The small car marketplace is always up for grabs, and while a few stalwarts continue to do well no matter how intense the competition might get (Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic), the rest of the entries - like 2014 Kia Forte - are engaged in a constant battle for customer dollars. The Kia Forte has been completely redesigned for 2014 in order to better sway entry-level customers and target some of its stronger rivals, and the investment in both style and substance has paid off handsomely for the Korean brand.
Let's take a look at 10 things you need to know about the 2014 Kia Forte.
01. The 2014 Kia Forte Is All-New
The 2014 Kia Forte is a brand new interpretation of the compact car concept from the style-conscious automaker, which means it doesn't blend into the background like some other affordable automobiles. Instead, the Kia Forte engages the eye via details such as attractively-jeweled headlights that make prominent use of LEDs that match available LED tail lights out back, a quirky honeycomb grille, 17-inch rims, and an engaging shape that includes a character line that runs almost the entire length of the vehicle. It's not ostentatious, but nor does the Forte look like a wallflower.
02. The 2014 Kia Forte Offers Three Body Styles
The 2014 Kia Forte was initially launched as a sedan, which is the volume seller for the brand. Conscious of the varying needs of compact car shoppers, however - some of whom are young singles, families, or even retirees - Kia also offers the car in two other editions. The Kia Forte 5-door is a hatchback model that adds the practicality of an expandable cargo compartment (that starts at a generous 23.2 cubic feet), while the Koup (Kia-speak for the two-door) is aimed at those seeking a sportier look. Few other compact cars are available in more than a pair of versions.
03. The 2014 Kia Forte Is Larger Than Before
Despite its small car status, the 2014 Kia Forte punches out its dimensions in almost every direction in order to offer a more comfortable experience for passengers. The biggest benefit is tied to the car's extended wheelbase, which is two inches longer than the 2013 edition of the Kia Forte sedan. This is paired with a marginal increase in width as well as a stretch of just over one inch overall from head to tail. If the Forte looks a little sleeker than before, too, that's no accident either: the current model sits lower by a full inch.
04. The 2014 Kia Forte Leverages A Lighter Platform
The 2014 Kia Forte might be a bit bigger than before, but don't assume that the car's extra size translates into a more ponderous experience behind the wheel. In fact, the Kia Forte boasts a weight loss of 280 lbs, which is a stunning achievement for a non-performance-oriented automobile. A big part of the Forte's diet has been the move to high tensile steel, which has enabled the car to drop pounds while still offering the kind of stiff structure that behooves a modern automobile: the Kia provides torsional rigidity that is almost 40 percent better than that of the 2013 model.
05. The 2014 Kia Forte Debuts Three Engine Options
The 2014 Kia Forte's base motor is a fresh 1.8-liter four-cylinder that generates a respectable 148 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque. Fuel mileage for this unit is listed at 25-mpg in stop and go driving and 36-mpg on the highway. An upgrade is available in the form of a 2.0-liter, direct-injected four-cylinder that is capable of producing 173 horsepower and 154 lb-ft of twist. As an added bonus, there's only a bit of an efficiency penalty to pay for the additional grunt, as the larger mill provides 24-mpg around town and 36-mpg on the highway. The Forte Koup benefits from a special 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that puts out 201 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque.
06. The 2014 Kia Forte Comes With A Pair Of Transmission Choices
The 2014 Kia Forte makes sure to satisfy both shift-it-yourself fans as well as those who would prefer not to have to operate a clutch while crawling through rush hour traffic. A six-speed manual is the gearbox of choice in the base model, although a six-speed automatic can be ordered as an option. Sadly, those interested in getting the most out of the Kia Forte's 2.0-liter motor will find themselves restricted to the autobox, as a manual is not available with the larger mill. The 1.6-liter turbocharged Koup can be equipped with either tranny.
07. The 2014 Kia Forte Offers Three Trim Levels
The 2014 Kia Forte is initially offered in LX trim, which includes such features as air conditioning, 15-inch wheels, Bluetooth connectivity, a CD player, tilt steering with telescopic adjustment, and satellite radio. Stepping up to the Kia Forte EX and you'll get alloy rims that are an inch bigger than on the base model, cruise control, keyless entry, a spiffier interior that includes a rear seat armrest, Kia's unique steering resistance control system, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, LED running lights, a rearview camera, the Uvo entertainment and communications interface, and the ability to stream audio over Bluetooth. The SX trim - which is only available on the Koup - introduces sportier exterior styling as well as 17-inch wheels.
08. The 2014 Kia Forte Can Be Had With Several Options Packages
Those looking to add some of the 2014 Kia Forte EX's generous standard equipment to the entry-level LX can do so via the Popular package, which installs cruise control, 16-inch wheels, keyless entry, a louder stereo system, and a number of other interior improvements. The EX and the SX provide access to the Technology package (navigation system, LED tail lights, dual climate control, HID headlights) as well as the Premium package (sunroof, heated steering wheel, heated seats front and rear, cooled driver's seat with power adjustments, leather upholstery, and a rearview mirror that automatically dims).
09. The 2014 Kia Forte Doesn't Deliver Advanced Safety
The 2014 Kia Forte makes sure to include the usual complement of airbags that compact car shoppers have become used to seeing on the window sticker. The Kia Forte comes with dual forward airbags, seat-mounted side impact airbags up front, and side curtain airbags that deploy along the entire length of the passenger compartment in the event of a serious collision. Electronic stability control and traction control are also present and accounted for with the Forte, but what you won't find are any active safety systems such as a blind spot monitor, lane departure monitor, or forward collision warning feature.
10. The 2014 Kia Forte Competes In A Crowded Market
The 2014 Kia Forte emerges into a world where nearly every automaker is now fielding a competitive compact car. The Kia Forte doesn't coast on reputation alone like some entry-level automobiles but rather makes a strong value and styling proposition - especially when found in EX trim. The closest rivals to the Forte include excellent sedans and hatchbacks like the Ford Focus, the Chevrolet Cruze, and the Mazda MAZDA3. It even has to deal with in-house sniping from corporate sibling Hyundai in the form of the Elantra, a vehicle with which it shares its base engine.