Want to know what happens when a company gets out of its own way and focuses on delivering a trustworthy, value-laden product wrapped in an appealing package? Take a look at Kia. Two decades ago, Kia arrived in America with a compact car and a small SUV to combat a negative perception of Korean quality. Today, Kia builds some of the most stylish and advanced vehicles available, backed by the best warranty protection in the business.
The 2014 Kia Forte is the latest weapon in the automaker’s arsenal. A descendant of the original 1994 Kia Sephia, which became the Spectra, which became the Forte, the redesigned 2014 version joins the all-new Kia Cadenza, the popular Kia Optima, and the capable Kia Rio in an all-out assault on the car market. It goes grille-to-grille against well-established players such as the Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Mazda 3, Nissan Sentra, Subaru Impreza, Toyota Corolla, and Volkswagen Jetta, and it will battle relative newcomers including the Buick Verano, Chevy Cruze, and Dodge Dart. It also lines up against its corporate cousin, the Hyundai Elantra, in its bid to woo small car buyers.
Kia approaches the front lines armored with 2-door coupe, 5-door hatchback, and 4-door sedan body styles, a level of diversity matched only by the Elantra. Each of the redesigned Forte models looks terrific, and can be optioned with a variety of luxury and technology upgrades uncommon to the small car class.
For this review, we drove the 2014 Kia Forte EX Sedan with all the extras, and we’re impressed. Unfortunately, what could have been a great car is merely a good one.