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Kia Forte EX (2014)


  • This car competes against other cheap little cars: the Corolla, Civic, Fiesta. And it competes well. When loaded up, as in our EX trim tester, it’s a pretty nice car to drive, and is comparable to similarly equipped Corollas and Civics at $19,500.
  • For a car of its size, it’s got a very comfortable ride. You don’t feel like you’re being thrashed around. It doesn’t feel like you’ve made a huge compromise in comfort just to drive a smaller car. It helps that the front seats offer a good range of adjustment.
  • In EX trim, it has a lot of the luxuries you might expect to get with a larger, more expensive car, including navigation, heated seats, heated steering wheel, and keyless entry. These are great convenience features that, at one time, you had to forego if you wanted a smaller car.
  • We expected the Forte to be noisier. In fact, it’s comparable and perhaps a bit quieter than the Toyota Corolla, one of its direct competitors.
  • It’s a decent handling car, and we found it fun to drive.
  • The Forte has extraordinarily good power for a car of its size. The EX comes with a 2.0 liter, 173 hp GDI, “direct injection” engine, which injects the fuel at very high pressure into the cylinder, allowing for more power and efficiency out of a smaller engine. The result is an EPA rated 24 city/36 highway*
  • *Your mileage will suck more than that, as with any EPA rating.
  • Comes with Kia’s standard 100k drive train warranty—a better warranty than many competitors, including Toyota.
  • More modern looking than even the new, 2014 Corolla.
  • We hated parting with it!


  • Thanks to the modern look, don’t expect to see out the rear. There is a backup camera, however. Unfortunately, you’ll quickly start to hate the delay of several excruciating seconds, from when you shift into Reverse until the screen shows the view behind the car.
  • Overall, we found the Forte to be a little small, in terms of interior room. The back seat is not particularly roomy, either, and lacks good headroom for taller people (aka adults).
  • It’s still a small car, with a small wheelbase, which means the ride will never be like that of a larger car. And despite the fact that it was surprisingly quiet for a small car, you will hear engine noise from the smaller engine.
  • We never got close to their claimed fuel economy of 24 city/36 highway in our real world testing.
  • Navigation system is a little less user-friendly than some.

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