2014 Kia Forte
Perpetually lost in the shadow of its sister brand Hyundai, Kia has slowly chipped away at its “badge-engineered” reputation. And the 2014 Kia Forte should aide in that effort.
The stretched wheelbase does mimic the newest Hyundai Elantra, but sheetmetal and details, as we’ve seen with the Optima versus Sonata, set the Forte well apart. From the unique front fascia and winged grille, to its sculpted rear with large split lighting, the Forte is its own car.
Likewise the Forte’s interior is more serious than Elantra’s, with good materials but fewer glossy accents for a Euro-esque feel. Kia’s Microsoft-based UVO infotainment system is also available.
Standard is a 1.8 liter inline 4, rated at 148 horsepower. Yes, it is the very same one found in the Elantra. But step up to the Forte EX trim, and you’ll get an exclusive 173 horsepower 2.0 liter I4, with Direct Injection and Kia’s Flex Steer system, that offers varying degrees of electric power assist.
PATRICK LUCAS: The Forte’s drive is noticeably different than the Hyundai Elantra. The 2.0 liter has a definite kick to it… the tweaked chassis and suspension give it a more solid, sporty feel. And while the Flex Steer system is more of a novelty than a true “driver’s tool”, it is nice to see a feature like this on a car that starts under 20 grand.
JOHN DAVIS: On sale soon, the 2014 Kia Forte starts near $16,000 in base LX trim, with the EX starting around $18,000. And look out for a 5-door hatchback variant later this year.
Engine: 1.8 liter inline 4
Price: Starts near $16,000