The anticipated Kia compact sedan, the Forte Sedan, has debut at the 2018 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). The 2019 Forte enters its third generation with a more sophisticated design and desirable features that transforms one of Kia’s best-selling vehicles into something more than a compact car meant for getting people from one point to another.
The Forte has evolved with a number of visual and feature enhancements, inside and out. The cabin is now more comfortable and “class above,” and integrates new driver assistance technology. In addition, the Forte ups its MPG game with an all-new powertrain that utilizes Kia’s first IVT, set to deliver an estimated 35 MPG combined.
Standard features and desirable amenities in the compact sedan segment continue to be available across three trims: LX, S and EX.
Kia Forte Sedan: Sophisticated Yet Sporty Design
Inspired by the Stinger fastback sport sedan, the Forte takes up a long hood and short deck for a fastback-like shape. The cowl point was moved back five inches, creating a more athletic stance that makes the Forte appear well-planted to the ground.
Creases in the hood contribute to the Forte’s muscular appearance and distinctive design traits on the front fascia, including a fresh approach to Kia’s signature tiger nose grille and an aggressive black lower valance, enhance its presence and individual character. The front clip is flanked by a Stinger-esque headlight design and layout. Other highlights include separate turn signal indicators, mounted below on the front bumper.
Around back, the rear bumper gets the same treatment with separate reverse and turn signal indicators located beneath available LED taillights. Similar to the Sportage compact crossover, a sleek horizontal trim piece connects the taillights.
Overall length has increased by 3.2 inches to 182.7 inches, allowing for more legroom and additional cargo in the trunk. With 15.1 cu.-ft., cargo room is among the largest in the segment and generous enough to accommodate gear for a group of friends on a road trip or a growing family managing a busy schedule. Additional headroom results from increasing the overall height nearly a half inch to 56.7 inches, while the overall width has grown to 70.8 inches.
While the extra 0.7 inches of width may not be noticeable to the naked eye, the layout of the dashboard paints a picture of a wide interior space.
A horizontal theme creates a sense of openness and avoids clutter with clean lines and minimal buttons that are intuitively placed below an 8-inch color touchscreen. Along with an aeronautically-inspired spoked circular vents, standard infotainment features, a wireless charging tray and more, the new Forte Sedan is an updated compact sedan, to say the least. Another welcome and surprising feature in this segment is an available 320-watt premium sound system developed with Harman Kardon that pumps out music through a unique speaker hole pattern on the door panels and throughout the cabin.
Under the hood
Housed underneath the Forte’s longer hood is a second-generation 2.0-liter Nu four-cylinder engine that benefits from Atkinson Cycle technology and a cooled EGR system. Paired with either a six-speed manual or Kia’s all-new Intelligent Variable Transmission (IVT), the engine and in-house-built IVT are the first of a new line of highly efficient “Smart Stream” powertrains that will make their way into the Kia lineups in the future.
Horsepower and torque are expected to remain unchanged from the 2018 Forte, delivering an estimated 147 HP and 132 lb.-ft. of torque. E
Building upon an already solid structure that helped the current 2018 Forte sedan achieve an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick Plus rating, the new 2019 Forte strengthens its bones with additional hot-stamped components and 54 percent Advanced High-Strength Steel. The new Forte offers projection or full LED headlights and is targeted to receive the highest ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and IIHS.
Kia’s suite of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS)[ix] offered in many of the automaker’s more expensive vehicles make their way down into the Forte, making it an even more value-laden option for cost-conscious shoppers. In addition to Blind-Spot Collision Warning (BCW)9 and Lane Keeping Assist (LKA)9, the new Forte is available with Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA)9 and Smart Cruise Control (SCC).