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The Kia Forte, known as the K3 in South Korea, the Forte K3 or Shuma in China and Cerato in South America is a compact car produced by Kia Motors since mid-2008. It replaced the Kia Cerato/Spectra and is available in two-door coupe, four-door sedan, five-door hatchback variants. It is not available in Europe, where the similar sized Kia Ceed is offered (except for Russia and Ukraine, where the Cee'd and the Forte are both available).

Kia Forte
2018 Kia Forte EX front (2) 4.2.18.jpg
ManufacturerKia Motors
Also called
  • Kia Cerato
  • Kia K3 (South Korea)
  • Kia Cerato K3 (Singapore)
  • Kia Cerato Vivro (Colombia)
  • Kia Shuma (China)
  • Naza Forte (Malaysia)
Model years
  • 2009-present
  • 2010–present (United States & Canada)
  • 2011–present (Forte5)
Body and chassis
ClassCompact car (C)
LayoutFront-engine, front-wheel-drive

In some markets, such as Costa Rica, Australia and Brazil, the Forte is marketed as Kia Cerato replacing its predecessor of the same name. In Colombia and Singapore, the name Cerato Forte was used for the second generation,[1] while Naza Automotive Manufacturing of Malaysia has assembled the vehicle since 2009, selling it there under the name Naza Forte.[2]

First generation (2009–2013)Edit

First generation (TD)
Also called
  • Kia Cerato
  • Kia Shuma (China; Koup)
  • Kia Koup (Chile)
  • Kia Forte (South Korea)
  • 2008–2012
  • 2009-present (China)
  • 2013–present (Iran)
Model years
  • 2009–2013
  • 2010–2013 (United States & Canada)
  • 2011–2013 (Forte5)
  • Kurt Kahls (2006)
  • Tom Kearns (2006)
Body and chassis
Body style
RelatedHyundai Avante/Elantra (HD)
  • 5-speed manual
  • 6-speed manual
  • 4-speed automatic
  • 5-speed automatic
  • 6-speed automatic
Wheelbase2,650 mm (104.3 in)
Length4,480 mm (176.4 in) (coupe)
4,530 mm (178.3 in) (sedan)
4,340 mm (170.9 in) (hatchback)
Width1,765 mm (69.5 in) (coupe)
1,775 mm (69.9 in) (sedan, hatch)
Height1,400 mm (55.1 in) (coupe)
1,460 mm (57.5 in) (sedan, hatch)

The first generation Forte shares the same platform as the Hyundai Avante/Elantra (HD), though employing a torsion-beam rear suspension in place of the Elantra's multilink design.

Kia has stated that the Forte was specifically designed to target younger buyers attracted to sharper auto designs.[5]

Coupe (Koup)Edit

The two-door coupe "Forte Koup" was originally unveiled as a concept car in the form of the "Kia Koup" on 20 March 2008 at the New York International Auto Show.[6][7] The concept sported a twin scroll turbocharged version of the 2.0-liter Theta II inline-four engine. The production Forte Koup is badged as the "Kia Cerato Koup" in Australia, Costa Rica, Russia and South Africa. It is called the "Kia Shuma" in China, and "Kia Koup" in Chile.


The Forte sedan was designed in Kia's California design studio by Tom Kearns and his team.[8][9] The Forte two-door ("Koup") was previewed as the "Kia Koup" Concept, and was also designed in Kia's California design studio.[10][11] The Korean model went on sale on 22 August 2008.[12] The US model was unveiled at the 2009 Chicago Auto Show.[13][14]


The Forte five-door hatchback debuted at the 2010 New York International Auto Show.[15]

LPI HybridEdit

In 2009, Kia unveiled the mild hybrid Forte at the Seoul Motor Show for the South Korean market.[16][17] Taking its underpinnings from the Hyundai Elantra LPI Hybrid, the car is powered by liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). It is powered with a 85-kilowatt (114 hp) 1.6-liter LPG engine coupled with a 15-kilowatt (20 hp) electric motor and a lithium-polymer battery pack, making it the first production car to use lithium-polymer batteries.[18][19]


