2014 Kia Forte Sedan Test drive

“2014 Kia Forte Sedan All-New “

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Tucson, AZ – ?Kia Motors America first unveiled their all-new, third generation Forte four-door sedan at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The new 2014 Kia Forte sedan serves up a sleek European influenced design that is longer, lower and wider than its predecessor. The stylish body sits atop an all-new chassis, that allows for more interior space, better performance attributes, as well as added premium amenities.

The new 2014 Kia Forte will be available in two trim levels: a base LX, and a more upscale EX, with a choice of either a fuel-efficient, 1.8-liter four cylinder engine (LX), or a more potent 2.0-liter four-banger (EX)that features a Dual Overhead Cam with 16 valves, D-CVVT and Gasoline Direct Injection, generating 173 horsepower at 6,500 rpm, while also cranking out 184 pound feet of torque at 4,700 rpm. The engines reside up front in a transverse orientation, driving the front wheels with motive force geared to the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. A six-speed manual gearbox is standard in LX models, with the automatic as an option.

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The five-passenger 2014 Kia Forte sedan is positioned between Kia’s Rio sub-compact sedan and their best-selling Optima mid-size sedan, and is scheduled to go on sale this spring. The LX model will come standard with steering wheel mounted audio controls, SiriusXM? Satellite Radio, Bluetooth wireless technology, power windows, air conditioning and power heated outside mirrors, features that enable the Forte to stand out from its competition on the marketplace. ?An optional Popular Package adds 16-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, keyless entry with remote trunk release and a sliding front armrest. An Eco Package is also available and includes Kia?s Idle Stop & Go system, a dual-zone automatic temperature control with rear seat ventilation and a unique ?eco? badge.

Making the move up to the EX trim level provides a broadened appeal, featuring added comfort and convenience amenities, including: Kia?s next-generation UVO in-vehicle infotainment system with eServices as standard which may now be integrated with an optional navigation system.? Other standard EX features are: a remote keyless entry with trunk opener, a rear camera back-up display, a sliding center armrest as well as a cooling glove box.? A new optional Flex Steer system will allow the driver to select one of three distinct steering modes: ?Comfort, Normal and Sport, by simply pushing a steering wheel button. An optional Premium Package adds heated front and rear seats, a 10-way power adjustable driver?s seat with class-exclusive air-cooled ventilation, leather seat trim, a power sunroof, 17-inch alloy wheels and push button start with a Smart Key and heated steering wheel. ?Adding the Technology Package gains HID headlights, LED tail lights, a 4.2-inch color LCD cluster screen along with dual-zone automatic temperature control with rear seat ventilation.

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The 2014 Kia Forte sedan’s new chassis is 1.2-inches longer, 0.6-inches lower and 0.2-inches wider than before, which may not seem like a lot, but every little bit helps. The wheelbase has been increased by a full two inches and suspension componentry consists of a McPherson strut front suspension and a coupled torsion beam rear axle. ?An Electric power steering replaces the former hydraulic system of the previous Forte with an improved and more on-center feel, utilizing larger bushings and revised front suspension geometry, which aids in reducing parasitic load.

The base model LX manual rolls on 195/65R-15 tires, with 205/55R-16 tires mounted on 16-inch alloy wheels are an option. ?The top-of-the-line EX comes with the same 55-series tires, while low-profile 215/45-17 tires on sporty 17-inch alloy wheels are an option.

Visually, the new 2014 Kia Forte sedan displays an aggressive stance, with broad shoulders and a pronounced windshield rake.? The European sport sedan styling and modern aesthetic was created at Kia?s American Design Center in Irvine, California. Sharply swept headlight lenses are cut deeply into the front fenders, incorporating projector headlamps.? LED positioning lights create the effect of eyebrows, making the Forte instantly recognizable.? Subtle sculpting along the Forte?s lower flanks taper the sheet metal inward, lending it a taut, athletic look without diminishing its road presence. ?Out back, the up-kicked fender line and trunk design, with its deep horizontal crease, provide both width and charisma while allowing the complex curves of the tail lights to flow over the rear haunches. Blacked out “B” pillars give the sedan a coupe-like appearance.

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The interior is accessed by wide opening doors, revealing the organic sculpted curves. Soft ripples across the instrument panel offers a serene feeling, with instrumentation angled 10 degrees toward the driver. High quality materials are featured with soft touch points and the gauges are large, dominating the binnacle. An optional 4.2-inch color LCD screen nestles between the white-on-black gauges in the EX providing trip and ancillary vehicle information? to the driver. Chrome bezels ring the HVAC rotary knobs and the optional push-button start.

Additional chrome accents, standard Bluetoothhands free phone integration and power windows, mirrors and door locks contribute to the premium feel.? Optional leather seating trim, a power sunroof, and dual-zone automatic climate control with rear seat vents and HID head lights elevate the Forte’s level of sophistication.

My pre-production 2014 Kia Forte sedan press test vehicle was in EX trim and appeared with an Abyss Blue metallic exterior finish and Black interior. Mechanicals included the 2.0-liter GDI four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission. It rode on the optional 17-inch alloy wheels.

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SUMMARY: Driving the 2014 Kia Forte sedan provided a most pleasant experience. The 2.0-liter engine was readily responsive, the transmission shifted smoothly in automatic mode, but wheel-mounted paddle shifters would have raised the fun-to-drive level, especially on twisty back roads.

The ride quality was firm, but comfortable, and the handling characteristics were certainly an improvement over the prior model Forte – even bordering on sporty.

Even though pricing was only hinted at during the press introduction – the suggested starting point below $16,000 should hit the hot button of consumers in the market for an attractive, efficient, practical and fun-to-drive vehicle.

SPECIFICATIONS: 2014 Kia Forte Sedan 2.0-liter EX

Base Price: Less than $16,000.
Price as Tested: Official pricing not yet announced.
Engine Type and Size: 2.0-liter, DOHC, 16-valve D-CVVT with Gasoline Direct Injection.
Horsepower (bhp): 173 @ 6,500 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 154 @ 4,700 rpm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic.
Drive Train: Transversely mounted front engine / Front-wheel drive.
Suspension: Front – MacPherson strut, coil spring.
Rear – Torsion beam axle, coil spring.
Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel discs (vented front), four-wheel ABS, ESC, TCS, VSM, HAC, BAS, EBD and TPMS.
Tires: Nexen Classe Premiere P215/45 R17 87H mounted on 5-double-spoke alloy wheels.
Wheelbase: 106.3 inches
Length Overall: 179.5 inches
Width: 70.1 inches
Height: 56.5 inches
Curb Weight: 2,857 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 13.2 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: N/A mpg city / N/A mpg highway-Not yet EPA certified.
Drag Coefficient: 0.27
0 – 60 mph: Not tested

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