Car Review: 2014 Kia Forte EX
When a car company redesigns an already great-selling sedan, there’s a lot of pressure to get it right. The new 2014 Kia Forte EX sits on an all-new chassis that is longer, wider and lower than the previous-generation Forte, offering more room, performance and premium amenities than previous models. We had the chance to test drive the new Forte and came away with some of the following impressions.
The crimson red paint color on the skin of the Forte looked as good as just about any finish on a car in this class. With an aggressive stance, broad shoulders and a windshield rake that can only be described as sporty, the all-new Forte looks as good parked as it does at speed. Influenced by European sport sedan styling, the Forte’s modern aesthetics were born in California at Kia’s American Design Center in Irvine. Dramatically swept headlight lenses cut deeply into the front fenders and incorporate projector headlamps. LED positioning lights create distinct eyebrows, making the Forte instantly recognizable in a crowd. Gentle sculpting along the Forte’s lower flanks taper the sheet metal inward, affording the car a taut, nimble appearance without diminishing its road presence. Around back, the up-kicked fender line and trunk design, with its deep horizontal crease, lend width and charisma while allowing the complex curves of the tail lights to flow over the car’s haunches.
Opening the wide doors reveals a cabin sculpted in organic curves. Gentle character lines evoke ripples radiating from a pebble dropped into a pond. The driver-centric cabin is canted 10 degrees and features high-quality materials and soft touch points. Large, easy-to-read instruments dominate the binnacle, and secondary controls fall easily to hand. The optional 4.2-inch color LCD screen nestled between the white-on-black gauges in the EX provides trip and ancillary vehicle information front and center to the driver. Tasteful chrome bezels ring the HVAC rotary knobs and the optional push-button start. Additional chrome accents, standard Bluetooth hands-free phone integration and power windows, mirrors and door locks enhance the all-new Forte’s premium feel. Optional leather seating trim, power sunroof, and dual-zone automatic climate control with rear seat vents and HID head lights take the Forte to new levels of sophistication. Although our test vehicle came with cloth seats and no sunroof, we were more than pleased with the quality of the materials and the fit and finish of the interior space. Speaking of space, the roominess is plenty and quite deceptive until one sits inside the 2014 Kia Forte EX.
Read the rest of this entry »
What’s a Doberhuahua?
Check out this funny commercial from Audi that you’ll be seeing during the Big Game on the importance of not compromising.
Big Game Training: Rob’s Mental Workout
After a funny buildup with comedian Rob Riggle we now know the meaning of #nearlydouble. If you didn’t catch Ford’s epic spot featuring John Franco during the big game you can view it here:
Car Review: 2014 Scion tC
The absolutely red 2014 Scion tC sitting in the driveway caught our attention right from the start. There is something really smooth about this car, and you can’t help but notice the stunning good looks of this three-door liftback. I haven’t driven a bunch of Scions, and was interested in performance and just about everything else, so a week behind the wheel was fitting.
The 2014 Scion tC is defined by more assertive styling, starting from the front with distinctive new headlamps and an all-new hood that extends lower toward a more open, muscular grille with an embedded tC logo. The new upper- and lower-grille treatments are bordered by LED accent lighting. This new design raises the level of coolness by leaps and bounds. Beneath the rear bumper, a new black-out valance features an FR-S style, lower-center trim piece and lower perimeter reflectors, while new advanced LED tail lamps complete the picture. New 18-inch alloy wheels with 225/45R18 tires carry the aggressive character through to the car’s profile. Standard on the tC, the wheels feature a premium dark gray finish contrasted by eye-catching machined-spoke surfaces. I was asked by more than a few people as to what kind of car the Scion tC was, because they really liked what they saw.
Our test vehicle had what was needed in the cabin while keeping the price down to very affordable levels, and we were just fine with that! The 2014 Scion tC’s cabin adds new technology, additional convenience features and upgraded materials. The tC is the first model in the family to come with the all-new Scion Standard Display Audio, featuring a 6.1-inch LCD touchscreen. The system was incorporated into all 2014 Scion models, making Scion the industry’s first non-luxury brand to feature a touchscreen audio system as standard equipment across its entire lineup. The new audio system comes equipped with features that Scion drivers will enjoy, including Bluetooth compatibility, HD Radio Technology and steering wheel-mounted controls. By the way, the sport steering wheel in the 2014 Scion tC is one of the best in the business.
Read the rest of this entry »
Car Review: 2014 KIA Sorento EX AWD
The redesigned Sorento that is built in Georgia has come out of the gate with fanfare and strong sales. The Sorento delivers an impressive roster of premium features and amenities that impressed us throughout our week of testing.
In a segment more often known for bland utility, the new 2014 Sorento sports dynamic and sophisticated design elements, inside and out. Redesigned front and rear fascias enhance the Sorento’s road presence with a lower, broader appearance up front and a visually wider stance at the rear. The ubiquitous Kia tiger-nose grille is enhanced with an anodized silver metal or black mesh appearance, and the lower valance has been opened to expose an aggressive cross-hatched maw. Front LED positioning lamps create dramatic eyebrows, while projector-style headlights peer from behind tapered clear lenses. Available fog lights on all trim models have been upended and pushed to the far corners of the front bumper for better forward and side visibility. Horizontally positioned rear LED combination lamps embrace the turn signal and back-up lights, emitting a warm corona that makes the 2014 Sorento instantly recognizable from behind. Our Sorento EX AWD sported 18-inch alloy wheels, but there are also 17-inch and, a first for Kia’s best-selling CUV, larger 19-inch wheels. The look of the 2014 KIA Sorento EX AWD resembles some higher end CUVs, but still establishes her own presence with a sophisticated and modern design.
There is elegance everywhere in the 2014 KIA Sorento EX AWD, and we took notice from the time we stepped in the cabin. A redesigned instrument panel deftly combines technology with proven ergonomics. Standard on EX and optionally available on the LX trim, the large center gauge cluster features a 7-inch TFT LCD that projects a digital speedometer flanked by easy-to-read analog instruments for the tachometer, fuel level and engine temp. The TFT LCD readout also displays trip and vehicle information, along with navigation updates. The center stack’s appearance and layout has been modernized and button positions have been rearranged for a more user-friendly experience.
The new design also provides room for Kia’s new, larger touch screen. Diagonally spanning eight inches, the optional screen on our test model integrates navigation, SiriusXM Traffic with real-time road information updates, a premium Infinity audio system, SiruisXM Satellite Radio, Bluetooth hands-free connectivity, vehicle settings and UVO eServices, Kia’s next generation of infotainment and telematics. Other new available features in the 2014 Sorento include Kia’s first-ever programmable power liftgate, a redesigned and enormous panoramic sunroof with a one piece power-operated shade, integrated second row sliding sunshades, available dual ventilated air-cooled front seats, a 115-volt power inverter and illuminated door handle pockets. Our beige leather seats were first class and provided heated seats that you could not place a dollar value on in zero degree Ohio temperatures!
Read the rest of this entry »