Engine type Displacement Power Torque Transmission
1.6 L Gamma I4 (gasoline) 1,591 cc 126 hp (94 kW; 128 PS) 15.9 kgf⋅m (156 N⋅m; 115 lbf⋅ft) 5-speed manual, 4-speed automatic (6-speed automatic + paddle-shift as of 2011 model)
1.6 L Gamma I4 (LPG hybrid) 1,591 cc Continuously variable automatic
1.6 L CRDi VGT I4 (turbocharged diesel) 1,582 cc 128 PS (94 kW; 126 hp) 26.5 kgf⋅m (260 N⋅m; 192 lbf⋅ft) 4-speed automatic
2.0 L Theta II I4 (gasoline) 1,998 cc 156 PS (115 kW; 154 hp) 19.8 kgf⋅m (194 N⋅m; 143 lbf⋅ft) 5 and 6- speed manual, 4-, 5-, and 6-speed automatic
2.4 L Theta II I4 (gasoline) 2,359 cc 173 PS (127 kW; 171 hp) 227 N⋅m (167 lbf⋅ft) 6-speed manual, 5-speed automatic MY 2010/6 speed auto MY 2011
1.6 L Gamma T-GDI (G4FJ) I4 (turbo gasoline) 1,591 cc 186–204 PS (137–150 kW; 183–201 hp) @5,500 27.0 kg·m (265 N·m; 195 lbf·ft) @1,500-4,500 6-speed manual, 6 speed automatic, 6 speed dual clutch transmission.


The 2010 Forte received a "Top Safety Pick" rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).[20]

Test Rating
Moderate overlap front: Good
Side: Good
Roof strength: Good
Head restraints & seats: Good

Market variationsEdit


Kia Forte R (Forte Furuidi) in China
  • China

For the Chinese market, Kia has offered the "Forte Furuidi" (福瑞迪) or Forte R produced by the Dongfeng Yueda Kia since 2009. The Furuidi was unveiled at the Nanjing International Expo Centre,[21] and is available with the 1.6- Gamma and 2.0-liter Theta engines. "Furuidi" means luck and auspiciousness in the Chinese language—and has a pronunciation similar to its English name "Forte".[22] It was sold alongside the Cerato R (First generation Cerato facelift), and later the K3 (Second generation Forte).

  • Malaysia

In Malaysia, the first generation Forte is assembled by the joint-venture company Naza-Kia and is called the "Naza Forte" and in Singapore, the first generation Forte was called the "Kia Cerato Forte". Both regions were offered with the 1.6-liter Gamma and 2.0-liter Theta II engine variants featuring a four-speed automatic transmission at launch, and then received a six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters after the 2011 facelift.[23]


Kia Cerato interior

In Russia and Ukraine, the Cerato (Forte) is available as the Cee'd's notchback counterpart, with the coupe and sedan available together. The Forte is not available in other European countries, due to the relatively low popularity of small family sedans there. Despite the LPI Hybrid being launched at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the Forte is still not offered in European countries outside Russia and Ukraine.

North AmericaEdit

In the United States, the 2010 LX and EX included a 2.0-liter CVVT engine and a standard five-speed manual transmission, with an optional four-speed automatic or a five-speed automatic with the Fuel Economy Package. For the 2011 model year, the Forte is standard with a six-speed manual (replacing the 5 speed unit) and is available with an optional six-speed automatic, with the four- and five-speed automatics being discontinued.

The LX is the base model. It comes standard with electronic stability control (ESC), and seat- and side-mounted airbags. The standard stereo includes four speakers, AM/FM radio, CD/MP3 player, and Sirius XM Satellite Radio. An iPod-compatible USB input jack and an auxiliary port for an external music device and steering wheel mounted audio controls are also integrated with the sound system. Bluetooth handsfree technology is also standard.[24] The second-tier EX adds air conditioning, power windows and door locks, cruise control, a six-speaker radio, a key fob with keyless entry, and turn signal indicators on the side mirrors. The SX has the 2.4-liter engine with a six-speed manual or optional five-speed automatic transmission for the 2010 model year and a six-speed from the 2011 model year.[25] The SX also adds alloy wheels, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift lever, a tilting and telescoping steering column, sport-cloth seats, and a metallic finish to the interior. Later production models have soft-touch panels on the armrest and door, as well as on the dashboard. For 2011, the EX and SX sedans are automatic-only, while the base sedan and all models of the Koup and Forte5 continue to offer the choice of manual or automatic.

