The Kia Forte (Cerato in other markets) is one of Kia’s bread and butter models, the same way that the Elantra is Hyundai’s, the Civic is Honda’s, and the Corolla Altis is Toyota’s, but we’re pretty sure you’re not aware of that, and that’s because the Kia Forte somehow wasn’t marketed enough by its distributor, Columbian Autocar Corporation. The first generation Forte and its coupe sibling, the Forte Koup was quietly launched a few years back, but it was too quiet. Not a lot of people were aware of the car’s presence in the market, and even if they were aware, they were put off by the car’s high price tag. The distributor focused instead on its higher profit models such as the Rio, Sportage, and Carens. This time around, do you think the Kia Forte will gain a foothold in our market? Let’s find out.
Forte Sedan and Hatch
The Kia Forte’s looks are handsome, to say the least. A design team led by Peter Schreyer, he has done a lot to elevate Kia’s brand image, from being a cheap car maker, to a company that poses enough threat to the Japanese brands. The Kia Forte we see here carries the evolution of Kia’s design language, including their ever so ubiquitous “Tiger Nose Grille”. Character lines in the side add a bit of drama to the side, and a chrome belt line for the sedan and hatchback further elevates its premium design. LED daytime running lights give it an unmistakable look, even from afar, while for the 2.0 liter hatch and Koup, LED rear lights with LED guide make it look distinctive in nighttime driving. Bigger and more stylish 17 inch rims (as shown) grace the Koup and hatchback’s exterior design.
Forte Koup Interior
Forte Sedan and Hatch Interior
Inside, the story is a bit different from the outside. While the outside uses a courageous and bold design, the inside feels more restrained. Not a lot is going on inside the Forte’s cabin. The dash design is more simple and straightforward, with a clear focus on ergonomics and usability. All three (3) body styles have 60:40 split folding rear seats for added practicality, and all three (3) variants have rear aircon vents, which is perfect for our warm climate. The Hyundai-Kia group’s Flex Steer system is also made available to the Kia Forte, featuring Comfort, Normal, and Sport modes.
Kia is considering the sedan as the base model, while the hatch and the Koupe 2-door are the higher end models. All variants are equipped with only one transmission choice, a 6-Speed Automatic. The sedan is powered by the 1.6 liter Gamma engine, producing 130 hp and 157 Nm of torque, while the Koup and hatchback are powered by the 2.0 liter Nu engine, producing 61 hp and 194 Nm of torque.
Features-wise, the new Forte is equipped with a supervision cluster with a TFT LCD screen in the middle, a multimedia system with AM/FM/CD/USB/AUX and Bluetooth, Smart Key with Push Button Start, Power Folding Mirrors. Oddly enough, a touchscreen system with rear view camera is standard on all but the 2.0 hatchback, while leather seats is standard only on the 2.0 hatchback.
Of course, a car isn’t entirely judged by how much features it has. It also has to be priced right. The previous generation Kia Forte was a flop mainly because of its high price tag. With all these features mentioned, are the following (introductory) prices just right? Will Columbian Autocar Corporation commit the same mistake again?
1.6 liter Sedan: P965,000
2.0 liter Koup: P1,090,000
2.0 liter Hatchback: P1,190,000