• New Forte is roomier and more refined
  • Fuel economy improves while horsepower stays the same
  • Advanced safety features will be available


Update: You can now read our first review of the 2019 Kia Forte

Unveiled at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show, the new 2019 Kia Forte is designed to be more sophisticated and more refined than its forebears, with new styling, more upscale amenities and improved comfort. All of this is intended to move the Forte away from the idea that it is purely a commuter car. In addition, improvements increase the Forte’s fuel economy, as well as upping the amount of available legroom and trunk space.

Stinger styling cues

The design of the new Forte will still be familiar to those who know the model, but Kia’s compact sedan has been given styling cues that were inspired by the Stinger sports sedan, including a fastback-like shape. The shape is more muscular and athletic, and the overall effect gives the Forte a bit more attitude than it had in the past. LED taillights are available, and reside near a trunk that can now accommodate 15.1 cubic feet of cargo. The Forte is 3.2 inches longer, 0.7 inch wider, and nearly half an inch taller, and rides on a significantly improved version of the 2018 Forte’s platform.

That added size means both the trunk and the interior had room to grow. The 2019 Forte has more legroom than in past models, and headroom has increased as well. The interior has been redone, now with more soft touch material and a standard 8-inch color touch screen. The button layout was created to be minimalist, uncluttered, and those buttons reside just below the screen. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility come standard. Wireless smartphone charging and a 320-watt Harman Kardon sound system are available.

The seats have been redone with strong, lightweight frames, and have denser seat foam and more lumbar support to improve comfort on longer drives. The interior is designed to be quieter than in past models. On the safety side, Kia’s Advanced Driver Assistance Systems safety suite is available. It includes lane-keeping assist, blind-spot warning, forward collision avoidance assist, and smart cruise control.

Under the Hood

While horsepower and torque numbers are expected to remain unchanged–about 147 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque–the second generation of the 2.0-liter engine, an Atkinson Cycle 4-cylinder with a cooled EGR system, is designed with increased fuel economy in mind. You can choose from a 6-speed manual or what Kia calls its Intelligent Variable Transmission. The IVT is similar to a conventional CVT, except in this case, the IVT uses an adaptive shift logic and a chain-type belt instead of a push belt to reduce some of the “rubber-band” feel of some CVTs. This gives the IVT a more natural shift feel. Kia predicts fuel economy will be around 35 mpg combined, an improvement of about 3 mpg over the current Forte. The drivetrain is the first in a line of what Kia calls “Smart Stream” powertrains that are expected to be integrated into other Kia vehicles in the future.

The 2019 Forte will go on sale later this year, and official EPA ratings and pricing will be announced closer to the on-sale date.

2019 Kia Forte Exterior and Interior Pics


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