An optional Fuel Economy Package adds low resistance silica tires, a more efficient alternator, a five-speed automatic transmission, and aerodynamic enhancements to increase fuel efficiency. With the Fuel Economy Package, the Forte EX has a 27 mpg‑US (8.7 L/100 km; 32 mpg‑imp) fuel consumption in city driving and 36 mpg‑US (6.5 L/100 km; 43 mpg‑imp) in highway according to United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).[26] Automatic transmission models include an "Eco" display on the instrument panel that tells the driver when better than expected fuel efficiency is reached, hoping to influence driving habits toward more efficient operation.

For the Forte Koup, an optional leather package is available on both EX and SX trims. When combined with the EX trim, leather is utilized for the upholstery, steering wheel and shift lever; heated front seats and a sunroof are also included with the package. When paired with the SX trim, it includes only heated leather seats and the sunroof, as a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift lever are already fitted as standard.[27]

The Forte sold in Canada has similar specifications and equipment as the US-market model. Some differences include the addition of power windows, door locks and power heated exterior mirrors on the base LX trim, a telescopic steering wheel on the EX trim, and a standard sunroof and automatic climate control system on the SX trim. The EX and SX also have a chrome-trimmed rear garnish and door handles. In contrast to the transmissions offered in the United States, the automatic transmission on offer in Canada is a 6-speed.

Kia Forte Furuidi (China) (2017–present)Edit

Kia Forte Furuidi

Derived from the Kia Forte Furuidi (福瑞迪) or Kia Forte R variant of the first generation Kia Forte facelift, Dongfeng Yueda Kia developed a succeeding Kia Forte Furuidi model only available as an electric vehicle with the "ND" factory code featuring a completely restyled body.

Second generation (2014–2018)Edit

Second generation (YD)
Also called
  • Kia Cerato
  • Kia K3 (South Korea)
  • Kia Cerato K3 (Colombia & Singapore)
  • Kia Cerato Classic (Russia)
Model years
  • 2014–2018
  • 2017–present (Mexico)
DesignerKurt Kahl (2010)
Body and chassis
Body style
RelatedHyundai Avante/Elantra (MD/UD)
Wheelbase2,700 mm (106.3 in)
Length4,530 mm (178.3 in) (Koup)
4,560 mm (179.5 in) (sedan)
4,350 mm (171.3 in) (hatchback)
Width1,780 mm (70.1 in)
Height1,420 mm (55.9 in) (Koup)
1,445 mm (56.9 in) (sedan)
1,460 mm (57.5 in) (hatchback)
Curb weight1,240–1,345 kg (2,734–2,965 lb) (sedan)
1,320–1,415 kg (2,910–3,120 lb) (hatchback)
Hatchback (pre-facelift)
Sedan (pre-facelift)

Kia released images of the second generation Forte for the 2014 model year in late July 2012, when the company revealed its Korean-market counterpart, Kia K3.[33] The car is completely redesigned with a lower, wider, and longer stance.

The 2014 Kia Forte includes LED headlights and tail lights as a standard feature, and will further Kia's driver-oriented cockpit design inside. To make it more fuel efficient, the Forte is offered with the new Nu engine, in a 1.8 Liter DOHC MPi 4-cylinder producing 148 hp (110 kW) with 131 lb⋅ft (178 N⋅m) of torque, and a 2.0 liter DOHC GDI 4-cylinder rated at 173 hp (129 kW) with 154 lb⋅ft (209 N⋅m) of torque.[31]

The car was presented to the public for the first time outside of South Korea on Santiago Motorshow (Chile) as Kia Cerato, on 3 October 2012.[34]

2017 model year updateEdit

For the 2017 model year, the Forte received a new facelift with restyled headlights and taillights.

Forte Coupe (Koup)Edit

The base EX comes standard with a 2.0-liter GDI four-cylinder I4 engine, and the SX comes with a more powerful 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that produces 201 hp (150 kW) and 195 lb⋅ft (264 N⋅m) of torque for a compact car.

