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First Look: 2014 Kia Forte

German design for a Korean compact.

by on Nov.30, 2012

Former Audi design chief's latest work for Kia is the new 2014 Forte sedan.

With the introduction of the 2014 Forte, Kia reveals the continuing shift from generic styling to a distinctly European look that has helped it draw in a wave of new buyers in recent years.

Longer, wider and lower than the previous Forte, the new sedan bears the distinctive touch of Peter Schreyer, the former Audi design chief who joined the Korean carmaker in 2006. His work on such models as the latest Kia Optima have won kudos for both the maker and its styling chief – and helped make the Forte one of the most eagerly anticipated debuts during a crowded 2012 LA Auto Show.

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“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.”

In addition, the all-new third-generation Forte will offer more room, more performance and more premium amenities when it goes 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 current Forte  has been a sales success story since launching in 2009. Slotted between the Rio subcompact sedan and the best-selling Optima midsize sedan, the all-new Forte includes a raft of unexpected available premium features in a package that easily accommodates five passengers and their belongings.

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.

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.

Features found in the 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.

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.

The new chassis is 1.2 inches longer, lower and wider by0.2 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 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.

The overall design features 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.

The swept back 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

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

 

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