It's hard out there for a Kia fan who wants to look fast without being fast. If you wanted the sportiest-looking Forte on offer, you'd have to opt for the 201-horsepower Forte GT. If you wanted that look without the hustle, though, you were out of luck -- until the 2019 Chicago Auto Show.
Kia unveiled the 2020 Forte GT-Line on Thursday here in Chicago. Think of it as the middle ground between outright performance and the standard ol' Forte. That should also place it between the two in terms of price, but it doesn't go on sale for a little while, and Kia hasn't made that information immediately available.
The GT-Line trim is fast in appearance only. There's a gloss black grille up front, and red accents scattered about the exterior. The gloss-black getup also extends to the mirrors, rear spoiler and side sills. Kia also threw in a set of LED daytime running lights and 17-inch wheels that are exclusive to the GT-Line.
Inside, things are a bit milder. The GT-Line borrows the flat-bottom steering wheel from the GT, including the little GT badge at the bottom, and it wears white contrast stitching. There's also a set of alloy sport pedals, in addition to some sporty cloth seats with a GT-Line logo stitched in.
Under the hood, it's all base Forte, baby. Its 2.0-liter I4 gas engine has an output of 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque. While that might be light on power, it helps the regular Forte achieve over 35 miles per gallon highway, so the GT-Line shouldn't be too far off from that, either. A continuously variable transmission is the only box on offer.
Some people are after the bark but don't necessarily need the bite, and this is the trim for them.