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The only thing surprising to us about the 2010 Kia Forte is the name. The Forte debuted in South Korea last summer as a replacement for the compact Spectra sedan, but recently the automaker has indicated that the old name would be retained here in North America. Nomenclature aside, the new Forte is a very attractive little sedan that basic look of the Koup Concept that debuted at the New York Auto Show last year and adds two doors. That's not two say we won't see a two-door version too if recent spy shots are any indication.

Compared to the largely forgettable Spectra, the Forte is just over an inch longer and wider with two more inches between the axles. All U.S. models of the Forte get four-cylinder engines with variable valve timing. The LX and EX trim levels get 2.0L of displacement, 156-hp and a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic. The top SX trim gets a 173-hp 2.4L mill and an extra ratio added to each gearbox option. A fuel economy special will pair the five-speed auto-box with the smaller engine, adding aero tweaks, low rolling resistance tires and electric power steering to bump the highway mileage to about 36 mpg.

We'll meet the 2010 Kia Forte in person today, so stay with us for high-res live images of the car later this afternoon.

[Source: Kia]

Kia's New Compact Sedan Makes its Debut at the 2009 Chicago Auto Show

Kia Motors debuts sporty and fuel-efficient compact sedan

New Forte blends impressive new style with Kia Motors quality and value

CHICAGO, Feb. 11, 2009 – On the heels of announcing the widely acclaimed, all-new Kia Soul, Kia Motors America (KMA) today introduced the all-new 2010 Kia Forte (pronounced for-tay) compact sedan at the 2009 Chicago Auto Show. Forte blends Kia's exciting new design direction under the tutelage of Peter Schreyer, Kia Motors' chief design officer, with a multitude of standard features. The 2010 Kia Forte will go on sale in North America in late spring or early summer of 2009.

"Kia Motors' product line is rapidly evolving and the Forte compact sedan is another head turner," said B.M. Ahn, group president and CEO, KMA and KMMG. "The Forte is an aggressively stylish blend of comfort and practicality – and with a host of standard features it provides the great quality and value that consumers have come to expect from Kia vehicles."

Style in Motion
Sporting stylish and aggressive design cues, the new Forte firmly establishes itself as a strong contender in its segment. With a bold look set apart by crisp lines, swept-back headlamps and a sleek profile, Forte exudes a confident stance that conveys motion both while cruising the highway and parked in the driveway. Available in three trim levels (LX, EX and SX), Forte offers a sleek, sophisticated design. The sportier SX trim offers a more athletic profile with 17-inch alloy wheels paired with P215/45R17-sized premium tires and a rear spoiler.

Smooth and Comfortable Ride
With a wheelbase of 104.3 inches, an overall length of 178.3 inches, an overall width of 69.9 inches and overall height of 57.5 inches, Forte offers one of the roomiest interiors in its class with seating for up to five passengers. The Kia-engineered body achieves high torsional stiffness giving Forte better handling, smoother ride quality and greater refinement than its competitors, with a specially tuned suspension adjusted perfectly for responsive handling on curvy roads. Additional refinements are fitted throughout Forte to help ensure a comfortable ride with good noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) reduction qualities.

Built on a front-wheel-drive unibody frame, Forte utilizes an independent front suspension with MacPherson struts and a stabilizer bar and a torsion beam rear suspension with struts and coil springs. This combination helps provide the optimal balance of handling and comfort. An engine-speed-sensitive, power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering system adds the finishing touch for precise handling by providing the most advantageous amount of assist for varying road conditions. In keeping with the sporty essence of the SX model line, a sport-tuned suspension gives the chassis a firmer feel and responsiveness resulting in a sportier and more spirited ride. The SX model also features larger front brakes for improved stopping capabilities.

Attractive and Practical Interior
Forte boasts a class-leading 96.8 cubic feet of passenger volume, while driver and passengers have an impressive 40.0 inches of headroom and 43.3 inches of legroom in the front seats and 37.8 inches of headroom and 35.0 inches of legroom in the rear seats. Forte's trunk also offers an impressive 14.7 cubic feet of cargo space, one of the largest in its class, perfect for luggage for weekend getaways.

Capitalizing on its spacious interior, Forte pampers its riders with a host of interior features, starting with comfortable, nicely appointed full cloth seats. A six-way adjustable driver's seat, tilt steering column, rear defroster and dual 12-volt power outlets in the center console are driver- and passenger-conscious luxuries standard on every vehicle.

EX and SX models offer a number of additional standard luxurious touches such as: power windows and door locks; remote keyless entry; air conditioning; map lamps; steering wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls; dual front and rear cup holders; and floor mats. Forte EX and SX models also include standard cruise control with an optional sunroof and leather-trimmed seats. Also standard on SX models is a telescoping steering column as well as sport cloth seats adorned with red stitching, further enhancing its energetic persona.

