Click above for a gallery of the Kia Forte

To the uplifting sounds of blues music, Kia took the wraps off the new Forte (get it? It's musical and it means "strong." Someone give the naming department a cookie) at the Chicago Auto Show today. The Forte will be available in three trim levels: LX, EX and SX. You can read details about the sporty SX over on Autoblog; here we'll focus on the EX and more luxurious LX versions, as they get the best mileage ratings.

Both the LX and EX use a 2.0-liter DOHC four-cylinder engine that produces 156 horsepower and 144 pound-feet of torque. These trims come with Continuously Variable Valve Timing (CVVT) and multi-port electronic fuel injection and use either an optional electronically-controlled four-speed automatic transmission or a standard five-speed manual transmission. The EX and LX are also available with an optional Fuel Economy Package, which adds a five-speed automatic transmission to some low-rolling resistance tires to get, and I quote from the press release, "class-leading combined fuel economy of 36 mpg (highway)." That's less than clear, but a quick call to Kia PR and a look at the spec sheet provides these numbers: The LX and EX get 25 city / 34 highway with the 4-speed automatic and 26 city / 36 highway with the Fuel Economy Package. Kia's Alex Fedorak told AutoblogGreen that using the EPA formula, the Fuel Economy Package Forte gets a combined rating of 31 mpg. That 39 mpg diesel Forte that Korea gets? No such luck for the U.S.

Look for the 2010 Forte at dealerships later this spring or in early summer, and expect more from news, including pricing, on the Forte brand later in the year.
Related GalleryChicago 2009: Kia Forte

Related GalleryKia Forte

Live Photos Copyright ©2009 Sebastian Blanco / Weblogs, Inc.


PRESS RELEASE:

KIA MOTORS AMERICA INTRODUCES ALL-NEW KIA FORTE

Kia's New Compact Sedan Makes its Debut at the 2009 Chicago Auto Show

  • Kia Motors debuts sporty and fuel-efficient compact sedan
  • New Forte blends impressive new style with Kia Motors quality and value

CHICAGO, Feb. 11, 2009 – On the heels of announcing the widely acclaimed, all-new Kia Soul, Kia Motors America (KMA) today introduced the all-new 2010 Kia Forte (pronounced for-tay) compact sedan at the 2009 Chicago Auto Show. Forte blends Kia's exciting new design direction under the tutelage of Peter Schreyer, Kia Motors' chief design officer, with a multitude of standard features. The 2010 Kia Forte will go on sale in North America in late spring or early summer of 2009.

"Kia Motors' product line is rapidly evolving and the Forte compact sedan is another head turner," said B.M. Ahn, group president and CEO, KMA and KMMG. "The Forte is an aggressively stylish blend of comfort and practicality – and with a host of standard features it provides the great quality and value that consumers have come to expect from Kia vehicles."

Style in Motion
Sporting stylish and aggressive design cues, the new Forte firmly establishes itself as a strong contender in its segment. With a bold look set apart by crisp lines, swept-back headlamps and a sleek profile, Forte exudes a confident stance that conveys motion both while cruising the highway and parked in the driveway. Available in three trim levels (LX, EX and SX), Forte offers a sleek, sophisticated design. The sportier SX trim offers a more athletic profile with 17-inch alloy wheels paired with P215/45R17-sized premium tires and a rear spoiler.

Smooth and Comfortable Ride
With a wheelbase of 104.3 inches, an overall length of 178.3 inches, an overall width of 69.9 inches and overall height of 57.5 inches, Forte offers one of the roomiest interiors in its class with seating for up to five passengers. The Kia-engineered body achieves high torsional stiffness giving Forte better handling, smoother ride quality and greater refinement than its competitors, with a specially tuned suspension adjusted perfectly for responsive handling on curvy roads. Additional refinements are fitted throughout Forte to help ensure a comfortable ride with good noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) reduction qualities.

Built on a front-wheel-drive unibody frame, Forte utilizes an independent front suspension with MacPherson struts and a stabilizer bar and a torsion beam rear suspension with struts and coil springs. This combination helps provide the optimal balance of handling and comfort. An engine-speed-sensitive, power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering system adds the finishing touch for precise handling by providing the most advantageous amount of assist for varying road conditions. In keeping with the sporty essence of the SX model line, a sport-tuned suspension gives the chassis a firmer feel and responsiveness resulting in a sportier and more spirited ride. The SX model also features larger front brakes for improved stopping capabilities.

