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Chicago 2009: Kia Forte rolls into Chi-town

Click above for a high-res gallery of the 2010 Kia Forte

We got our first look at the 2010 Kia Forte earlier this morning, and we are pleased to say that it looks even better in person as it does in photos. The replacement for the Spectra retains many of the design elements first seen on the Koup Concept, and we're glad it does. The complex lines of the side profile and particularly where the A-pillar meets the hood make it quite attractive. Even Kia admitted that the Spectra was a fairly forgettable car, but we're guessing that the Forte will be making waves in the small sedan segment. In addition to the standard 10-year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty, Forte owners will get a 2.4L inline-4 with 173 horsepower and up to 25/34 mpg in SX trim, while the LX and EX offer a 2.0L inline-4 with 156 horsepower and 26/36 mpg. Pricing has yet to be announced, but expect it to be highly competitive within its class. More details on the car can be found in the press release after the jump, and we highly encourage checking out our high-res gallery of live shots that show off the car's angles.

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Live photos copyright ©2009 Drew Phillips / Weblogs, Inc.


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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