2019 Kia Forte Preview

Liz Kim | Jan 15, 2018
  • Kia introduces the third-generation Forte compact sedan
  • Larger than ever, approaching midsize car territory
  • Stinger-influenced design, inside and out
  • Available with the latest infotainment and safety features
  • Promises an increase in fuel economy to 35 mpg in combined driving



While the rest of America is still going crazy for thirsty crossovers, Kia knows that the price of fuel will someday fluctuate higher and the demand for small, efficient cars will rise again. In fact, the Forte is Kia’s best selling car, and has seen an impressive increase in sales for 2017, even in its final year before a redesign.

To keep the momentum on the upswing, Kia introduces the redesigned 2019 Forte, which competes with the likes of the ever-popular Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla. When it goes on sale, it will be offered in LX, S, and EX trim levels.

Exterior Features

Kia incorporates styling cues from the well-received Stinger performance sedan into the Forte, with its swept-back headlamps and long hood that lead your eye to the car’s greenhouse. The tiger-nose grille is present and accounted for too, although the overall look is obviously less elegant and athletic than in the Stinger.

Still, compared to the current Forte, the 2019 model has a more grown-up stance and appearance. It’s longer by 3.2 inches, marginally wider and taller, boasts a generous 15.1 cu.-ft. trunk, and supplies greater cabin space for passengers.

Interior Features

Inside, you’ll find a clean, minimalistic interior that draws its design mojo from the Stinger as well, with most of the controls integrated into the freestanding, tablet-style 8-inch touchscreen infotainment display. Just a few buttons reside underneath the screen. The Stinger’s wheel spoke vents are used here, too, as well as a metal trim feature that runs the length of the dashboard.

Under the Hood

Powering the Forte, a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine is mated to either a 6-speed manual gearbox or Kia’s new Intelligent Variable Transmission (IVT). That’s basically a continuously variable transmission (CVT) with a greater “stepped” shift feel to mimic the sound and feel of a traditional automatic transmission, combined with quieter operation to reduce noise in the cabin.

Power output remains the same as the current Forte, measuring 147 horsepower, but fuel economy is predicted to improve by 3 mpg for a total of 35 mpg in combined driving. Official EPA numbers will be announced closer to the Forte’s sell date, later this year.

Kia also says that the new Forte’s frame is engineered to deliver a 16% increase in stiffness, with a more athletic suspension and more natural-feeling steering.


The current Forte already boasts top crash safety ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the NHTSA, and Kia doesn’t intend to let those accolades fade with the newest Forte. Kia says that the increased use of high-strength steel and effective headlamps should keep it among the top score earners.

Available safety technology include Kia’s Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) suite of active safety features that include blind spot monitoring, lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking.


Kia plans to equip every 2019 Forte with an 8-inch color touchscreen infotainment system. It will include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone projection, with a wireless charging tray and a premium Harman Kardon sound system available as options.


Explore car shopping guides
10 Most Popular Midsize SUVs and Crossovers
10 Most Popular Midsize SUVs and Crossovers
Families flock to midsize SUVs for their seating capacity, cargo capability, and available all-wheel-drive systems. This guide provides an overview of the 10 most popular, non-luxury midsize SUVs and crossovers in America.
Read the full review
Warning Signs You Need New Brakes
Warning Signs You Need New Brakes
They may not be something you think about very often, but your vehicle's brakes are one feature that should always be in top working condition. Let's look at how to know when you need new brakes.Look, listenThere are two ways to check for brake wear on disc brakes: by looking and by listening. First, check for wear by looking at your brake pads through the spaces between the wheel's spokes. The outside pad will be pressed against a metal rotor. Generally, there should be at least 1/4 inch of pad. If you see less than 1/4 inch of pad, you may want to have your brake pads inspected or replaced.
Read the full review
Most Reliable Crossovers and SUVs in 2017
Most Reliable Crossovers and SUVs in 2017
According to J.D. Power, these are the crossovers and SUVs that are expected to provide the best reliability over time.
Read the full review
Read all articles
New Car Preview
2020 Ford Explorer Preview
Most Dependable
2019 Vehicle Dependability: Most Dependable Family Cars
Most Popular
10 Most Popular Midsize SUVs and Crossovers
New Model Update
New for 2019: Toyota Trucks, SUVs, and Vans
New Car Preview
2020 BMW 7 Series Preview
More related
Compare 0 of 3