Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Business

February 16, 2014

Kia's stylish 2014 Forte is worthy competitor

(Continued)

Fuel economy is decent in federal government ratings — 24 miles per gallon in city driving for the test car and 36 mpg on the highway — though there are other similarly sized sedans that can offer higher ratings.

Indeed, the test Forte EX, which was driven in a spirited fashion, averaged just under 25 mpg in travel that involved 70 percent city driving. This translated into a travel range of just 329 miles on a full, 13.2-gallon tank.

The best mileage rating for the Forte sedan is with the base, 1.8-liter, double overhead cam, four cylinder that develops 131 foot-pounds of peak torque at 4,700 rpm. According to the federal government, this base Forte sedan with manual transmission is rated at 25/37 mpg. Note the base engine is the same engine that's used in the Hyundai Elantra. South Korean automaker Hyundai owns Kia, and the Forte is built in South Korea.

The test Forte EX rode on uplevel, 17-inch tires, and moderate road noise came through to passengers. Wind noise wasn't as noticeable.

The new Forte has a more rigid structure and revised suspension, which contribute to better handling. The tester was easy to move through mountain twisty roads with a good amount of speed because body motions were surprisingly controlled. The car felt more balanced than the earlier Fortes, and even harsh road impacts, while reaching passengers, were managed and muted more than expected.

Back-seat legroom of 35.9 inches is improved and about on par with that in the Civic sedan but is less than what's in the longer-length Corolla.

But the Forte's trunk space, measuring 14.9 cubic feet, bests the Corolla's 13 cubic feet and the 12.5 cubic feet in the Civic sedan trunk.

Finally, the 2014 Forte sedan rated four out of five stars overall in federal government crash tests, with only three stars in frontal crash testing.

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