Latest NHTSA Crash Tests Yield Mixed Results

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Of a dozen 2013 and 2014 models vying for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's five-star safety club in the latest round of testing, less than half made the cut. NHTSA's crash tests examine vehicles' safety performance in frontal and side collisions, as well as roof strength in rollover accidents.

Both the 2014 Buick Regal with eAssist and Verano front-wheel-drive sedans made the grade. The Regal received fours in both frontal and rollover ratings and a five in side-collision tests for an overall score of five. The Verano, also finishing with an overall score of five, received fives in both frontal and side collisions, and a four in rollover tests.

By Matt Schmitz | September 17, 2013 | Comments (6)

What Hyundai-Kia's Latest Strike Means to Car Shoppers

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Hyundai-Kia's troubled home-turf labor relations continue. The latest chapter has Korean labor unions voting to strike over wage and benefit disputes with the South Korean automaker. The result could mean a production stoppage in its home country.

Hyundai-Kia, which together rank fifth in global sales, is the sixth on the U.S. sales pole, with year-to-date sales down 0.3%. Still, the automaker builds popular cars like the Hyundai Elantra and Sonata, as well as the Kia Optima and Soul. All four rank in the top 35 best-sellers so far this year — and although the automaker operates two assembly plants in the U.S., all Soul and a significant chunk of Optima, Elantra and Sonata vehicles hail from South Korea. A production stoppage could hamstring dealer supply in a matter of weeks.

By Kelsey Mays | August 15, 2013 | Comments (1)

2014 Kia Forte: Stylish and Affordable, but Is It Safe?

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Kia's redesigned-for-2014 Forte impressed the Cars.com editorial staff during a head-to-head test against the benchmark Honda Civic, but in terms of safety, the compact sedan gets no love.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration just announced that the 2014 Forte earned an overall score of four out of five stars. The sedan earned just three stars in front tests, five stars in side testing and a four-star rollover rating.

The Forte fared even worse in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing. Last week, the IIHS announced that the Forte failed the small front overlap test — the agency's newest and toughest test that simulates a crash where the front corner of the vehicle hits a smaller object like a tree or pole at 40 mph.

By Jennifer Geiger | August 12, 2013 | Comments (8)

IIHS Tests 12 Compact Cars: Six Pass, Six Fail

A half-dozen compact cars have earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's Top Safety Pick+ honor, the nonprofit vehicle-safety advocacy group announced today. Of the 12 models evaluated, top awardees included the two- and four-door versions of the 2013 Honda Civic, 2013 Dodge Dart, 2013 Ford Focus, 2013 Hyundai Elantra and 2014 Scion tC. All of these received Good or Acceptable ratings overall in five different crash tests.

Six other cars — the 2013 Chevrolet Sonic, 2013 Chevrolet Cruze, 2013 Volkswagen Beetle, 2013 Nissan Sentra, 2013 Kia Soul and 2014 Kia Forte — earned Marginal or Poor ratings. "In some cases dummies' heads struck hard structures like the windshield pillar and instrument panel," IIHS media relations associate Kristin Nevels said in a statement.

By Matt Schmitz | August 8, 2013 | Comments (8)

2014 Kia Forte: Car Seat Check

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Thanks to its redesign, the 2014 Kia Forte sedan is now longer and wider than the previous generation. While that translates into a little more legroom — up 0.9 inch to 35.9 inches — it doesn't mean three child-safety seats can fit across this compact sedan.

By Jennifer Newman | July 2, 2013 | Comments (0)

2013 Honda Civic Versus 2014 Kia Forte

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Our long-term Honda Civic is getting much more use this summer as competitors flow into our test fleet. While a few may have grumbled about us pitting the redesigned 2013 Civic against the outgoing and outdated 2013 Toyota Corolla, they shouldn't have much to complain about with us pitting it against the even more thoroughly overhauled 2014 Kia Forte.

Follow Our Long-Term Test Fleet

However, there was a bit of a disparity this time around too. Our Forte test car was a fully loaded EX trim with a 173-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder. The base Forte comes with a 148-hp, 1.8-liter four-cylinder that is more comparable to the Civic's 140-hp, 1.8-liter four-cylinder, the car's only engine apart from the hybrid and Si versions.

If the engine wasn't a big enough difference, the nearly $6,000 bump in the Forte's MSRP and all the associated goodies arguably didn't make for a fair fight. Would the results of driving the two be as one-sided as the numbers implied? Editors David Thomas and Joe Wiesenfelder took the two on a loop of city, suburban and highway driving to find out.

By David Thomas | June 19, 2013 | Comments (30)

What's the Most Affordable Compact Sedan?

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Car shoppers want a long list of features in a new car, even if that car is a compact sedan that starts around $16,000. That starting price usually doesn't include what many consider "must-have" features — chief among them an automatic transmission.

We took 11 compact sedans and looked at their prices when equipped with the following features:

  • Automatic transmission
  • Cruise control
  • USB input
  • Remote entry
  • Tilt/telescoping steering wheel
  • Steering-wheel audio controls

It may seem like a simple search, but if you're looking at a new Nissan Sentra, Dodge Dart or Volkswagen Jetta, you'll need to know the specific trim level, options and option packages to ensure you won't regret not having that one missing feature.

We took those as-equipped prices and then added five years of fuel costs to come up with the most affordable compact sedan on the market.

Having recently purchased our long-term Honda Civic that has all of these features in a base model, we thought it had a good shot of scoring well here. But the results were somewhat surprising, especially in terms of what car was No. 1.

By David Thomas | May 8, 2013 | Comments (15)

Cars.com Family Reviews the 2013 Kia Forte 5-Door

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The 2013 Kia Forte 5-Door delivers a lot of bang for the buck, making it a good choice for small families looking to stretch their budget, says Cars.com Family reviewer Carrie Kim. This five-seat hatchback is lacking in the looks department with a design that seems too basic for the fun-loving Kia brand. Looks aside, Carrie found the Forte 5-Door to be a good fit for hauling her toddler and all her gear.

2013 Kia Forte 5-Door Family Review

By Jennifer Newman | April 10, 2013 | Comments (1)

2014 Kia Forte Koup: Photo Gallery

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The sedan and hatchback versions of Kia's compact Forte were redesigned for 2014; a new coupe, or Koup in Kia lingo, also joins the roster this year. The new Forte Koup mirrors its siblings' newfound flashy styling, fitting right into the lineup.

More 2013 New York Auto Show Coverage

Base EX and sporty SX models are available. The EX uses a 173-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder; uplevel SX versions get a little more oomph from a 201-hp, turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder. Check out the gallery below. Cars.com photos by Evan Sears. 

By Jennifer Geiger | March 27, 2013 | Comments (0)

Most-Read Car Reviews of the Week

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Yet again this week, no competitor coming up the hill was hungry enough to wrestle Toyota's ravenous RAV4 from its perch atop our most-read reviews list. But with four newcomers to this week's list — including a trio of 2014 entries — the 2013 version of the RAV4 may face some formidable competition in coming weeks. The 2014 Mazda6 and 2014 Subaru Forester burst onto the most-read-reviews scene in second and third place, respectively, while the 2014 Kia Forte waded in at No. 10. The remaining newcomer this week, the 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid, landed in eighth place.

Check out what was popular this week:

1. 2013 Toyota RAV4
2. 2014 Mazda6
3. 2014 Subaru Forester
4. 2013 Ford Fusion
5. 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport
6. 2013 Ford Explorer
7. 2013 Ford Escape
8. 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid
9. 2013 Nissan Pathfinder
10. 2014 Kia Forte
By Matt Schmitz | February 9, 2013 | Comments (1)

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