First Look: 2014 Kia Forte Sedan

By Brandon Turkus

November 29, 2012

Kia has unveiled a significantly updated version of its four-door Forte at the LA Auto Show. The new compact will do battle with the likes of the Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra, Honda Civic, and Chevrolet Cruze.
Power comes from a pair of engines. The base engine, a 1.8-liter four-cylinder delivers a respectable 148 horsepower and 131 pound-feet of torque, and is available on the Forte LX. The LX is available with either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic.
Moving up to the EX gives drivers a touch more power courtesy of a 2.0-liter four with 173 horsepower and 154 pound-feet of torque. It’s not likely to set freeways alight, but it certainly fits in well with the competition. Shifting duties on the top-spec Forte are handled by a six-speed autobox. Unfortunately, economy figures aren’t available for either engine at present.
We may not be able to comment on fuel economy, but we can talk about the Forte’s new sheetmetal. We’d make a strong argument that this new Kia is one of the best looking vehicles in its segment. It looks like a miniaturized Optima with smoother lines. With styling penned by Kia’s American Design Center in California, this new Forte is sure to stand out from the crowd.
The interior doesn’t seem to carryover the exteriors stunning good looks. It’s acceptable, with a logical layout and enough space, but we’d hoped for something a bit flashier to match the looks of the exterior.
The all-new, 2014 Kia Forte goes on sale during the first quarter of 2013. Pricing info will be released closer to launch.
Please scroll down for the official press release from Kia.
All-new Forte Offers More Space and a Sleek European-inspired Design
Longer, lower and wider than the previous Forte
Goes on sale in the first quarter of 2013 offering a plethora of upscale features
Los Angeles, Nov. 28, 2012 – Pulling the silk off the all-new 2014 Forte sedan today at the Los Angeles International Auto Show, Kia Motors America (KMA) revealed a stunning European design-inspired sedan that makes it clear the Korean auto manufacturer has another winner in its line-up of sought-after cars and CUVs.  Sitting on an all-new chassis that is longer, wider and lower than the previous-generation Forte, the all-new third-generation Forte will offer more room, more performance and more premium amenities when it’s expected to go on sale in the first quarter of 2013.  The all-new 2014 Forte will be offered in LX and EX variants with a choice of an efficient 1.8-liter engine or a more powerful 2.0-liter engine.
“The all-new Forte significantly raises the bar, offering upscale amenities and eye-catching appeal,” said Michael Sprague, executive vice president of marketing & communications, KMA.  “When you combine exclusive available features like a ventilated driver’s seat and UVO eServices in a car with such an attractive design, it’s very clear the all-new Forte sets a new standard for the compact segment.”
Set to arrive at Kia retailers in early 2013, the all-new Forte will represent the heart of KMA’s small-car line-up, replacing the current Forte, which has been a sales success story since launching in 2009.  Slotted between the Rio sub-compact sedan and the best-selling Optima mid-size sedan, the all-new Forte includes a raft of unexpected available premium features in a package that easily accommodates five passengers and their belongings.
Unexpected Premium Features
Offered in LX and EX trim levels, the all-new Forte proudly carries on Kia’s reputation for offering premium features that redefine automotive segments.  The LX model comes standard with steering wheel mounted audio controls, SiriusXM™ Satellite Radio1, Bluetooth® wireless technology2, power windows, air conditioning and power heated outside mirrors among the many features that make the Forte stand out from its competition.  The optional Popular Package adds 16-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, keyless entry with remote trunk release and a sliding front armrest. The Eco Package includes Kia’s ISG (Idle Stop & Go) system, dual-zone automatic temperature control with rear seat ventilation and unique “eco” badge.
Stepping up to the EX trim broadens Forte’s appeal with additional comfort and convenience features.  Kia’s next-generation UVO in-vehicle infotainment system with eServices is standard and can now be integrated with an optional navigation system.  Additional standard EX features include remote keyless entry with trunk opener, rear camera back-up display3, a sliding center armrest and a cooling glove box.  The new optional Flex Steer system allows the driver to choose between three distinct steering profiles:  Comfort, Normal and Sport.  Features found in the optional Premium Package include heated front and rear seats, a 10-way power adjustable driver’s seat with class-exclusive air-cooled ventilation, leather seat trim, power sunroof, 17-inch alloy wheels and push button start with Smart Key and a heated steering wheel.  Opting for the Technology Package garners HID headlights, LED tail lights, a 4.2-inch color LCD cluster screen and dual-zone automatic temperature control with rear seat ventilation.
Enhanced Performance, Improved Ride and Handling