The base Forte Koup EX comes with an impressive list of standard features including 16-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth®, SiriusXM™ Satellite Radio, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with integrated audio and cruise control buttons, tilt and telescoping steering column, FlexSteer®, power windows and LED positioning headlights with fog lights.[35]

The Koup SX comes standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, UVO eServices with Rear Camera Display, dual chrome exhaust tips, and LED tail lights. The SX also features performance enhancements including larger bumper and grille openings, larger front brakes, alloy sport pedals, black gloss grille inserts, and the front fascia and rear valance also include carbon fiber-look trim.

Both trims come with optional HID headlights, navigation system with HD Radio™, heated steering wheel, power lumbar, sunroof, heated front seats and ventilated driver's seat, leather-trimmed seating, SmartKey with push-button start, and dual-zone automatic climate control.

The Forte Koup was discontinued after MY2016 due to slow sales along with the Hyundai Genesis Coupe.[36]

Trim levels (United States)Edit

In the United States, the second-generation Kia Forte was available in four basic trim levels: LX, S, EX, and SX (later SX Turbo):

The LX was the base model of the Forte, and offered a plethora of standard equipment: an AM/FM stereo with single-disc CD/MP3 player, Bluetooth, Sirius XM Satellite Radio, and USB and auxiliary audio inputs with a four-speaker audio system, power windows and door locks, keyless entry with flip-key, exterior color-keyed door handles and side mirrors, fifteen-inch steel wheels with full wheel covers, a multifunction steering wheel, power rear trunk lid release, a split-folding rear bench seat, cloth seating surfaces, dual manually-adjustable front bucket seats, a 2.0L Inline Four-Cylinder (I4) gasoline engine, a six-speed manual transmission, and air conditioning. Additional options included sixteen-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, a 4.3-inch touch screen audio system with Kia UVO, premium cloth seating surfaces, a six-speaker audio system, and a six-speed automatic transmission.

The S became available in 2017, and added convenience features to the base LX trim level, such as: sixteen-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, a six-speed automatic transmission, a seven-inch touch-screen infotainment system featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a six-speaker audio system, a power single-pane sunroof, and a leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel. GPS navigation was one of the available options.

The EX was the top-of-the-line Forte trim level, adding features to the base LX, such as: sixteen-inch aluminum-alloy wheels (seventeen-inch on 2016+ models), front fog lamps, power-folding side mirrors with integrated turn signals, a seven-inch touch-screen infotainment system featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (2016+ models only), a six-speaker audio system, a leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel, and perforated luxury leather-trimmed seating surfaces with dual heated front bucket seats (2016+ models only). Additional options included a driver assistance package, GPS navigation, a 4.3-inch touch screen audio system with Kia UVO (2014-2015 models only), perforated luxury leather-trimmed seating surfaces (standard on 2016+ models), dual heated front bucket seats (standard on 2016+ models), keyless access with push-button start, seventeen-inch aluminum-alloy wheels (standard on 2016+ models), a ventilated front driver's bucket seat, a single-pane power sunroof, a six-speed automatic transmission, and a rear spoiler.

The SX, only available on the Forte Koup and Forte5, was the top-of-the-line Forte trim level. It added the following options to the EX: GPS navigation, perforated luxury leather-trimmed seating surfaces (2014-2015 models), dual heated front bucket seats (2014-2015 models), a ventilated front driver's bucket seat, premium aluminum-alloy wheels, a 1.6L Turbocharged Inline Four-Cylinder (I4) engine (MY2014+ models only),[37] a six-speed automatic transmission (MY2014-MY2016 models only), a seven-speed Dual Clutch (DCT) automatic transmission (MY2017+ models only), a power single-pane sunroof, and keyless access with push-button start. A six-speed manual transmission was the only available option.

Market variationsEdit


For the Singapore market, the car is known as the Forte K3 and is available in EX (16-inch steel wheels, dual airbags, rear air conditioner, LED daylight running lights, leather interior and rear parking sensor) and SX (17-inch alloy wheels, two airbags, front-and-rear parking sensors, keyless entry, push-button start, leather interior, power driver seat with memory)[38] trims, with LED daylight running lights and rear aircon vents standard. Eurostyle touchscreen entertainment system available as an optional upgrade through a tie-up with a local installer.[39] The only engine available is the naturally-aspirated 1.6-liter gasoline Gamma MPi producing 128 hp (130ps).[40]

