For the 10 years it has been around, the Kia Forte has already established itself in the affordable compact sedan market segment. The Forte is among the best-selling Kia Cars in the U.S. Within that short period, Kia has debuted two generations of the model and the automaker is now set to release the third for the 2019 model year. The 2019 Kia Forte has been overhauled and it follows the design cues of other recent Kia models. Overall, the new model looks sportier (derives inspiration for the exterior styling from the Stinger sedan) and has a chic cabin.
2019 Kia Forte Exterior
As said above, the new Forte looks sportier and several exterior touches inspired by the Kia Stinger are clearly evident, particularly on the front fascia. The most recognizable feature borrowed from the Stinger is the “tiger-nose” grille that has a narrower center and angular edges. The headlamps are also new; they are not connected to the model’s grille like on the current Forte. The new headlights become slimmer as they approach the fenders which add to the sporty look. The bumper has a larger vent at the center that integrates fog lights; also, the side intakes are larger.
The flanks have a clean design similar to the outgoing model but its beltline is rather straight unlike the outgoing model’s which ascends from the front toward the rear. The window trim looks more asymmetrical while its quarter window has a Hofmeister Kink-like feature.
The rear fascia is also new but is not inspired by the Stinger like the front fascia. Its taillights look sleeker with their unique LED layout. The bumper has triangular-shaped vents on the sides. The rear fascia also has a diffuser-like element and a single exhaust tip. The trunk lid has a small spoiler as well as a horizontal strip that appears to link the taillights like on the Sportage SUV.
In terms of size, the 2019 Kia Forte is 3.5 inches longer, 0.7 inches wider and 0.5 inches taller.
The cabin has also been revamped to take up a more upscale look. Unlike the outgoing model’s dash, the new one is more compact and has a two-tier design with a chrome trim that makes the cabin look wider. Control knobs and buttons are set far apart which has enhanced the model’s ergonomics. The infotainment screen has been enlarged (8.0-inches) and is mounted higher on the dash. The screen is flanked by new circular A/C vents that make the interior look modern and sporty. There is also a new steering wheel with a silver lower spoke and redesigned controls on its upper spokes. The instrument cluster display that slots between the rev counter and speedometer is larger.
Benefits of its increase in size are realized in the cabin where the roof is slightly higher which has enhanced headroom and has slightly increased passenger space. Its cargo space rating of 15.1 cubic feet with rear seats in position is impressive.
Kia has also upped the Forte’s bundle of technologies. The model has wireless charging, AppleCarPlay, Android Auto and a premium sound system (a 320-watt Harman Kardon audio system is an option for those who intend to turn the Forte into a mobile disco).
The new platform has enabled Kia to add more Advanced Driver Assists Systems (ADAS), a previous preserve of more expensive Kia models. The Forte features Lane Keep Assist, and Blind-Spot Monitoring as standard; Forward-Collision Avoidance Assist as well as Smart Cruise Control are optional.
Engine and Performance
Well, after revising the Forte’s platform, Kia saw it wise to offer an enhanced engine as well as a new transmission system. The model uses a revised version of the 2.0 L, 4-cylinder Atkinson-cycle mill; the mill still produces 147 hp like the outgoing model. However, the model will feature a new IVT automatic transmission system; IVT stands for (Intelligent Variable Transmission). The system was designed to overcome challenges of the CVT system. The system uses adaptive shift logic and a chain-type belt instead of CVT’s push belt. The new system offers a smooth, linear acceleration, a step-shift-like feel and a sportier driving experience.
The 6-speed manual gearbox in the current model carries over unchanged to give those buyers who desire more control an alternative. The new engine when paired with the IVT system returns better fuel economy with a rating of 35 mpg on combined drives (3 mpg better than the outgoing model). The IVT system is likely to be featured in other Kia vehicles in the coming future.
Price and release date
Kia has not disclosed the new 2019 Kia Forte prices but due to the new changes, the Forte will likely feature a mild price hike. Expect around $17,500 for the base LX trim (current model starts at $16,500). The EX trim may attract around $20,000 while the range-topping EX could attract around $22,500. The 2019 Ka Forte sales will commence later this year.