Kia Forte: All-new model debuts

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In addition, improvements increase the Forte's fuel economy, as well as upping the amount of available legroom and trunk space. Kia hasn't announced pricing or availability, nor has it mentioned if the new Forte will be available as a hatchback further down the line. Kia says that its compact sedan takes design cues from the Stinger to give it a more aggressive appearance. Thanks to a slight slope in the roof, a short front overhang and a sporty fascia, the 2019 Forte resembles the now famous Stinger model.

The new auto is longer, wider and taller than the one before. The cowl point was also pushed back five inches. It also grows slightly in width by 0.7 inch to 70.8 inches and is a half-inch taller at 56.7 inches, improving headroom. The seat frames are also stronger yet lighter, and the body-in-white is 16 percent stiffer. The engine can be teamed with either a six-speed manual transmission or Kia's first in-house CVT, dubbed an IVT (intelligent variable transmission).

Other technical changes include retuning of the electric-assist power steering, reworked suspension geometry to make the vehicle feel more nimble and "evolutionary improvements" to throttle response and brake feel for shorter stopping distances.

The Forte, as it is known in the U.S., is moving to a second-generation "Nu" Atkinson-cycle 2.0-litre petrol engine and continuously variable transmission (CVT) that is claimed to provide a significant fuel economy improvement. It also features a chain-type belt to help reduce the rubber band effect. The updated infotainment system comes standard with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay on all models and can now read text messages on phones linked via Bluetooth. Kia says that its engineers have researched all of the issues that are typically associated with CVT transmissions, and have worked to iron them out with this new unit. The goal here is fuel economy, and while complete figures have not been released, the automaker expects the vehicle to squeeze out 35 mpg combined - 3 mpg better than the previous model.

The new Forte will be available in three trims, LX, S and EX, when it goes on sale later this year. Another headline is the 320-watt Harman Kardon premium sound system, with its unique speaker hole pattern on the door panels. A full suite of active safety tech will be offered on the 2019 Kia Forte including blind-spot monitoring, lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, and Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, which bundles together automatic emergency braking and forward collision braking.

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