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2019 Kia Forte has Stinger looks, loads of tech and a CVT

Not every Detroit debut is some wild-eyed concept or a massive pickup.

2019 Forte

When Kia previewed the all-new Forte with some very Stinger-ish renderings, I thought to myself, "There's no way Kia will actually make it look like this in production." I guess the 2018 Detroit Auto Show is the place for me to eat my hat.

A quick glance is all it takes to know Kia lived up to its promise to inject the 2019 Forte with some of the mojo from its latest full-size sporty offering. The headlights and grille in particular seem lifted from the Stinger. A strong character line follows the tip of the headlight all the way around the back, where it's met with slim taillights connected by a trim strip. It has a properly premium feeling for something that won't be terribly expensive.

It probably won't haul like the Stinger does, but at this price point, you can't really expect it to.


Kia didn't share a picture of the Forte's interior at the time this was written. That said, we do know that expanded vehicle dimensions confer additional headroom, legroom and shoulder space. Circular vents draw inspiration from the aerospace industry, and Kia promises that more materials are soft-touch this time around.

Standard interior equipment includes an 8-inch touchscreen that contains both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Wireless phone charging is optional, as is a 320-watt Harman Kardon sound system.

The 2019 Forte comes with just one engine -- a 2.0-liter, Atkinson-cycle I4 that puts out 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque. It comes mated to a Kia-developed CVT that has "shift points" eliminating a major CVT criticism. The transmission case also has an insulating cover that helps reduce some of the droning noises commonly associated with this kind of transmission. The engine and transmission combination are expected to deliver 35 mpg combined, about 3 mpg higher than before.

Even though it's a more affordable car, Kia will offer a generous assortment of driver-assist tech. Available systems include blind-spot monitoring, lane-keep assist, forward collision warning and adaptive cruise control.

The 2019 Kia Forte goes on sale later this year, and pricing will be announced closer to its release date.

The back has more Sportage than Stinger, but it's still a darn good look.