2014 Forte EX - Initial Review
This is the second Forte I've owned. I took the plunge and went with an EX model, which gets you tons of extra features at a great price - LED running lamps, Uvo voice-activated audio system, alloy wheels, upgraded seat fabrics, etc.
I have to say that I am thoroughly impressed by this vehicle except for a couple of nagging details. But first, the good.
Ride: This is such a huge improvement over the previous generation. Everything is quieter, smoother, and more refined. There are 3 steering modes that you can select, changing the steering's responsiveness - Comfort, Normal, and Sport. I keep mine in Sport mode, simply because I want the steering wheel to be as responsive as possible in my day-to-day driving. I could see putting it in Comfort mode on longer trips though.
Styling: Wow, what an improvement! The previous generation looked ho-hum to begin with, so there was plenty of room for improvement! I find the styling to be unique in a compact car market full of competition. Kia's current design language has transferred to this vehicle splendidly. The side view gives a very sports-like silhouette, but you won't be fooled as soon as you hit the gas pedal.
Performance: I would have to say that performance is "expected" I knew it was a compact car, and what that involves. However, I did think that with the 2.0 liter engine and a weight reduction, there would be a little more action going on when the gas pedal is pressed. Not so. Granted, this 2.0 liter engine has about the same performance as the previous generation's 2.4 liter, I'd still like to see a little more power in those times you need it. Most of the time I drive in "Active ECO" mode anyway, which dims your throttle response and changes the transmission shifts to maximize fuel economy. I'm averaging over 30 miles per gallon in a 50/50 mix of city and highway driving.
Interior: I love the huge upgrade the interior has made. There are soft touch plastics on almost everything, and leather accents all throughout the cabin - the arm rests, instrument panel, shift knob, etc. Everything is easily within reach and clearly marked. The water droplet effect on the doors and dash is not as pronounced as the stock photos would have you believe, so don't think it's going to be obtrusive, like the ceiling in a Nissan Cube. There is plenty of head room, and with the height adjustable drivers seat, you'd be hard pressed to not find a comfortable driving position. The fabric is two-toned grey and very pleasing to look at. There is plenty of room for four adults, making road trips a less dramatic affair.
Technology: This car has enough gadgets and gizmos to keep you busy forever. Make sure you read the accompanying manuals to get the most use out of everything. The Bluetooth pairing worked like a charm, and call clarity is as good as your phone's signal. There's a small information display in the instrument panel that displays statistics like average fuel economy, service reminders, settings for the door locks, etc. The backup camera is fantastic. I'm glad to see this becoming more commonplace in this vehicle class.
Complaint #1: Here's where the bad comes in: I'm not sure how I feel about the Uvo system. When plugging in my iPhone, it takes over a minute to start playing music from it. Additionally, you cannot skip a song until after it starts playing, which takes about 5 seconds from when you press the skip button to the sound coming out of the speakers. You might waste your whole commute just trying to find a song you want to listen to. On a side note, when streaming the audio over Bluetooth, neither of these things happen - the caveat is that you don't get anything but the song title over Bluetooth, and you cannot use the Uvo voice commands unless you're plugged into the USB port.
Complaint #2: Missing features from the Uvo system. This is the latest and greatest Uvo system with eServices. I should have Google Maps integration, Pandora integration, etc. None of that is available, and I can't figure out why. All the literature I received with the car states that I should have this integration, but I can't get it going. The literature does not cover specific apps, just that I should have it. I will talk to Kia/Microsoft about this.
Complaint #3: The key. The ignition gives a lot of resistance when trying to put the key in, making you think that you're trying to insert it incorrectly. The insertion angle feels awkward as well, but maybe that's just me. The key is rather large and chunky, and perhaps I'm not used to it.
Complaint #4: No rear air vents. Well I shouldn't say that. You can get rear air vents if you spend $5000 more. You have to get the Technology package (which requires the premium package) to get them.
Aside from these idiosyncrasies, I love the car. It's a huge step up from the previous generation, and gives you more features than you know what to do with.
Last edited by dbrewer80221; 04-28-2013 at 06:09 PM.