According to Michael Sprague, Kia Motors America executive vp for Marketing and Communications, the Forte is targeted at people—it skews male—who are in their late 20s and early 30s earning from $50,000 to $70,000 per year.
Note the use of lighting on this compact car. While front LEDs had been the battleground, it is now being fought on the back as well.
For the EX trim (there is an entry LX, too) there is an all-aluminum in-line four with gasoline direct injection (GDI). It produces 173 hp and 154 lb-ft. of torque.
When & Where
Two by two
One of Kia’s great successes is its West Point, Georgia, manufacturing facility. Another of the great successes is the Sorento crossover, which is produced in the plant. According to Autodata, Kia sold 119,597 Sorentos in the U.S. in 2012. The current generation model appeared in at the start of 2010, so as Steve Hirashiki, senior product Strategy Manager, Kia Motors America, puts it, “From a lifecycle perspective, this is a face lift.” But he goes on to note that from an execution perspective, “80% of the parts are new or significantly changed.” This includes a platform redesign. Key cross members were reinforced. They’re using 25% ultrahigh tensile strength steel for the ’14 Sorento. Because of the platform redesign, they were able to redesign the suspension: whole it is still Macpherson in the front and a multilink in the rear, the components, bushing size and mounting points have all been changed to provide better ride and handling and straight-line stability. The strut towers have been strengthened to provide more rigidity. There is a stiffer H-shaped subcradle. Overall, there is an 18% increase in torsional rigidity.
Outside, the designers at the Kia design center in Irvine, California, redesigned the front and rear fascias, working to provide a more-horizontal, more-planted appearance. As is now typical for Kia products, LEDs are used for the positioning lamps in the front and the combination lamps in the rear. The CUV has three trim levels. The LX rides on 17-in. wheels, the EX on 18-in. wheels, and the SX on 19-in. wheels; this is the first time 19-in. wheels have been available on the Sorento.
There are two engines. The standard engine on the entry LX trim is an all-aluminum 2.4-liter four that provides 191 hp @ 6,300 rpm and 181 lb-ft of torque @ 4,250 rpm. The rest of the models get an all-aluminum 3.3-liter V6 that produces 290 hp @ 6,400 rpm and 252 lb-ft. of torque @ 5,200 rpm. Both models feature gasoline direct injection.
As has been the case with the Sorento, they’re using a Magna Powertrain-developed (magna.com) Dynamax all-wheel-drive system that provides enhanced torque on demand. The system can provide torque to the front wheels, all four wheels, or to whatever wheel has traction. In addition to which, the system has been enhanced to provide “Torque Vector Cornering Control,” which provides stability when going through tight turns by modifying the wheel torque as required.
The 2014 Sorento is a refresh. But it has not only new front and rear fascias, but the whole platform undergirding has been redesigned.