Good design can’t be translated unless the build quality and materials are first rate. The Forte sedan and Forte5 hatchback showcase this philosophy and display designer Peter Schreyer’s vision for compact models.
Previously standard 156-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder base engine is relegated to optional status for sedans; new 148-horsepower 1.8-liter four-cylinder is the new starting point; Forte5 hatchback runs with the 2.0, or a 201-horsepower 1.6-liter turbo option.
The Forte for 2014 has become fashionably sophisticated when it used to be play-it-safe conservative. That’s even more apparent when it comes to the new Forte5 hatch that followed the sedan’s 2013 calendar-year launch by a few months. Dialed back somewhat, though, is the Forte’s power. The new base 1.8-liter engine pumps out 148 horsepower and 131 pound-feet of torque, while the optional 2.0-liter four-cylinder produces 173 horsepower and 154 pound-feet of torque. For Forte5 buyers, the 2.0 is standard while a turbocharged 1.6-liter four cylinder is optional. It spools out 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission, or optional six-speed automatic can be connected to all three powerplants. Spending time aboard the Forte or Forte5 will prove comforting for passengers and especially pleasing for the driver who faces a clearly legible, intuitively laid-out dashboard and control panel. He or she also has command over the level of steering effort with the Forte’s optional Flex Steer system. With it, the electric power steering can be adjusted to Comfort, Normal and Sport settings, with the latter offering the least amount of assist. Of the Forte’s two trim levels, the starting-point LX leans to the simpler side of the ledger with its smaller engine, 15-inch steel wheels, basic audio system and the lack of cruise control and a keyless remote entry button on the fob. Move up to the EX (the starting point on the Forte5) and along with adding the LX’s missing items, you can count on dual-zone climate control, a Microsoft-powered infotainment system, backup camera, glove-box cooler and 16-inch alloy wheels. Oh, and the optional 2.0-liter four-cylinder is also an EX staple. The Forte5 SX adds the turbo, along with plenty of convenience content, but can only be had with the six-speed stick.
Available options include navigation, power sunroof, heated front seats and steering wheel, 10-way power driver’s seat, 17-inch wheels and high-intensity-discharge (HID) headlights.
Base price (incl. destination): $16,800 (sedan); $20,000 (est., Forte5)
Type: Four-door, front-wheel-drive compact sedan/hatchback
Base engine (hp): 1.8-liter DOHC I4 (148)
Optional engines (hp): 2.0-liter DOHC I4 (173); 1.6-liter DOHC I4, turbocharged (201)
Layout: Front-engine, front-wheel-drive
Transmissions: six-speed manual; six-speed automatic (opt.)
MPG (city/hwy): 27/37 (1.8, AT)
Safety: Front airbags; side-impact airbags; side-curtain airbags; anti-lock brakes; traction control; stability control
Weight (lb.): 2,740