Peppy Performance
Forte LX and EX are powered by a 2.0-liter DOHC four-cylinder engine, producing 156 horsepower and 144 pound-feet of torque, that features Continuously Variable Valve Timing (CVVT) and multi-port electronic fuel injection, both of which provide for greater performance and fuel economy. The SX features an upgraded 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine, also with CVVT, which delivers 173 horsepower – more than the most powerful versions of the Toyota Corolla or even the 2010 Mazda3.

Two transmission options are offered for the 2010 Forte: a standard five-speed manual transmission or an optional electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission (LX and EX models). The SX model features a standard six-speed manual transmission and an optional five-speed automatic transmission with Sportmatic®.

The optional Fuel Economy Package, available with the 2.0-liter powerplant, will include the five-speed automatic transmission, Motor Drive Power Steering and low-rolling resistance tires with aero enhancements. These improvements result in class-leading combined fuel economy of 36 mpg (highway).

Music that Moves
Forte comes with a standard four speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system outfitted with SIRIUS Satellite Radio capabilities with three months complimentary service. Standard on all models is an auxiliary audio input jack and USB port for connecting personal MP3 players. Standard Bluetooth® connectivity enables hands-free operation for compatible cell phones. For true audiophiles, the EX and SX packages also add a standard six speaker surround audio system and steering wheel controls.

Standard Kia Motors Safety
Forte offers a class-leading level of standard safety equipment, with features such as active front headrests, advanced two-stage airbags, front seat-mounted and side curtain airbags, four-wheel disc brakes with an antilock brake system (ABS), electronic stability control (ESC), a traction control system (TCS), and a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS).

Industry-Leading Warranty
Like all Kia models, Forte is covered by a comprehensive warranty program, which offers unprecedented consumer protection. Included in this program are a 10-year or 100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty, a five-year or 60,000-mile limited basic warranty, and a five-year or 100,000-mile anti-perforation warranty. A five-year/60,000-mile roadside assistance plan is also part of the comprehensive coverage program.

2009 Product Line
Kia Motors America offers a dynamic and diverse product line of 11 vehicles to meet the needs of all lifestyles. The 2009 vehicle line features the functional Rondo CUV and award-winning Sedona minivan along with a wide variety of popular passenger cars, including the refined Amanti full-size sedan, purposeful Optima midsize sedan, versatile and compact Spectra and Spectra5, and sporty yet fuel-efficient Rio and Rio5 subcompacts. The vehicle line also features the affordably luxurious Borrego, rugged Sorento and value-packed Sportage SUVs. The 2010 Soul will further complement the lineup when it arrives in dealerships this spring.



Body configuration: Compact sedan
Body type: Steel unibody
Drivetrain layout: Front engine, front drive
Passenger capacity: 5


LX & EX: 2.0-liter, in-line four-cylinder, aluminum block and aluminum head
SX: 2.4-liter, inline four-cylinder, aluminum block and aluminum head

Valve gear
LX & EX: DOHC, four valves/cylinder w/ CVVT
SX: DOHC, four valves/cylinder w/ CVVT

Horsepower (hp @ rpm)
LX & EX: 156 @ 6200
SX: 173 @ 6000

Torque (lb.-ft @ rpm)
LX & EX: 144 @ 4300
SX: 168 @ 4000

Bore x stroke (mm)
LX & EX: 86.0 x 86.0
SX: 88.0 x 97.0

Displacement (cc)
LX & EX: 1998
SX: 2359

Compression ratio
LX & EX: 10.5:1
SX: 10.5:1

Emissions rating
50-state: LEV-II (ULEV) Tier-2 (Bin 4)

Fuel tank capacity (gal.): 13.7

Engine oil capacity (qt.)
LX & EX: 4.1
SX: 4.5


LX & EX: Five-speed manual
SX: Six-speed manual
LX & EX: Electronically controlled four-speed automatic
EX w/ Fuel Economy Package
SX: Electronically controlled five-speed automatic w/ Sportmatic


Front: Independent, MacPherson struts, coil springs, stabilizer bar
Rear : Torsion beam w/ struts, coil springs, stabilizer bar


Type: Engine-speed-sensitive, power-assisted rack-and-pinion
Turning circle, curb-to-curb (ft.): 33.8


Overall length: 178.3
Overall width: 69.9
Overall height: 57.5
Wheelbase: 104.3
Track, front/rear: 61.3 / 61.6
Ground Clearance: 5.9

Headroom, front/rear: 40.0 / 37.8
Shoulder room, front/rear: 55.7 / 54.7
Legroom, front/rear: 43.3 / 35.0
Front hip room, front/rear: 53.0 / 53.3
Interior volume (cu. ft.): 96.8
Cargo volume (cu. ft.): 14.7


Type: Hydraulic, power-assisted vacuum w/ four-sensor, four-channel ABS + ESC
LX & EX: 11.0-inch ventilated discs
SX: 11.8-inch ventilated discs
10.3-inch solid discs


P195/65R15 (LX)
P205/55R16 (EX)
P215/45R17 (SX)

5.5J x 15 steel (LX)
6.0J x 16 alloy (EX)
7.0J x 17 alloy (SX)


5-speed M/T
6-speed M/T
4-speed A/T
25 / 34 (est.)
5-speed A/T
26 / 36 (est.)

