debut in the United States, the 2014 Kia Forte represents a new look for the South Korean carmaker.

Sports car sedan is an oxymoron, but the newly designed Forte’s look fits the odd definition. The 2014 edition is more aggressive-looking than its older sibling, and it’s longer, lower and wider than its predecessor, too.


The Weekly Driver Test Drive

The 2014 Kia Forte is available in base LX and the more-option filled EX model. I drove the latter, and it includes an adjustable steering wheel, foglights, LED running lights, chrome accents, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, rearview camera, sliding console armrest and a fold-down rear center armrest.

The 2014 Kia Forte is redesigned with a sportier appearance.
The 2014 Kia Forte is redesigned with a sportier appearance. Images © James Raia/2013

My test vehicle, which included a four-cylinder with 173 horsepower and a six-speed automatic transmission, also was equipped with two option packages. Nearly two dozen items were added to the vehicle: 17-inch wheels, sunroof, keyless ignition/entry, leather upholstery, heated front and rear seats, a heated steering wheel, a ventilated eight-way power driver seat, xenon headlights, LED taillights, dual-zone air-conditioning with rear seat vents and a navigation system.

The EX model is also installed with next generation UVO system. The techie world is ever expanding and Google powers Kia’s version. It uses a smartphone application to provide various services: Connecting to 911 when airbags deploy, enhanced roadside assistance, and other car diagnostics.

Unlike OnStar, Kia’s version is free and UVO will first be available with Apple iOS compatibility, then an Android application. I didn’t have the opportunity to use the system.

I’ve liked Kia since I drove the 2005 Kia Sportage, the bargain-priced SUV that surprised the mainstream car world. But if there are any doubters about Kia following the success of the Optima and now the newly designed Kia Forte, there shouldn’t be.

The 2014 Kia Forte isn’t most well-known performance-oriented sedan, but it has a lot above-average qualities to promote it as a top contender in the market that includes the Mazda3, Ford Focus and Honda Civic as top offerings.

The new, sportier design also gives the new Kia Forte and added boost. It shouldn’t be mistaken for a sports car, but it looks like one.

Driving the Kia is surprising. It has precise steering and the automatic transmission moves through gears seamlessly. For its compact sedan segment, the Kia has above average and leg and headroom, but the back seat won’t be too comfortable overall for larger adults.


Sleek new interior, exterior style

Quiet ride.

Overall comfort.

Good trunk space (14.9 cubic feet).


Expensive options.

Facts & Figures: 2014 Kia Forte

Acceleration: 0-60 mph, unavailable.
Airbags (6): Dual front, front side and side curtain.
Fuel economy: 25 mpg (city), 32 mpg (highway), 27 mpg (combined), six-speed automatic transmission.
Government Safety Ratings: NHTSA, Not tested.
Horsepower: 173
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $19,400.00
Manufacturer’s Web site: kia.com.
Price As tested: $25,515.00.
Warranty: Bumper-to-bumper, 5 years/60,000 miles; Powertrain, 10 years/100,000 miles; Roadside Assistance, 5 years/60,000 miles.

What Others Say:

“Kia decided it was time to reboot, and that’s what the 2014 Forte represents, a comprehensive makeover that allows the marketing troops to employ that most beloved of automotive descriptions—all-new—with what seems to be considerable justification.” — CarandDriver.com

“Whether you’ve already come around on Kia or you’re still not convinced, test driving the all-new 2014 Kia Forte is guaranteed to make your compact sedan decision more difficult.” — Kelley Blue Book.

“The redesigned 2014 Kia Forte is a complete turnaround from the old car, now oozing style, and Kia’s best driving refinement to date.” — Cars.com

The Weekly Driver’s Final Words:

“The 2014 Kia Forte is fun car to drive. It’s handsome. It’s economical. It’s stylish, and it has its share of functionality and keen technology features. There’s only one issue: Its option packages add about $5,000 to the price and that’s a sticking point.”

Article Last Updated: March 5, 2014.

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