Kia Introduces K3 in Home Market. Will It Appear as Rio/Forte Replacement?

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

kia introduces k3 in home market will it appear as rio forte replacement

Many manufacturers are busy running in the opposite direction from small, affordable cars, but there remain a few which are willing to play in this low(er) margin arena. Kia is one of them, with cars like the Rio and Forte – and it may be re-upping the latter in our market later this year.

Shown yesterday in its home market of Korea, the new K3 is a hecho en Mexico sedan which takes styling cues from several members on the crossover/SUV side of its family tree. Under the hood is a choice of 1.6-liter, paired with a stick or automatic, or 2.0L mill offered only with a paddle-shifted autobox in GT trim. The engines make about 120 and 150 horses, respectively. The 2.0L is similar in offering to what is in today’s Forte, though a top-spec GT-Limited packs a 1.6L turbo good for 201 ponies.

This is a brand that has been cranking out good-looking vehicles in recent years, and the K3 fits those efforts. Narrow headlights with a tracing of LED mascara line the front, bookending a modern take on what Kia used to call a ‘Tiger Nose’ grille. Smears of brightwork make the car look more expensive than it surely shall be, as do those snazzy 17-inch wheels. The reason we hedged our bets in the headline about this being a potential replacement for both the Rio and Forte in America lies in the K3’s overall length: Nearly four inches shorter than the 182.6-inch than the 2023 Forte but well over a foot longer than the wee Rio. 

Could Kia be employing a two-fer strategy? It’s not out of the question, especially with corporate cousin Hyundai ditching the Accent. Selling one small car and a bevy of subcompact crossovers would make a lot of sense given the buying tastes of most American shoppers. We’ve recently seen such consolidation at German brands, most notably with the upcoming CLE replacing both the C- and E-Class coupes at Mercedes-Benz.

Kia says the new K3 will be available in select markets starting from the fourth quarter of this year, with details on launch dates and model specifications to be announced by each country in due course. Does that include America or is this car just bound for emerging markets? We’ll have to wait and see.

[Images: Kia]

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3 of 30 comments
  • FreedMike FreedMike on Aug 11, 2023

    My youngest daughter has a '23 Rio. Darned nice little car for $19k, and perfect for someone who's just starting out. I wish more carmakers would sell something like it.

    • Thehyundaigarage Thehyundaigarage on Aug 11, 2023

      And it’s got the 1.6 Gamma motor. Reliable engine, providing you do regular intake valve cleaning.

  • Principe Raphael Principe Raphael on Aug 12, 2023

    Looks like a 7/8 scale version of the old Optima. Tell me I’m lying…

  • Theflyersfan The two Louisville truck plants are still operating, but not sure for how much longer. I have a couple of friends who work at a manufacturing company in town that makes cooling systems for the trucks built here. And they are on pins and needles wondering if or when they get the call to not go back to work because there are no trucks being made. That's what drives me up the wall with these strikes. The auto workers still get a minimum amount of pay even while striking, but the massive support staff that builds components, staffs temp workers, runs the logistics, etc, ends up with nothing except the bare hope that the state's crippled unemployment system can help them keep afloat. In a city where shipping (UPS central hub and they almost went on strike on August 1) and heavy manufacturing (GE Appliance Park and the Ford plants) keeps tens of thousands of people employed, plus the support companies, any prolonged shutdown is a total disaster for the city as well. UAW members - you're not getting a 38% raise right away. That just doesn't happen. Start a little lower and end this. And then you can fight the good fight against the corner office staff who make millions for being in meetings all day.
  • Dusterdude The "fire them all" is looking a little less unreasonable the longer the union sticks to the totally ridiculous demands ( or maybe the members should fire theit leadership ! )
  • Thehyundaigarage Yes, Canadian market vehicles have had immobilizers mandated by transport Canada since around 2001.In the US market, some key start Toyotas and Nissans still don’t have immobilizers. The US doesn’t mandate immobilizers or daytime running lights, but they mandate TPMS, yet canada mandates both, but couldn’t care less about TPMS. You’d think we’d have universal standards in North America.
  • Alan I think this vehicle is aimed more at the dedicated offroad traveller. It costs around the same a 300 Series, so its quite an investment. It would be a waste to own as a daily driver, unless you want to be seen in a 'wank' vehicle like many Wrangler and Can Hardly Davidson types.The diesel would be the choice for off roading as its quite torquey down low and would return far superior mileage than a petrol vehicle.I would think this is more reliable than the Land Rovers, BMW make good engines.
  • Lorenzo I'll go with Stellantis. Last into the folly, first to bail out. Their European business won't fly with the German market being squeezed on electricity. Anybody can see the loss of Russian natural gas and closing their nuclear plants means high cost electricity. They're now buying electrons from French nuclear plants, as are the British after shutting down their coal industry. As for the American market, the American grid isn't in great shape either, but the US has shale oil and natural gas. Stellantis has profits from ICE Ram trucks and Jeeps, and they won't give that up.