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

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
kia teases fortes sexy third generation overhaul prior to detroit debut

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]

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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.

  • SCE to AUX A friend once struck a mounted tire that was laying flat in the middle of her lane on the PA Turnpike. She was in a low late-90s Grand Prix, and the impact destroyed the facia, core support, radiators, oil pan, transmission, subframe, and suspension. They fixed it all.
  • Dukeisduke Lol, it's not exactly a Chevrolet SS with Holden badging.
  • Dukeisduke Years ago, I was driving southbound along North Central Expressway (south of Mockingbird Lane, for locals), and watched a tire and wheel fall out of the bed of a pickup (no tailgate), bounce along, then centerpunch the front end of a Honda Accord. It wasn't pretty.
  • Dukeisduke If these were built in the US, they'd probably be plagued with recalls, like everything else Ford makes now. It's just as well they don't bring them here.I've owned one Ford, a '95 F-150 (drove it for 17 years and 214k miles) and it was fantastic. But you couldn't run fast enough to get me to buy another Ford. Quality used to be Job 1; now it's an afterthought.
  • Dukeisduke "side-to-side taillights""Across-the-border" is the phrase you're looking for - it's what Ford called the taillights on the '67-'68 and '70-'71 Thunderbirds.