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Kia's new, sportier Forte targets Corolla, Civic

Automotive News reports on Kia's new Forte model.

Automotive News

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 Forte2009 Spectra
Length178.3 in. 177.2 in.
Wheelbase 104.3 in.102.8 in
Base engine2.0-liter 4-cyl.2.0-liter 4-cyl.
Horsepower156 @ 6,200 rpm138 @ 6,000 rpm
Torque, pound-feet144 @ 4,300 rpm136 @ 4,500 rpm
EPA mpg25 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)