Kia keeps making a compelling reason to forget about the Civic and Corolla.
The 2018 Detroit Auto Show is now in full swing, a we knew that there were going to be some big reveals. Some of these reveals were expected, while others are coming as a bit of a surprise. The all-new 2019 Kia Forte falls into the latter category, because we weren't expecting it here at Detroit. The Forte now enters its third generation and it will do battle with established compact sedans like the Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, and Volkswagen Jetta.
Kia says that the new Forte offers a higher level of comfort, fuel efficiency and driver assist technologies that are aimed at making the driving experience more rewarding and upscale.
Under the hood sits a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with cooled exhaust gas recirculation cycles that are typically only found in hybrid vehicles. Kia says that efficiency was a high priority, and the new Forte will return up to 35 MPG combined, which is a 3 MPG improvement over the previous model. Power is expected to remain unchanged, so 147 hp and 132 lb-ft of torque can be expected. Power will be sent to the front wheels through either a six-speed manual or an all-new, in-house Intelligent Variable Transmission (IVT). Kia says that this new engine and CVT combination is part of a new line of "Smart Stream" powertrains that will make its way into future models.
Even though a lot of people may bemoan the inclusion of a CVT transmission, but Kia is already one step ahead of these complaints. Kia says that its engineers have researched all of the issues that are typically associated with CVT transmissions, and have worked to iron them out with this new unit. For example, Kia addressed the "rubber-band-like feel" by designing the transmission with adaptive style shift logic that uses a chain-type belt instead of push belt. This is a first for the compact class. Kia also says that it has solved the droning noise that is associated with CVTs by wrapping the transmission case in a sound-insulating cover.
On the inside, Kia continues to impress us by offering a standard 8-inch touchscreen head unit with Apple Car Play and Android Auto. This system can also read SMS text messages allowed via Bluetooth. Kia will also offer an available 320-watt premium sound system developed with Harman Kardon. The Forte will also be packed with advanced driver assist technology including Blind-Spot Collision Warning, Lane Keeping Assist, Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist and Smart Cruise Control. The exterior of the Forte looks pretty good with the company's Kia's signature tiger nose grille that is shared with the Stinger.
The new Forte will be available in three trims, LX, S and EX, when it goes on sale later this year. Kia hasn't announced pricing or availability, nor has it mentioned if the new Forte will be available as a hatchback further down the line.