2014 Forte family is three
vehicles strong, and while the Forte sedan and Koup
manage to visually set themselves apart from the Forte5 hatchback, that latter
model is such a fantastic car, it practically makes its siblings irrelevant.
Forte5 essentially offers everything found in the Forte and Koup, but features
a more versatile package. It's been said time and again by car critics and fans
alike for years, and it's as undeniably true now as it was decades ago: when
you have the choice, always opt for the hatchback.
The Forte5, along with
the Koup, receive a redesign for the 2014 model year, and both can also be fitted
with a new 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine. That engine replaces
the naturally-aspirated 2.4-litre powerplant found in the 2013 Forte5, and is
an alternative to the carryover 2.0-litre four-banger.
anyone considering the Forte5,
know this: the turbocharged engine is eminently better than the 2.0-litre, and
it's worth shelling out the extra cash. It also makes the Forte5 far more
compelling than the competition.
don't have to be a car person to be aware of the many sedans that populate the
compact car segment - names like Corolla, Civic, Elantra, and Mazda3 are a dime
a dozen on Canadian roads, and for good reason.
are a different story in terms of sheer numbers, although the competition is
just as tough. The Forte5 is
up against the Hyundai Elantra GT, Mazda3 Sport, Ford Focus, and Toyota Matrix,
to name a few, and the Elantra GT and Mazda3 Sport in particular are as
excellent and well-rounded as a car gets.
the Forte5 is no slouch,
and it has that wonderful thing called a turbocharger. The only other
turbo-equipped competitor is the Ford Focus, but to get a model with that
engine, you have to move up to the $30,000 high-performance ST trim.
my SX Premium test vehicle is admittedly close to that $30,000 price tag, it
comes absolutely loaded with virtually every feature you can get in a Forte5.
For those who love the 1.6-litre engine but don't want to spend as much cash,
the lowest-priced turbocharged Forte5 starts at a
more reasonable $23,795.
Forte5 is so much more than a peppy powerplant though. It boasts a roomy cargo
area, regardless of whether the rear seats are in position or folded down (and
if only they folded completely flat!). There's plenty of room for four adults,
though even the fifth seat in the middle of the rear bench actually isn't bad -
even for adults - for short jaunts.
some long distance driving during my time with the Forte5, and while my backside
does become a little sore during the longest road trip I take, the seats
generally hold up very well.
interior is relatively quiet, and the engine doesn't fuss, even when I'm
pushing it as I pass slower vehicles on the highway. Six-speed automatic
transmissions are par for the course in this segment (unless you're the Toyota
Matrix), but I love that Kia
offers a six-speed manual as standard with the more expensive SX trim.
vehicle is equipped with the auto, though, and while not nearly as engaging as
a three-pedal vehicle, the transmission offers quick shifts, and it never seems
to be out of sorts and unsure what gear it should be in.
think Kia has some of the most
user-friendly vehicles around today, and the Forte5 is no exception. I love
being able to pair and set everything in a matter of seconds and be off doing
the fun stuff - namely, driving - with nary a delay. I also think it's a lot
safer to be focused on the road and not fussing with technological do-hickies
while behind the wheel. Those standard steering wheel-mounted cruise and audio
controls don't hurt, either.
Forte5 really is one of those vehicles that is difficult to complain about. It
may not be spectacular at any one thing, but it's also rock-solid at most
things, making it a truly compelling package.
Trim level: SX Premium w/ Auto
Price as tested (before taxes): $28,395
Options on test vehicle: none
Configuration: front engine/
Engine/transmission: 1.6L turbocharged
four-cylinder / six-speed automatic w/ sequential shift
Power/torque: 201 hp/ 195 lb-ft
Fuel (capacity): Regular (50L)
Fuel economy ratings (L/100 km): 9.7 city, 6.7 hwy
Observed fuel economy (L/100 km): 8.2 over 486 km
Warranties: 5 years/ 100,000 km (basic), 5 years/ 100,000
Competitors: Mazda3 Sport, Hyundai Elantra GT,
Ford Focus, Toyota Matrix
Report Card (out of 10):
Fuel Economy: 7 – Don't have to drive
efficiently to get good numbers here.
Equipment level: 8 – Lots of
standard goodies even on the base model.
Price: 8 – A great price when you consider what's
included on the top trim.
Styling: 8 – The best-looking vehicle in the
Forte family - seriously.
Comfort (front): 7 – Plenty of room
for tall drivers.
Comfort (rear): 7 – Quite spacious
for a compact hatchback.
Handling: 7 - Forte5 is fun to drive, though
I'd love to see a performance version.
Performance: 7 – I'm a big fan of that new
Storage: 7 – A roomy, easy-to-access storage
Overall: 8 – Nary a weakness to be found with
this wonderful machine.