Kia's new Forte sedan, which replaces the Spectra, signals a new design direction for the Korean brand.
The Forte is sportier and has a more contemporary look than the Spectra, Kia's best-selling vehicle. It also is roomier, more powerful, and gets better fuel economy. Kia executives say they have a formidable competitor for the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic.
On sale: Now
What changes: The Forte is bigger than the Spectra and offers upgraded engines--a 156 horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder and a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that delivers 173 horsepower. It also gets Kia's first six-speed manual transmission. Electronic stability control, Bluetooth with voice activation, and satellite radio are standard.
"With its roominess and standard equipment, Forte is more than just a worthy contender," says Michael Sprague, vice president of marketing at Kia Motors America.
Kia's new Forte
How the Forte stacks up against the car it replaces, the Spectra.
|2010 Forte||2009 Spectra|
|Length||178.3 in.||177.2 in.|
|Wheelbase||104.3 in.||102.8 in|
|Base engine||2.0-liter 4-cyl.||2.0-liter 4-cyl.|
|Horsepower||156 @ 6,200 rpm||138 @ 6,000 rpm|
|Torque, pound-feet||144 @ 4,300 rpm||136 @ 4,500 rpm|
|EPA mpg||25 city/34 hwy.||23 city/30 hwy.|
|Price, including shipping||$14,390||$14,200|
Competitive landscape: The Forte is targeting the Corolla, Civic, and Mazda3. Kia sold 68,465 Spectras in 2008, a fraction of Corolla and Civic sales. But the Spectra's sales decline this year has been much less dramatic that those of its rivals.
At a base price of $14,390 including shipping, the Forte has a more powerful engine, competitive fuel economy, and more standard safety features at a lower price than both the Civic and Corolla.
(Source: Automotive News)