If you look at the Kia Forte on the market in 2018, you might not see a need for major improvements. After all, few compact cars can boast of a Top Safety Pick+ award and above-average reliability.
Yet Kia didn’t sit pat, and the automaker will deliver an all-new Forte for the 2019 model year. More space, improved technology, and better fuel economy are all part of this redesign. Here’s everything you need to know about the third-generation Forte.
1. Stinger-inspired styling
If you compare the 2019 model to the outgoing Forte, you’ll notice more heft in the back end, hood creases, and other athletic styling cues. In the back, you’ll find a shorter trunk that enhances its fastback appearance.
Overall, it borrows considerably from the Stinger sport sedan, which is the automaker’s top design product. This approach to the compact Forte works.
2. Same engine, new transmission
The 2.0-liter engine (147 horsepower) engine will return for 2019, but the transmission is new. This time around, Kia developed what the automaker calls an “intelligent variable transmission,” or IVT.
The plan was to make acceleration smoother while reducing noise, so we’ll see how the finished product turns out. At least in its press releases, Kia seems happy with the result. Meanwhile, the manual transmission will return with the new model.
3. The fuel economy boost
A by-product of the new transmission is improved fuel economy. According to a Kia statement, the 2019 model will reach 35 mpg combined in the LX trim. That would represent an impressive 3 mpg jump over the outgoing model.
If Kia delivers on that (and the EPA verifies it in testing), it would make Forte the most efficient car in the compact class beside the Prius hybrid.
4. More space, a stronger foundation
The 2019 Forte doesn’t just look bigger; it gained 3.2 inches in length, bringing more legroom and trunk space (15.1 cubic inches) with it. It also gained a shade more headroom and grew 0.7 inches wider.
Meanwhile, Kia made Forte’s tough foundation even tougher. The new model will feature stronger seat frames and 54% high-strength steel. LED and projector lights aim to land the 2019 edition another Top Safety Pick+ award. Advanced crash-prevention technology will be available.
5. Tech upgrades
Since interior tech is a big selling point for compact car consumers, you had to expect more for 2019. On that front, Kia will deliver an 8-inch color touchscreen, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay standard.
An available wireless charging tray and 320-watt Harmon Kardon sound system allow for the potential for buyers to customize the interior. With certain smartphones, drivers can listen to texts read aloud through Bluetooth.
6. Release details
The 2019 Forte sedan will arrive in dealerships across the U.S. by the fall, with the hatch (Forte5) following later. In late August, Kia will host a few dozen journalists in Pittsburgh for a drive event, so we’ll start getting performance notes then.
From the looks of things, the Korean automaker is about to bring consumers more of a good thing with its new compact sedan.