Monday, June 17, 2013

2014 KIA Forte EX GDI Driving Experience Review

I love cars.  All kinds of cars.  There is nothing like cruising down the road in an open top T-Bird with wind in your face and Sun in your hair.  Burning gasoline at a ridiculous rate and a deep roar from the 430 cu in 4300 Lbs. monster,  but who cared - it was fun!  My first Toyota Celica GT was a great car as well.  All black inside and out.  Sun roof and pop-up head lights.  That was an awesome car - it's a shame rust got the best of it.  I hated selling that car.  Nowadays, I sport around in my 7th Gen Celica GTS.  6 Sp manual and tuned exhaust pumping out from a worked set of valves.  Rev-Rev-Rev always to a boiling 7,000+ RPM.  But back to this fellows car review...

I recently had the pleasure of driving the 2014 Kia Forte EX GDI (Gas Direct Injection) sedan supplied by STI - The Driving Experience people. Driving the Kia Forte for a week was most enjoyable.  The Forte is a small car that feels like a big car when your behind the wheel but it drives like a gas sipping luxury vehicle.  The Kia Forte is a special car offered by Car manufacturer KIA Motors.  Special I say, because it is small with big car comfort, loaded with standard features for safety, ergonomics, and electronics - very smart electronics.  With the additional options this tester car had, the Forte was equipped with many features found on cars 2-3 times the price.

I really enjoyed the Forte.  The styling was smart, the performance was agile, and the technology contained in the vehicle was smart without being "overly techy".  With a 2.0 ltr engine acceleration was smooth and brisk.  Attaining highway speed with confidence the car traversed the asphalt with grace, stability, and style.  Inside the cabin was lots of leather, heated seats front and back, and a heated leather wrapped steering wheel.  Comfort was a fist in the design phase of this vehicle.  Inside, the car gave this occupant the feeling that I was sitting in a much, much bigger car.  Lots of room with good support for back and legs in the seats.  Back seat occupancy was a pleasure too.  Ample leg room, more leather, a nice arm rest, and heated seats!

Driver controls are well placed in this vehicle with smart ergonomics easy to operate from the steering wheel. Steering wheel action can be adjusted from sport, regular, and comfort with the touch of a button giving different feels in the driving experience and control.  Radio/nav/and telephone control can all be achieved with the steering wheel controls within fingers reach at any moment.  A full array of nicely colored contrasting gauges complimented the information screen right in front of the driver where they belong.  Two really nice features on the Forte were the 2-driver seat memory settings and video back up camera - Wow!  The Kia Forte delivers comfort, confidence, and safety in this reviewers driving experience.  Not only that but minute details of the ergonomics controls can be adjusted like right from the steering wheel controls and the info center display.

 I found very useful the navigation display placed right in front of the driver set in-between the speedometer and tachometer.  That display was so handy and visible.  The bright colors of the navigation direction graphics were visible with my peripheral vision without having to look down all the time.  It was great function and very safe to use while driving instead of having to look over at the main screen on the middle of the console for navigation.

Driving the Forte gave me a feeling of confidence and flare.  The smart remote key less entry and engine start enhanced my driving experience.  Walking up to the Forte, the side view mirrors would pop out slowly as if to say "hello".  Braking was strong, smooth, and gave me great confidence.  Visibility looking outside the cabin was wide open unobstructed and with the small forward aft windows just below the windshield, I could actually see curbs and other obstacles as turns were negotiated.  Fuel economy was good making frequent short trips around town, highway economy was great! Fuel economy is tracked constantly by the on board computer and displayed instantly with data and graphics to the driver to help train driver habits for economy.

In all, the 2014 KIA Forte is a nice package, comfortable, and nicely appointed with features and equipment that are useful, ergonomically placed, definitely desired, and especially advanced for a small import vehicle.

Try the Forte on for size.  I bet you will be glad you did.

Thanks STI for the opportunity to experience the Kia Forte
Scott Mayorga

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