LA: 2014 Kia Forte

Both Kia and Honda are releasing small cars at the Los Angeles International Auto Show. We have yet to drive either, but based on looks, Kia certainly has the upper hand. In order to keep sales consistent, Hyundai and Kia have staggered model releases. Hyundai gets the newest generation models first, while Kia follows later.

Hyundai released the 2011 Elantra to great acclaim while the Forte remained a previous generation model. For 2014, the Forte is all-new and you can see some styling influence from the Elantra that it is based on. The good news though, is that it is better looking…a lot better looking. In fact, it is one of the freshest designs in the segment.

This continues a trend of us liking Kia designs more than their Hyundai counterparts. Hyundai took Fluidic Sculpture too far and is now showing off a more toned-down “Storm Edge” look beginning with the new Santa Fe. Kia’s designers are some of the best in the business. What a startling turn-around from just a few years back, when their cars were, at best, nondescript. Curiously, they didn’t release any pictures of the Forte. If they keep up the good work though, we will get a stylish driver-centric cockpit feel.

Despite not showing off the interior, they did release a host of other details. Keeping with Kia’s aim for a premium feel, the Forte has standard features like LED accent lighting and optional features like high-intensity discharge headlights. Under the hood you have the choice of two engines: the first is a 1.8-liter four-cylinder, making 148 horsepower and 131 pound-feet of torque. Moving up to the 2.0-liter unit will get you 25 extra hp and 22 lb-ft. of torque. The Forte goes on sale early next year. The model we are really looking forward to is the new Koup model. Despite not being fans of the sedan the last time around, we have always liked that car.

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