USA Today ranks Kia Forte #1 in “Compact Car Challenge”

November 21st, 2013 by


On November 11, 2013, USA Today print edition had a competitive comparison article for vehicles under $20K in the Compact Car Segment. The competitive comparison was conducted by, USA Today and Motorweek. Seven compact cars were tested including:

  • Ford Focus
  • Honda Civic
  • Hyundai Elantra
  • Kia Forte
  • Nissan Sentra
  • Subaru Impreza
  • Toyota Corolla

Of the seven vehicles tested, the Kia Forte ranked #1. The Forte won because of its styling, standard features, seat comfort, ride and handling and overall value. Here is an excerpt of the actual article which can be found here:

2014 Kia Forte

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The latest, USA TODAY and MotorWeek Challenge set out to find the best compact car a budget-conscious buyer can get for a modest price with good gas mileage. We set a cap of $20,000 with shipping and required an EPA combined mileage rating of at least 28 miles per gallon.

The contenders: Toyota Corolla. Kia Forte, Hyundai Elantra, Nissan Sentra, Honda Civic, Ford Focus, Subaru Impreza.

The three days of testing: A day of Baltimore-area driving on a 200-mile route, rotating drivers, to get real-world gas mileage. A day of experts driving the cars back-to-back. A day in which the makers briefed the consumer judge before she drove each.

The scoring: Experts’ combined scores: 75% of total; consumer judge scores: 15%; fuel-economy rank: 10%.

And the winner is …

2014 Kia Forte LX

NO. 1 — 2014 KIA FORTE LX

• Points: 780 out of 1,000
• Price with shipping: $19,100, as tested
• Gas mileage test: No. 3 at 34.65 mpg (EPA: 25 city, 36 highway, 29 combined)

• Key features: All-new for 2014; Eco mode; IIHS Top Safety Pick/NHTSA four-star; best warranty (tied with Elantra: 5 years/60,000 miles bumper-to-bumper, 10 years/100,000 miles powertrain, 5 years/60,000 miles roadside assistance); USB/Bluetooth with streaming audio, satellite radio; alloy wheels (one of two); 60/40 split-folding backseat with trunk release

• What they liked: Why did the Forte win? Styling, for one thing. “It stands out,” Geiger said, “in a good way. Its dynamic exterior styling gives it an edge among conservatively styled competitors.” Features. “The Forte vies with the Elantra in terms of many interior options and standard features at this price,” Jackson said. Interior design. “The interior is sporty yet simple, with nice materials, and it’s not overdesigned,” Meier said. “The echoed curves in the dash and door panels are a nice touch.” The seats. Robinson called the seats “some of the most comfortable” in the Challenge. Competent handling, ride. “The ride and handling are excellent. (It was) second only to the Focus in driving fun and chassis sophistication,” Bragman said. The Forte’s ride and handling mix also was a winner for Robinson, who thought it was “better than most recent Kias.” A gas-saving Eco mode that you actually want to use. “The Eco mode doesn’t seem to affect drivability,” said Bragman.

• Bottom line: “The Forte wins the Challenge for me with its good looks and mix of features,” Jackson said, “and by being more understated than the Hyundai.”