The all-new Forte offers spirited performance thanks to two advanced four-cylinder engines.  The LX features a 1.8-liter powerplant, while the EX comes standard with a 2.0-liter engine.  Both engines feature dual continuously variable valve timing and a lightweight intake manifold that reduces weight by 30 percent over a cast unit.  The aluminum “bed plate” located below the cylinder block reduces engine NVH levels and improves block rigidity by 30 percent.
With 148 horsepower available at 6,500 rpm and 131 lb.-ft. of torque on tap at 4,700 rpm, the 1.8-liter MPI inline four-cylinder engine found in the LX routes power to the front wheels through either a standard six speed manual transmission or an optional six speed automatic gearbox.
Forte EX enhances the driving experience with a 173-horsepower (at 6,500 rpm) 2.0-liter inline four cylinder GDI engine.  With a robust 154 lb.-ft. of torque available at 4,700 rpm, the EX comes standard with a six speed automatic.
The all-new Forte rides on a chassis that is longer (by 1.2 inches), lower (0.6 inches) and wider (0.2 inches) than the previous Forte sedan.  With its 106.3-inch wheelbase, two inches longer than the outgoing model, the all-new Forte rides on a McPherson strut front suspension and a coupled torsion beam rear axle.  On-center steering feel is improved utilizing larger bushings and revised front suspension geometry.  Electric power steering has replaced the hydraulic system from the previous Forte, reducing parasitic load. Optional Flex Steer puts the driver firmly in control with settings for Comfort, Normal and Sport, which vary steering effort at the touch of a steering wheel-mounted button.
The base LX manual rides on 195/65R-15 tires, while 205/55R-16 tires on 16-inch alloy wheels are optional.  The top-of-the-line EX is shod with the same 55-series tires. Low-profile 215/45-17 tires mounted on sporty 17-inch alloy wheels are optional.
Sport Sedan Design From California
With an aggressive stance, broad shoulders and a windshield rake that can only be described as sporty, the all-new Forte looks as good parked as it does carving through a remote canyon road. Influenced by European sport sedan styling, the Forte’s modern aesthetic was born in California at Kia’s American Design Center in Irvine.
Dramatically swept headlight lenses cut deeply into the front fenders and incorporate projector headlamps.  LED positioning lights create distinct eyebrows, making the Forte instantly recognizable in a crowd.  Gentle sculpting along the Forte’s lower flanks taper the sheet metal inward, affording the car a taut, nimble appearance without diminishing its road presence.  Around back, the up-kicked fender line and trunk design, with its deep horizontal crease, lend width and charisma while allowing the complex curves of the tail lights to flow over the rear haunches.
A Modern and Sophisticated Cabin
Opening the wide doors reveals a cabin sculpted in organic curves.  Gentle ripples across the instrument panel convey serenity, as if small waves are radiating from a pebble dropped into a pond. The driver-centric cabin is canted 10 degrees and features high-quality materials and soft touch points.  Large, easy-to-read instruments dominate the binnacle, and secondary controls fall easily to hand.  The optional 4.2-inch color LCD screen nestled between the white-on-black gauges in the EX provides trip and ancillary vehicle information front and center to the driver.  Tasteful chrome bezels ring the HVAC rotary knobs and the optional push-button start.  Additional chrome accents, standard Bluetooth® hands free phone integration and power windows, mirrors and door locks enhance the all-new Forte’s premium feel.  Optional leather seating trim, power sunroof, and dual-zone automatic climate control with rear seat vents and HID head lights take the Forte to new levels of sophistication.
Kia’s Unprecedented Growth
Kia Motors is one of the world’s fastest moving global automotive brands; from 2009-2011 Kia launched more new vehicles in the U.S. than any other automaker, and under the guidance of chief design officer Peter Schreyer earned a reputation as an industry leader in automotive styling.  Kia Motors America’s full line of fun-to-drive cars and CUVs has earned critical acclaim and dramatically increased consumer awareness, perception and consideration for the brand.  In 2011, KMA recorded its 17th consecutive year of market share growth, thanks in part to the largest increase of any major brand in perceived quality4 and the industry’s highest brand loyalty ranking5.  Kia’s U.S.-based manufacturing facility in West Point, Georgia – KMMG – is responsible for the creation of more than 10,000 plant and supplier jobs and builds two of the company’s best-selling vehicles in the U.S. – the Sorento CUV and Optima midsize sedan*.  Kia’s value and technology-laden lineup also includes the Sportage compact CUV, Soul urban passenger vehicle, Optima Hybrid, Forte compact sedan, Forte 5-door compact hatchback, Forte Koup two-door coupe, Rio and Rio 5-door sub-compacts and Sedona minivan.
About Kia Motors America
Kia Motors America is the marketing and distribution arm of Kia Motors Corporation based in Seoul, South Korea. KMA offers a complete line of vehicles through more than 755 dealers throughout the United States and serves as the "Official Automotive Partner" of the NBA and LPGA. In 2011, KMA recorded its best-ever annual sales total and became one of the fastest growing car companies in the U.S.6 Kia is poised to continue its momentum and will continue to build the brand through design innovation, quality, value, advanced safety features and new technologies.