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2014 Kia Forte 5-Door Overview
Kia spawned an all-new hatchback with its 2014 Forte redesign, and it's an exceptionally promising entry. Dubbed the Forte 5-Door, Kia's latest compact is essentially a re-skinned Hyundai Elantra, just like the rest of the Forte lineup, but the 5-Door exclusively offers Hyundai's Veloster Turbo engine and Kia's concept of sporting driving dynamics.
Geared much more toward fun rather than function, the 23.2-cubic-foot trunk hopes to be overlooked for its pair of appetizing but as yet untested engines. Both the base EX and sporting SX direct 4-cylinder power to the front wheels, but the EX's 2-liter pumps out 173 hp and 154 lb-ft of torque, and the SX's 1.6-liter is turbocharged for 201 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy for the 2-liter is estimated at 24 mpg city/36 highway without any other benchmarks or estimates to speak of just yet, but we do know the SX offers a 6-speed manual as well as the EX's 6-speed automatic. This should put the SX under 7 seconds to 60 mph, but whether Hyundai lets Kia get the full 6-second treatment is anyone's guess at this point.
Available options are far and away the most varied you will ever see in this segment, but standard features suffer a bit of a clip as compared to competitors in order to offer a higher materials standard and what some argue may be the best build quality of any affordable car made this side of 2005. The 2014 5-Door is definitely a choice place to enter the Forte lineup, as it shouldn't have the road noise, materials and ride quality issues of its last 4 years—and those with their hands on one first agree it feels like a well-made, well-executed, well-considered and thoroughly refined "sure thing" inside and out, thanks at least in part to its basis on a tried-and-true favorite. Safety scores reflect as much, too, the 5-Door fetching second-best and top-notch marks on every account.
The only catches are a conspicuous lack of features discerning drivers will desire at no extra cost and a steering wheel that likes to move toward center when you least expect it. Aside from sporting chrome accents and 17-inch alloy wheels, the top-shelf SX offers little more different from the EX than its engine. Options for both amount to the very same options available to the Forte sedan—in short, a sunroof, keyless ignition and entry, leather upholstery, heated seats (front and back) and a heated steering wheel, among many other features that come only with an upgrade price attached.
Standard features for the base EX include 16-inch alloy wheels, full power accessories, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, 60/40-split-folding rear seat, keyless entry, cruise control, adjustable steering weight, foglights, LED running lights, chrome and leather accents, Uvo voice command system, rear-view camera and 8-speaker sound system with CD player, satellite radio, auxiliary jack, USB/iPod and Bluetooth connectivity. That's an impressive list, but it doesn't offer things like automatic wipers or climate control, remote ignition and several other features drivers of similarly European-feeling cars have come to expect but won't find in a standard Kia Forte 5-Door.
What's your take on the 2014 Kia Forte 5-Door?
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