Carving through the chaos of the compact car segment is not an easy task, considering it is one of the most populated and popular segments in the Philippines. But that did not stop Kia from formally launching its offering in the compact car segment – the all-new Kia Forte.
Fortunately, Filipino consumers are not short on options in the segment with almost 20 models to choose from, ranging from the conservative mainstays like the Toyota Corolla, Mazda3, Mitsubishi Lancer and Hyundai Elantra to name a few, to stylish alternatives from Volkswagen, Audi, Mercedes and BMW.
Kia Motors Philippines president Ginia Domingo is confident on the features the all-new Forte brings to the table.
“The three Forte variants relate to different markets but at the end of the day, they all carry the renowned Kia name and with it is a guarantee of refreshing interiors, compelling styles and powerful road performance,” she said.
Kia has been making huge improvements in shifting the perception that it is an affordable and cheerful brand. Columbian Autocar Corporation, the exclusive distributor of Kia vehicles in the Philippines, held the grand, public unveiling of the three Forte variants at Newport Mall Atrium: four-door sedan, five-door hatchback and the two-door Koup.
Each variant has its distinct strengths and are expected to make a big and immediate impact in the market. Among the popular features of the Kia brand are distinct styling and detail-oriented interiors fit for diverse lifestyles and personalities.
Crafted under the direction of Chief Design Officer Peter Schreyer, Kia says its European lines are designed to portray “dynamic muscularity” and provoke an emotional response.
Being a two-door coupe, the Koup is in a class of its own. With frameless doors and 215/45/17 tires, the Koup has a sleek and sporty vibe. The brand’s newest head-turner is available in Snow White Pearl, Racing Red and Aurora Black.
For a lifestyle that demands action and function, the Forte’s 5-door hatchback provides ample space inside and a polished look outside matched with 215/45/17 tires.
It is offered in five distinctive body colors: Racing Red, Planet Blue, Aurora Black, Snow White Pearl and Metal Stream that will give other hatches something to look out for.
Completing the all-new Forte variants is the 4-door sedan that sports classic elegance and a timeless design. It is Kia’s new take on what a traditional sedan should offer and is available in five vibrant colors: Snow White Pearl, Temptation Red, Aurora Black, Metal Stream and Planet Blue.
All three variants share the same platform and have wide, low stances and unique concave door contours to create a truly stylish vehicle, while the addition of front and rear quarter glass panels gives the all-new Forte a sense of roominess and improves visibility by eliminating blind spots, except for the Koup. Trendy LED strip tail lamps and LED headlight demonstrates Kia’s designs are at par with the rest of the European brands.
The Forte’s cabin is fairly conservative in its European design with its primarily black interior trim and simple instrument pod. It is well thought out in terms of space with good storage for small items, such as the large binnacle in front of the gearlever with USB/AUX inputs and a 12-volt power outlet, dual-zone full-auto climate control, cup holders in the center console and cooling glove box to cool drinks.
The hard plastics used in most places are broken up nicely by the carbon-style panels on the dash and the soft-touch materials with a wavy design in the door panels. The center armrest adds a little bit of luxury to the overall ambience.
There’s also good space for all occupants, starting with a comfortable driving position and good vision and decent head- and leg-room for rear passengers, most especially with the two-door Koup, that all have rear air vents. The Forte hatchback is furnished inside with leather material for its seats and advanced multimedia capabilities.
Kia’s latest 5-door hatchback and all-new two-door Koup are powered by a timing-chain driven NU 2.0-liter inline-4 cylinder, DOHC, D-CVVT, 16-valve, MPI engine that cranks out a maximum of 161 PS at 6,500 revolutions per minute and a maximum torque of 19.8 kgm at 4,800 rpm. Meanwhile, the Forte 4-door sedan is motivated with a timing chain-driven Gamma 1.6-liter inline 4-cylinder, DOHC, D-CVVT, 16-valve, MPI engine putting out 130 PS of power at 6,300 rpm and 16 kgm of torque at 4,850 rpm. The available transmission is a six-speed automatic with shiftronic system.
Along with the use of high-strength steel in the body that improves safety, the all-new Forte has active safety technology like Electronic Stability Control and Vehicle Stability Management that works with the ESC to provide “corrective” steering inputs in tricky road conditions. In addition, Kia boasts of the patented Flex Steer System that allows different levels of steering assistance– Normal, Sport and Comfort.
The Forte is another addition to the Kia stable that can help the South Korean company to further its gains in the increasingly tough worldwide automobile market. And it looks like Kia knows what the buyer wants.
“The all-new Forte truly exudes a dynamic presence on the road and we can’t wait for everyone to try a different driving experience aboard any of the three Forte variants,” Domingo said.
The Forte 1.6L EX A/T 4-door is priced at P965,000 while Forte 2.0L SX A/T 5-door hatchback is offered at P1.190 million. The Kia Forte 2.0L EX A/T Koup is priced at P1.09 million.