Kia Motors America revealed during the press preview for the North American International Auto Show an all-new the third generation Forte, which the South Korean automaker’s executives described as more comfortable, more fuel-efficient and equipped with more sophisticated technology in the compact segment.
The 2019 Kia Forte also comes with a more polished exterior design and is longer and wider than the previous iteration of the Forte, which is still one of the company’s most popular vehicles even amid the steady movement of cars buyers into crossover and sport utility vehicles.
It also integrates new driver assistance technology. In addition, the Forte comes with an all-new powertrain that utilizes Kia’s own version to a continuously variable transmission set to deliver an estimated 35 MPG combined.
“The compact sedan segment is highly competitive, but with all the improvements the new Forte brings to market for the 2019 model year, it is more than prepared to take on the toughest the segment has to offer,” said Orth Hedrick, vice president, product planning, KMA.
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“As one of our top-selling models, the all-new Forte follows some large footsteps, but enhancements in styling, packaging and content make it even more attractive to drivers seeking a compact sedan that can accommodate their versatile lifestyle,” Hedrick added.
He said while the third-generation Forte retains a sporty image, it has graduated to a more sophisticated appearance thanks to a number of sleek and dynamic styling cues inspired by the Stinger fastback sport sedan.
Peter Schreyer, the head of Kia’s global team of designers, used elements of the Stinger’s design language onto the compact to give it a commanding road presence with an emphasis on the vehicle’s proportions. The cowl point was moved back 5 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 headlamp design and layout.
Separate turn signal indicators are mounted below on the front bumper, where air curtains improve aerodynamic performance and enhance the Forte’s technical appeal. 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.
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The fastback shape of the 2019 Forte’s exterior also gave engineers an opportunity to expand the occupant compartment in several key areas so passengers are treated to a comfortable space no matter how long the journey. 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. The aeronautically inspired spoked circular vents adorn the dash and increased soft-touch points create a comfortable and visually appealing cabin.
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 2019 Forte strengthens its bones with additional hot-stamped components and 54% Advanced High-Strength Steel.
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Stronger seat frames are lightweight and provide a more comfortable seating position with increased lumbar support and denser seat foam for more pleasurable long-distance drives. The all-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.