Over its short life, the Kia Forte has elbowed its way into the compact-car scene by adding a few more standard features and longer warranties to its list of equipment. The same is true for the 2014 model, though for the time being, the former SX model has hit the pause button.
The Forte LX is the base model, and prices are expected to come in just below $16,000. At that price, the Forte will offer standard power windows, locks, and mirrors; an AM/FM/XM audio system; Bluetooth; steering-wheel audio and phone controls; and air conditioning. Adding the Popular Package option brings 16-inch wheels; keyless entry; and cruise control; the Eco package tops it off with ISG stop/start control.
The Kia Forte EX is expected to carry a base price of less than $19,000 before destination, and gets a good assortment of premium features and options. It comes standard with keyless entry; a rearview camera; a cooled glovebox and a center armrest with a sliding lid. Premium Package options include a 10-way power driver seat; heated seats--all of them; driver-seat ventilation; leather upholstery; a power sunroof; pushbutton start; and 17-inch wheels. A Technology package gains LED taillights; a color LCD readout tucked between the gauges; and automatic climate control.
Navigation is also an option on this version, which comes standard with Kia's new version of UVO. Initial versions of UVO have been based on an early version of the Microsoft autos software that governs Ford's SYNC system. The new Kia system (iOS for now only, with Android in the works) is a lighter and more effective system that leverages the driver's smartphone for live information access, tapping Google for mapping information and the data stream for streaming audio. It also offers nice touches like service scheduling and a parking reminder--and it's free. We're convinced this is the future of infotainment systems of almost all flavors, and all the Kia system lacks is true mirroring--the ability to mimic a smartphone display directly on the infotainment screen.