Attractive and Practical Interior
Forte boasts a class-leading 96.8 cubic feet of passenger volume, while driver and passengers have an impressive 40.0 inches of headroom and 43.3 inches of legroom in the front seats and 37.8 inches of headroom and 35.0 inches of legroom in the rear seats. Forte's trunk also offers an impressive 14.7 cubic feet of cargo space, one of the largest in its class, perfect for luggage for weekend getaways.

Capitalizing on its spacious interior, Forte pampers its riders with a host of interior features, starting with comfortable, nicely appointed full cloth seats. A six-way adjustable driver's seat, tilt steering column, rear defroster and dual 12-volt power outlets in the center console are driver- and passenger-conscious luxuries standard on every vehicle.

EX and SX models offer a number of additional standard luxurious touches such as: power windows and door locks; remote keyless entry; air conditioning; map lamps; steering wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls; dual front and rear cup holders; and floor mats. Forte EX and SX models also include standard cruise control with an optional sunroof and leather-trimmed seats. Also standard on SX models is a telescoping steering column as well as sport cloth seats adorned with red stitching, further enhancing its energetic persona.

Peppy Performance
Forte LX and EX are powered by a 2.0-liter DOHC four-cylinder engine, producing 156 horsepower and 144 pound-feet of torque, that features Continuously Variable Valve Timing (CVVT) and multi-port electronic fuel injection, both of which provide for greater performance and fuel economy. The SX features an upgraded 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine, also with CVVT, which delivers 173 horsepower – more than the most powerful versions of the Toyota Corolla or even the 2010 Mazda3.

Two transmission options are offered for the 2010 Forte: a standard five-speed manual transmission or an optional electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission (LX and EX models). The SX model features a standard six-speed manual transmission and an optional five-speed automatic transmission with Sportmatic®.

The optional Fuel Economy Package, available with the 2.0-liter powerplant, will include the five-speed automatic transmission, Motor Drive Power Steering and low-rolling resistance tires with aero enhancements. These improvements result in class-leading combined fuel economy of 36 mpg (highway).

Music that Moves
Forte comes with a standard four speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system outfitted with SIRIUS Satellite Radio capabilities with three months complimentary service . Standard on all models is an auxiliary audio input jack and USB port for connecting personal MP3 players. Standard Bluetooth® connectivity enables hands-free operation for compatible cell phones. For true audiophiles, the EX and SX packages also add a standard six speaker surround audio system and steering wheel controls.

Standard Kia Motors Safety
Forte offers a class-leading level of standard safety equipment, with features such as active front headrests, advanced two-stage airbags, front seat-mounted and side curtain airbags, four-wheel disc brakes with an antilock brake system (ABS), electronic stability control (ESC), a traction control system (TCS), and a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS).

Industry-Leading Warranty
Like all Kia models, Forte is covered by a comprehensive warranty program, which offers unprecedented consumer protection. Included in this program are a 10-year or 100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty, a five-year or 60,000-mile limited basic warranty, and a five-year or 100,000-mile anti-perforation warranty. A five-year/60,000-mile roadside assistance plan is also part of the comprehensive coverage program.

2009 Product Line
Kia Motors America offers a dynamic and diverse product line of 11 vehicles to meet the needs of all lifestyles. The 2009 vehicle line features the functional Rondo CUV and award-winning Sedona minivan along with a wide variety of popular passenger cars, including the refined Amanti full-size sedan, purposeful Optima midsize sedan, versatile and compact Spectra and Spectra5, and sporty yet fuel-efficient Rio and Rio5 subcompacts. The vehicle line also features the affordably luxurious Borrego, rugged Sorento and value-packed Sportage SUVs. The 2010 Soul will further complement the lineup when it arrives in dealerships this spring.

About Kia Motors America
Kia Motors America (KMA) is the sales, marketing and distribution arm of Kia Motors Corporation based in Seoul, South Korea. KMA offers a complete line of vehicles through more than 640 dealers throughout the United States. For 2008, KMA recorded its 14th consecutive year of increased U.S. market share. Kia Motors subscribes to a philosophy of building high value, high quality, safe and dynamic vehicles. Kia Motors prides itself on producing vehicles that are exciting and enabling and evoke the Kia tagline "The Power to Surprise."

Kia Motors America is the "Official Automotive Partner of the NBA." Information about Kia Motors America and its full vehicle line-up is available at its Web site – www.kia.com. For media information, including photography, visit www.kiamedia.com.