2014 Kia Forte SX Review | Toronto Sun
By Carina Ockedahl, Toronto Sun
Something good this way comes
Kia has struggled for many years to break free of an old, haunting reputation. Some people remember this time, as they have blacklisted the company. Others, and perhaps this is the younger generation, are more open to the manufacturer’s products. Whatever the case, the new 2014 Kia Forte SX is one car that will help fortify the brand.
A cautious interest
The reputation of this South Korean manufacturer was that of inferiority, while the vehicles were considered unreliable. When the Asian financial crisis occurred in 1997, Kia was impacted to the point of bankruptcy. A year later, Hyundai Motor Company was able to buy the business, adding a new subdivision to the group.
Years later, Kia created the slogan, “The power to surprise.” It has, in fact, surprised many people with its stylish, spacious, affordable and (relatively) fuel-efficient cars. It is difficult to shed a bad past, but Kia seems to be trying quite hard, and it shows.
Moving on, the goods
The Hyundai-Kia team is progressing forward rapidly in the world. Improvements to its vehicles have been administered, and hard work has boosted the sale numbers up, along with the team’s popularity.
For the new Forte, the designers have created a truly good-looking car as an overall package. Everything seems balanced and flowing, from the overall shape of the vehicle, to the look and size of the headlights, taillights, mirrors, grille, and so on.
The interior maintains a similar vibe. There is a nice use of colour based on my test vehicle, a metallic grey exterior (add $200), and varying shades of grey for the interior. The placement of the gadgets and the visibility from the driver’s seat is equally appreciated.
The leather seats are very comfortable, even for those long drives. The positioning of whatever is around the driver (armrest, space for your cups, keys, phone) is just perfect, as is the driving position that is electronically adjustable (10-way power-driver seat), and very practical. It feels like a good, solid car.
The Kia Forte is filled with technological goodies. It’s not jam-packed to the point of feeling almost claustrophobic like some of the new Ford vehicles. Nor is it stripped down to the base. My test vehicle in SX trim is equipped with satellite radio, a navigation system, 6-speakers, Bluetooth, keyless entry, a start-stop ignition and dual-zone climate control, to name a few.
There is also this wonderful little button that allows for both the cooling and heating of the seat. Unfortunately, it is specifically for the driver’s seat (well, good for the person behind the wheel…less so for passengers). The front row and rear passenger seats include a button to heat their seats; they just lack the ventilation option.
The Forte SX engine is a 2.0L, 4-cylinder powerplant that generates 174-horsepower and 154 lb.-ft of torque. There is just enough power so that you as the driver can feel it, and enjoy your driving experience. It will always depend on what you’re looking for, but the Forte yet again achieves a good balance of not-too-much and not-too-little engine power, comfort and ease of handling/driving this sedan.
The SX is only available with a 6-speed Sportmatic automatic transmission. You will have to consider the EX or LX if the 6-speed manual transmission is a preference.
In Canada, Kia has something called the 5-5-5 Total Care Coverage. The triple numbers represent the 5-year/100,000 km warranties for: bumper-to-bumper, powertrain and extra care roadside assistance.
Although Hyundai offers several of the 5`s and then some (remember that Hyundai-Kia are a joint company), the 5`s warranty from Kia is still a good deal.
It`s not often that you will have a triple 5 warranty as an option.
The real noteworthy aspect of the Kia Forte is, again, the overall balance it seems to maintain inside out. Every bit of power, comfort and technology is just the right amount, and the package as a whole portrays the Forte as a good, solid vehicle. It is a car that will continue to fortify the Kia name.
Fact File: 2014 Kia Forte
Trim level: SX
Price as tested (before taxes): $26,195
Options on test vehicle: additional costs for metallic paint ($200).
Configuration: front engine, front wheel drive
Engine/transmission: 2.0L GDI 4-cylinder / 6-spd Sportmatic automatic transmission
Power/torque: 173 hp/ 154 lb.-ft.
Fuel (capacity): regular (50L)
Fuel economy ratings (L/100 km): 8.5 city, 5.5 hwy
Warranties: 5 years/100,000 km (basic); 5 years/100,000 km (powertrain); 5 years/100,000 km (powertrain);
Competitors: Ford Focus, Mazda3