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      I don't get you people. One second you're saying Honda is boring and mediocre. Next second you're saying the Honda design is too edgy/funky and the Kia one is better because it is more subdued.

      I do like what Hyundai and Kia have been doing recently (minus the seeming emphasis on SUVs, but that's just me), but I think the big 3 should be more concerned than Honda and Toyota.

      And about the design being a Civic rip-off...I don't know who designed it first, but the Civic design was out in the wild 2.5 years ago. It may start to look a little passe sooner rather than later.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Oh...I lied...the current Civic has actually been out for 3.5 years. My bad.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Just another Elantra... check the spec... with Civic appearance
      • 6 Years Ago
      The new Civic will be out soon? The new Civic has been out since 2006... And there's no redesign of the line coming for at least a few years.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The civic has always been on no more than a 4 year cycle since te 2nd generation, so the new civic should be due for the 2010 model year... which is "soon".
      • 6 Years Ago
      Sounds good on paper. 173hp w/6-speed. Sounds like the return of the Integra GS-R.
        • 6 Years Ago
        wait. was the GS-R a 5-speed or a 6-speed?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Definitely better looking than a 4door civic. I'd like to see a 2 door version.

        • 6 Years Ago
        Just Google the Kia Coup Concept and you'll see it. I'm still hoping they'll follow through on those plans to build it.
      • 6 Years Ago
      LOL... Wtf is wrong with them? Act like a real company and quit ripping off car designs FFS!
      • 6 Years Ago
      I like it. Can't wait to see more pics. My son doesn't want to drive my Taurus when he turns 16...maybe this'd be a good 2nd car choice. Especially with 170+ HP and a 6 spd. He might have a hard time prying the keys from dad's hands! LOL
      • 6 Years Ago
      what a citroen xantia ripoff
        • 6 Years Ago

        Ves indeed!!
      • 6 Years Ago
      The students of French are going to be in for a long ride. My pesky brother was pet-peeved by this word for 20 years. Everybody's going to be saying...
      'for-tay' thinking that 'e' on the end is pronounced. According to my bro, it's...
      'fort'. No fancy 'aaaay' after.

      I'm sure Kia consulted veteran marketing peeps at Caddy, Buick & Pontiac for tips on urging their favored pronunciation after suffering these cherished nameplates from American car history..
      -DeVille Concours
      -LaCrosse (how do you say master*ation, en Canadian Francais?)

      PS. the outside looks nice (some Toyota Avensis) BUT the dashboard definitely has some Chrysler Sebring going on. Oops.

        • 6 Years Ago
        Forte is in Italian word.
      • 6 Years Ago
      At last Hyundai uses the world engine in a small car and with decent tranys! Now junk the old 2.0 and 4 speed auto and make the new stuff standard throughout the line.
      • 6 Years Ago
      That front end looks really nice. The rear is not too original, but it's inoffensive (which is fine in this market). The interior looks WAY better than the current Spectra, and the reliability will also be much better (not that the CURRENT Spectra was particularly unreliable AFAIK, mind you). The price is also quite competitive (especially considering that the Civic starts above $15000), and the fuel economy is also competitive. (Second time today) Ding ding ding! KIA has a winner!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Doesn't anyone here actually comment on car performance anymore?

      I was very surprised to see this is gonna get the 2.0L 156-hp that Hyundai supposedly developed with Chrysler and Mitsubishi. It's in the Lancer and Caliber, but with those awful CVTs. And they're gonna offer it with a 5-speed auto? I am sold.

      Standard stability control on all models is nice to see, especially since the Corolla will have it standard as well. But unlike the Corolla, the Forte should be fun to drive. Considering how fun to drive the Spectra5 is, I'm wondering just how much of a difference there will be between the regular Forte and the SX...
      • 6 Years Ago
      All it takes is one person to say it's a copy of another car - and for the accused to be Hyundai or Kia - and everybody runs with it. The only thing remotely similar between the Honda Civic and the Kia Forte is the front end. That's it. That's where the similarities end. Between the Koup (Coupe) and Sedan, this is going to be a very popular car on the road.. So go ahead and hate, hate, hate. You hate the Honda Civic. You hate the Kia Forte. Hate, hate, hate...

      Sal Collaziano
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