Kia Philippines has said that they will be unboxing three vehicles this year, so it was to everyone’s surprise that Kia Philippines, which is now under Ayala, has unveiled not just one, but two new cars. While everyone’s attention may be towards the highly anticipated Stinger GT luxury sports sedan, the Korean brand has also unveiled one of their bread and butter models, the Kia Forte C-segment compact sedan, which was first unveiled at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show.
With the Stinger GT being the brand’s halo car, it is only apt for Kia to draw many design cues from their hottest model yet, and this is evident on the outside. It features a long hood and short rear deck design, making it look like a rear-wheel-drive sedan that results in a fastback shape. The brand’s signature “tiger nose” grille is flanked by LED headlights with an interesting LED daytime running light design that looks like a 4-petal flower design, a feature that is standard on all but the base LX variant. At the back, the sloping roofline and short rear deck provide that dynamic and sporty look, while the LED tail lights cast a distinct glow at night, likewise also standard on all but the base LX variant. Dimensions on all aspects have grown for this generation, now at 4,640 mm long (81 mm longer), 1,440 mm tall (12.7 mm longer), and 1,798 mm wide.
The interior is plusher and more upmarket, thanks to the liberal use of soft-touch materials. The overall theme here is through horizontal shapes to emphasize the interior’s width. Due to the added exterior dimensions, the interior room has also been increased. The center stack is dominated by an 8-inch touch screen infotainment system that has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which is standard across all three variants. All but the base LX get a 6-speaker sound system and automatic dual-zone climate control while only the sporty GT has a passive entry with push-button start, leather interior, as well as an 8-way power adjustable driver’s seat.
Under the hood of the Kia Forte GT is the same 1.6-liter turbocharged inline-4 petrol engine from the Hyundai Veloster Turbo, which produces 201 hp and 265 Nm of torque. Power is sent through the front wheels via the same 7-speed dual clutch transmission from the Veloster Turbo, which comes not only with paddle shifters, but also rev-matching capability when you downshift. Now, you may be wondering, what about the mid-level EX and base LX variants? Well, it’s still powered by a 1.6-liter inline-4 petrol engine, just without the turbochargers, which means it’s now producing 130 hp and 157 Nm of torque, sent through the front wheels via a 6-speed automatic transmission.
The Kia Forte is indeed generously equipped, and this also applies to the safety features. All variants feature a rear-view camera, while front and rear parking sensors, electronic stability control, and hill start assist are available only in the mid-level EX and top trim GT. Exclusive to the top trim GT are curtain airbags.
Pricing for the Kia Forte starts at P1,095,000 for the LX, while the EX costs P1,195,000. The top trim sporty GT variant starts at P1,650,000.