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.


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