Some­thing for ev­ery­one

Pi­o­neer­ing cars like Nis­san’s 300ZX carved a path ‘to­ward a mod­ern per­for­mance fu­ture’

Annapolis Valley Register - - NEWS - BY JUSTIN PRITCHARD WHEELS

Model: 2014-18 Kia Forte Ve­hi­cle type: Sedan/coupe/ 5-door

His­tory/ de­scrip­tion: With plenty of choice and af­ford­able pric­ing, the Kia Forte lineup turned in pleas­ing looks, great fea­ture con­tent, good driving dy­nam­ics and var­i­ous pow­er­train op­tions for shop­pers af­ter a cheer­ful small car.

All in all, this one’s a com­pelling com­pact car lineup with some­thing for vir­tu­ally any shop­per.

Fea­ture con­tent in­cluded heated and chilled leather and one of the eas­i­est-to-use nav­i­ga­tions and cen­tral com­mand sys­tems in the busi­ness.

The Forte was avail­able in four-door Sedan, two-door coupe (Koup) and five- door Forte 5 vari­a­tions. Cross shop this one against ma­chines like the Chevro­let Cruze, Ford Focus, Dodge Dart, and Mazda 3.

En­gines in­cluded two- litre four- cylin­der, a 1.6- litre turbo four-cylin­der, and a 1.8-litre four­cylin­der. Six-speed au­to­matic or man­ual trans­mis­sions were avail­able.

What own­ers like: Many own­ers say a good blend of fea- ture con­tent, driving dy­nam­ics and a solid, well-built feel helped draw them in. Per­for­mance is pleas­ing from the higher- end en­gine op­tions and fun-to-drive han­dling is also noted.

What own­ers dislike: Many own­ers wish for slightly bet­ter fuel econ­omy and a less ar­ti­fi­cial feel to the throt­tle. Oth­ers long for a richer and more up­scale feel to the cabin, which may use too many low-bud­get ma­te­ri­als for some tastes.

The test drive: Check for a pop­ping or snap­ping sound when ap­ply­ing steer­ing in­put by park­ing the ve­hi­cle and work­ing the steer­ing fully from one side to the other, sev­eral times and at var­i­ous speeds.

A de­tectable pop or snap sen­sa­tion likely in­di­cates the need to ser­vice or re­place one or both front strut mounts, likely be­cause of a crack or frac­ture to a plas­tic com­po­nent within.

Run the cen­tral com­mand in­ter­face through its paces, en­gag­ing all func­tions, in­clud­ing the backup cam­era, sev­eral times.

If the sys­tem fails to work prop­erly, it may re­quire a hard re­set, which you can do your­self in sec­onds, for free. If this doesn’t fix any is­sues with non-func­tion­al­ity, the en­tire head-unit may need to be re­placed, which can be pricey.

For max­i­mum long-term per­for­mance and trou­ble-free op­er­a­tion, triple-check to en­sure the seller specif­i­cally fol­lowed the oil- change in­struc­tions in the owner’s man­ual, us­ing only ap­proved oil and fil­ters, and that they never skipped or stretched an oil change.

Check all ser­vice records to con­firm con­tin­ual and con­sis­tent oil changes, not­ing that even one skipped oil change can void re­main­ing war­ranty cov­er­age.

I dug up another slightly-wor­ri­some is­sue around main­te­nance in a Kia Forte owner’s fo­rum. Some own­ers ques­tion the need for reg­u­lar main­te­nance, ask­ing their fel­low own­ers if they re­ally need to have fac­tory-pre­scribed main­te­nance items per­formed, or if a simple oil change is suf­fi­cient.

Avoid buy­ing a used Forte from an owner who con­sid­ered on­go­ing main­te­nance to be op­tional. Buy­ing from some­one who has con­vinced them­selves to skip sched­uled main­te­nance is a great way to wind up with headaches down the line, and with a ve­hi­cle whose re­main­ing war­ranty cov­er­age is voided.

Some Forte’s may have been de­liv­ered from the fac­tory an in­suf­fi­cient re­frig­er­ant charge to the air con­di­tioner sys­tem, which can cause weak AC per­for­mance. The solution here is to have a tech­ni­cian drain and re­fill the re­frig­er­ant. This may be covered by war­ranty.

Note that a clogged cabin air fil­ter is another lead­ing cause of air con­di­tion­ing per­for­mance is­sues. If the AC in the Forte you’re con­sid­er­ing seems weak, start by con­firm­ing that the cabin air fil­ter isn’t plugged.

Fi­nally, note that a di­ag­nos­tic scan per­formed by your favourite tech­ni­cian is ideal ahead of your pur­chase to help un­cover po­ten­tial prob­lems with the Forte’s driv­e­line elec­tron­ics and other sys­tems.

This scan is cheap, fast, and highly ef­fec­tive in re­veal­ing is­sues that may be con­cealed, re­lat­ing to sen­sors, wiring and other prob­lems.

Have this scan per­formed whether or not a “check-en­gine” light is il­lu­mi­nated: it’s one of the best ways to pro­tect your­self from buy­ing some­one else’s prob­lems.

The ver­dict: At this point, Forte looks to be free of wide­spread or ma­jor con­cerns, and find­ing a good used unit will mainly be a func­tion of en­sur­ing that model was care­fully treated to proper and on­go­ing reg­u­lar main­te­nance. A healthy used Forte looks like a con­fi­dent used-car buy that won’t break the bank.

TODD GIL­LIS PHO­TOS

Kia Forte own­ers re­port a good blend of fea­ture con­tent, strong driving dy­nam­ics and a solid, well-built feel. Pic­tured is a 2014 Kia Forte.

Forte en­gines for 2014-18 mod­els in­cluded a two-litre four-cylin­der, a 1.6litre turbo four-cylin­der and a 1.8-litre four-cylin­der. Six-speed au­to­matic or man­ual trans­mis­sions were avail­able.

The Forte of­fers a good blend of fea­ture con­tent, driving dy­nam­ics and a solid, well-built feel.

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