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2014 Kia Forte

By G.R. Whale

On Sale: First Quarter 2013
Expected Pricing: $15,500 to $19,500




The 2014 Forte will complete Kia's styling modernization of its lineup, but looks are just the beginning. The 2014 Kia Forte, initially available as a four-door sedan, is a new car.

The 2014 Forte sedan is expected to go on sale sometime in the first quarter of 2013. A two-door coupe and five-door hatchback will join the line later in the year.

Like its brethren, the Hyundai Elantra, the longer, lower, wider Forte has a pronounced wedge shape and teardrop roofline, but the Kia is even sharper from its tiger grille back: Styling mirrors the compact Kia Rio with a different side scallop. LED running lights on Forte EX versions further distinguish it.

The cabin is driver-centric with the center dash canted toward the driver but the passenger can easily reach it. Materials and finish felt good on the prototype we looked over at the November 2012 LA Auto Show, avoiding the hard plastic environment of some economy cars. The 2014 Forte is roomier than the outgoing model and has good trunk space, but tall riders should use the back seat with caution.

Forte LX comes with a 148-hp 1.8-liter engine coupled to a 6-speed manual transmission. A 6-speed automatic is optional. EPA numbers for either gearbox should come in high 20s for the city, high 30s for the highway.

With the automatic, an optional ISG stop/start system that automatically shuts off and restarts the engine during long stops could save urban commuters some gas. Suspension on every Forte is typical strut front, torsion beam rear.

The Forte EX comes with a 173-hp 2-liter direct-injection engine and 6-speed automatic only. Sixteen-inch alloy wheels optional on LX are standard on EX. Unlike the brother Elantra, the only way to get a Forte fully loaded is with the larger engine.

The entry-level Forte LX comes with power windows and accessories, XM satellite/MP3 stereo, USB, Bluetooth, trip computer and ambient temperature, air conditioning, 60/40 split-folding rear seat and six airbags.

The Forte EX receives chrome trim, fog lights, power folding mirrors with signals, UVO eServices powered by Microsoft smartphone based telematics, cruise control, backup camera, supervision gauges, and a slew of conveniences and leather shifter and wheel. A Premium package adds leather upholstery, powered and ventilated driver's seat, heated steering wheel and front and rear seats, moonroof, 17-inch wheels, and pushbutton start. The Technology pack adds HID headlamps, LCD dash screen and dual-zone climate control.

800-333-4542
www.kia.com



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