At the 2013 Chicago Auto Show today, Kia unveiled the 2014 Forte hatchback. Expected to go on sale in late 2013, the Forte offers two trim levels and two engine choices. The base EX is fitted with a 173-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that’s paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission. The sportier SX comes with a 201-horsepower 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that mates with a 6-speed manual transmission, although a 6-speed automatic is available with steering-wheel mounted paddle shifters.
The new Forte will boast more standard safety and technology features. Standard on the base EX is a rearview camera, Bluetooth connectivity, satellite radio, a tilt and telescopic steering column, power windows, and LED headlights.
The sport-themed SX kicks the exterior styling up a notch with dual chrome exhaust tips, LED tail lights, a larger grille opening with black gloss inserts, and faux carbon-fiber on the lower front fascia and rear valance. Alloy pedals are added to the SX along with upholstery that sports a carbon-fiber look. On the performance front, Kia is adding a sport suspension to improve handling. Pricing won’t be announced until the third quarter of this year.
CG Says: Kia’s “design language” gives the Forte an overall sportier edge. With the addition of a sport-tuned suspension, an element of fun is added to help the EX compete with the likes of the Mazda 3 and Ford Focus. With its higher horsepower rating, the SX is poised to take on the Volkswagen GTI and the Veloster Turbo from Kia’s corporate cousin, Hyundai.