The 2014 Kia Forte sedan is a stylish and roomier-than-expected four-door car that's longer and wider than its predecessor and offers features not usually found in affordable cars in the segment.
As an example, Forte sedan buyers can add heated seats for both front and rear passengers, a heated steering wheel, puddle and door handle lights and a telematics/communications system that will help find the parked Forte in a crowded shopping mall parking lot.
Too bad, though, that the base Forte sedan doesn't include a standard rearview camera, like the one that's standard on all Honda Civic sedans.
Still, the newly revamped, five-seat Forte, with base 148-horsepower four cylinder, has more power than the base, 2014 Toyota Corolla, whose four cylinder develops 132 horses. It also has a tad more than the 2014 Honda Civic, which has a 143-horsepower four cylinder.
Not to be missed: The Forte comes with Kia's generous warranty program that includes 10 years/100,000-mile limited powertrain coverage and five years/60,000-mile limited basic warranty.
In comparison, the Corolla and Civic have limited powertrain coverage for five years/60,000 miles and limited, basic car warranty good for three years/36,000 miles.
Best of all, starting manufacturer's suggested retail price, including destination charge, for the base, front-wheel drive, 2014 Forte LX sedan, which has a six-speed manual transmission, is $16,700.
This compares with the $19,180 starting retail price for a base, 2014 Honda Civic LX sedan with five-speed manual transmission and the $17,610 starting retail price for a base, 2014 Toyota Corolla LX with six-speed manual.
The lowest priced 2014 Forte sedan with an automatic transmission is $18,200.
In calendar 2013, while 66,146 Fortes were sold in the United States, more than 300,000 buyers purchased Civics and another 300,000-plus bought Corollas. Of course, the Corolla and Civic are well-known small car names and have had reputations for reliability and longevity.