Kia's compact sedan gets complete redesign

2019 Kia Forte pairs Stinger style with 35 mpg

The 2019 Kia Forte sedan makes its debut with a sleeker, more coupelike exterior at the 2018 Detroit auto show.

Americans are flocking away from small cars and embracing crossovers and SUVs - a trend that has undermined Kia, which staked its success on youthful passenger cars.

Kia says that the new Forte offers a higher level of comfort, fuel efficiency and driver assist technologies that are aimed at making the driving experience more rewarding and upscale. The cowl point was also pushed back five inches.

The 3rd generation's growth spurt means that it's 3.2 inches (81mm) longer at 182.7 inches (4,641 mm) overall.

It is slightly less muscular and sporty that the Stinger and has a more traditional saloon auto shape. In addition, the Forte gets a new, more refined version of the Kia "tiger nose" grille. 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. The aeronautically inspired vents are also akin to Kia's halo vehicle, the Stinger.

The interior gains similar stylistic improvements, with the Forte/Cerato dumping the current car's organic (others might describe it as "bizarrely lumpy") dashboard for better furniture that bears many similarities to that of its corporate cousin, the Hyundai i30. The vehicle has also been stretched by 3.2 inches, making it 182.7 inches long and allowing for more legroom and a larger trunk that now measures 15.1 cubic feet.

Inside, the 2019 Forte comes standard with an 8.0-inch touchscreen, which is the centerpiece of its minimalistic cabin. The design still keeps some useful physical controls grouped cleanly at the base of the screen.

The big news under the hood - good or bad, depending on your view of mileage-boosting CVTs - is the new Kia-designed transmission. Compare those 2018 EPA ratings here with the 2018 Forte.

Kia has unveiled its third-generation US-exclusive Forte compact saloon at this year's Detroit Motor Show. The rubber-band-like feel being one of the main reasons, is why Kia's engineers added adaptive style shift logic with a chain-type belt instead of push belt. It can be couple to either a standard six-speed manual or Kia's first CVT, dubbed Intelligent Variable Transmission (IVT). On the safety side, Kia's Advanced Driver Assistance Systems safety suite is available. The Editorial department is independent of Cars.com's advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

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