Third-gen Kia Forte debuts at Detroit

Kia Forte 21

Kia has unveiled the 2019 Kia Forte after teasing us with renderings just a few days ago, and clearly the resemblance to the sporty Stinger is noticeable. The tiger grille is the most prominent resemblance between the two, with the long-ish slope of a fastback with short bootlid reinforcing the same profile.

That fastback roof apparently also gave engineers the chance to increase cabin space. Having said that, overall length of the car is up by 81mm to 4,640mm and 12.7 increase of overall height to 1,440mm. Width is now 1,798mm, up by 17.7mm.

Kia Forte 17

The shell itself is stringer than the car it replaces using more hot-stamped components and 54 per cent more Advanced High-Strength Steel. Reportedly the body-in-white is stiffer by 16 per cent. Kia Motors America, which hosted the unveil at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) 2018, expects the car to receive the highest rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and IIHS.

For safety, the third-generation Kia Forte comes with Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) namely Blind-Spot Collision Warning (BCW), Lane-Keeping Assist (LKA), Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA), and Smart Cruise Control (SCC). The latter is essentially active cruise control where the Forte will follow the vehicle in front at a certain distance set by the driver.

Kia Forte 7

Inside, there is an 8-inch touchscreen surrounded by a more simple, clutter-less dashboard with minimal lines. Air-cond vents are circular, inspired by aeronautical design. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is standard, with the system able to read out SMS texts aloud through Bluetooth. Extra convenience comes from the wireless charging tray at the centre stack, compatible with Android devices as well as iPhone 8 and iPhone X phones.

Kia Forte 9

Entertainment comes from a Harman Kardon 320-watt sound system.

Power comes from a second-generation 2.0-litre Nu four-cylinder engine that makes 147hp and 179Nm of torque. It is also an Atkinson cycle engine with a cooled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system to help increase efficiency. To this aspect, Kia claims an estimated return of 35MPG (6.7L/100km).

Kia Forte 1

This is based on a 2.0-litre engine with Kia’s new CVT gearbox they call Intelligent Variable Transmission (IVT). This gearbox was developed internally and replaces the previous automatic gearbox, and are first in a new line of highly efficient “Smart Stream” powertrains making their way into the company’s product line-up.

IVT is designed to offer a smoother and more linear acceleration using a chain-type belt instead of push belt. Wide open throttle it is said to perform more like a conventional auto. This new gearbox is quieter by 5dB too although this also has got to do with the fact that the transmission case is wrapped in a sound insulation cover.

Kia Forte 13

The other gearbox option is a six-speed manual.

The single engine option Kia Forte will be made available in the US market in three trims: LX, S, and EX.