Kia Teases Forte's Sexy, Third-generation Overhaul Prior to Detroit Debut

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Kia revealed a few design renderings of the 2019 Kia Forte ahead of its debut at the fast-approaching North American International Auto Show. While highly reminiscent of the second generation of the Korean compact, the third-gen model offers a sexed-up profile and more sophisticated looks.

The headlights taper upward, set into creased bodywork, while large air inlets evoke a sense of sportiness. Kia says that’s intentional; it wanted the new Forte to borrow some of the spirit of the Stinger fastback sedan. For the most part, it seems to have done that gracefully.

“Creases in the hood lend to the Forte’s muscular appearance and distinctive design traits on the front fascia, including a fresh approach to Kia’s signature tiger nose grille and an aggressive lower valance enhance its road presence,” the automaker explained. “The front clip is flanked by a more dynamic headlamp design and layout.”

Things are similar around the rear. While most compact cars — especially those from Asian countries — seem to be totally devoid of tail-end styling, Kia has taken a giant leap in the right direction with its new model. The old Forte’s ass was as unremarkable as the rest of the pack, but the 2019 model shows more attention, with separate reverse and turn signal indicators located beneath the taillights. However, there is something distinctly Malibu-like about it.

The interior follows an open concept — a style popular with both upscale autos and home remodeling programs. While it appears clean and spacious, we’re always a little sensitive about missing buttons. The mockup, while incomplete, shows a quartet of knobs. Two of those are likely designated for the HVAC system, while the others are probably a tuner and volume dial. Kia says there will be buttons below the tablet-like infotainment screen, but the number will be kept to a minimum.

The minimalist look is always nice, but we’re hoping the Korean company isn’t expecting us to utilize a touchscreen for simple tasks. We prefer keeping our eyes on the road whenever possible. We’ll know for sure on January 15th, when the Forte makes its official debut in Detroit.

[Images: Kia Motors]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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6 of 26 comments
  • Wyrmdog Wyrmdog on Jan 11, 2018

    At least upgrading the infotainment system will be easy. All I have to do is pull that tablet off and glue in another one. =P This is one of the worst cabin design trends I have ever seen.

    • See 3 previous
    • TMA1 TMA1 on Jan 12, 2018

      @Wyrmdog I don't think it looks good, but I could probably get used to it. The screen in my current car is down low, which looks better but isn't as visible and is easily blocked by my right arm. I certainly wouldn't want the dash to be super high just to encompass that screen.

  • Lightspeed Lightspeed on Jan 11, 2018

    Not bad, not bad at all.

  • Lichtronamo Watch as the non-us based automakers shift more production to Mexico in the future.
  • 28-Cars-Later " Electrek recently dug around in Tesla’s online parts catalog and found that the windshield costs a whopping $1,900 to replace.To be fair, that’s around what a Mercedes S-Class or Rivian windshield costs, but the Tesla’s glass is unique because of its shape. It’s also worth noting that most insurance plans have glass replacement options that can make the repair a low- or zero-cost issue. "Now I understand why my insurance is so high despite no claims for years and about 7,500 annual miles between three cars.
  • AMcA My theory is that that when the Big 3 gave away the store to the UAW in the last contract, there was a side deal in which the UAW promised to go after the non-organized transplant plants. Even the UAW understands that if the wage differential gets too high it's gonna kill the golden goose.
  • MKizzy Why else does range matter? Because in the EV advocate's dream scenario of a post-ICE future, the average multi-car household will find itself with more EVs in their garages and driveways than places to plug them in or the capacity to charge then all at once without significant electrical upgrades. Unless each vehicle has enough range to allow for multiple days without plugging in, fighting over charging access in multi-EV households will be right up there with finances for causes of domestic strife.
  • 28-Cars-Later WSJ blurb in Think or Swim:Workers at Volkswagen's Tennessee factory voted to join the United Auto Workers, marking a historic win for the 89- year-old union that is seeking to expand where it has struggled before, with foreign-owned factories in the South.The vote is a breakthrough for the UAW, whose membership has shrunk by about three-quarters since the 1970s, to less than 400,000 workers last year.UAW leaders have hitched their growth ambitions to organizing nonunion auto factories, many of which are in southern states where the Detroit-based labor group has failed several times and antiunion sentiment abounds."People are ready for change," said Kelcey Smith, 48, who has worked in the VW plant's paint shop for about a year, after leaving his job at an warehouse in town. "We look forward to making history and bringing change throughout the entire South."   ...Start the clock on a Chattanooga shutdown.