In the Malaysian market, the second generation Forte was launched in July 2013 as the "Kia Cerato". Throughout the time available in Malaysia, two engines were available: 1.6 liter Gamma II and 2.0 liter Nu MPi. At launch, two variants were available: 1.6 and 2.0[41] and in July 2014, a 1.6 KX variant was added positioned lower than the regular 1.6 variant.[42] In November 2015, the "Koup" variant was added to the range powered by a 1.6 liter Gamma T-GDI engine.[43] In December 2016, the facelift version was made available with the same three variants and engines to choose from.[44]


In a small overlap frontal crash test carried out by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the Kia Forte scored the lowest in the group.[45] The test simulates the front corner of the vehicle hits a tree, utility pole, or even another vehicle at 40-mph.[45] According to the IIHS, this situation accounts for about a quarter of the serious injuries sustained in frontal crashes.[45][46]

IIHS test results based on the 2018 Kia Forte:

Test Rating
Small overlap front: Good
Moderate overlap front: Good
Side: Good
Roof strength: Good
Head restraints & seats: Good
Front crash prevention: Superior
Headlights: Good
Child seat anchors (Latch) ease of use: Acceptable

Third generation (2019–present)Edit

Kia Forte (BD)
Also called
Model years2019–present
DesignerPeter Schreyer
Body and chassis
Body style
Wheelbase106.3 in (2,700 mm)
Length182.7 in (4,640 mm)
Width70.9 in (1,800 mm)
Height56.7 in (1,440 mm)
Rear view
Rear view (Forte5)

On 15 January 2018 at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, Kia unveiled the third generation Forte sedan. Taking styling cues from the Kia Stinger, the new Forte adopts a cab rearward exterior, resulting in a fastback profile and a short trunklid. The car is constructed with 54% advanced high-strength steel that is stronger than the outgoing model. The Forte will be offered with a 2.0L I4 carried over from the second generation model mated to either a six-speed manual transmission, six-speed automatic, seven-speed DCT, or Kia's first CVT, which Kia refers to as an "IVT."[48][49][50]

The Kia Forte will be available in four trim levels: base FE and LX, mid-level S, and top-level EX, and will go on sale in the fall of 2018 as a 2019 model year vehicle.

The all-new Forte was designed by Kia lead designer Peter Schreyer, who also designed the Kia Stinger. The exterior profile of the 2019 Forte resembles that of the Stinger, and certain interior styling cues, such as a "Floating" center display touchscreen for the infotainment system, and round HVAC vents, were taken directly from the Stinger as well.

All trim levels of the new Forte includes many features that are otherwise optional on its competitors, including automatic front headlights, a tilt and telescopic steering column, a rear trunk light, dual-zone automatic temperature controls, rear seat heat ducts, an eight-inch, touchscreen infotainment system featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, steering wheel-mounted audio system controls, a cruise control, Forward Collision Avoidance (FCA), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), and Lane Keeping Assist (LKA).[51]

In addition to its standard equipment, other notable available features on the all-new Forte include LED interior lighting, a ten-way, power-adjustable front driver's seat with lumbar support, heated and ventilated dual front bucket seats, soft-touch interior surfaces, a 320-watt, eight-speaker premium amplified audio system by Harman Kardon, wireless device charging, drive mode selection, and a smart cruise control (SCC).


On 17 September 2018, Kia Motors America uploaded their commercial for the 2019 Forte, featuring the race-spec Red Bull car and professional race car driver Collete Davis.[52]

Kia K3 (China)Edit

Kia K3 (BD) Chinese version

Launched in June 2019, the Chinese version of the Kia K3 was produced by Dongfeng Yueda Kia, and features a redesigned front and rear down road graphics. Engine options include a 1.5 liter inline-4 engine and a 1.4 liter turbo inline-4 engine, with a PHEV version also available.[53]

Kia K3 GTEdit

The Kia K3 GT was launched in October 2018 in South Korea.

2020 updateEdit

The GT and GT line trim levels were added and S trim level was discontinued as well as the 6 speed automatic transmission option was also discontinued and the LX trim was renamed LXS [54]


Kia Racing, a factory-sponsored team in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, has currently entered a few Fortes in the series. Kia has proven to be notably competitive in the series as well as the SCCA World Challenge touring car class alongside the factory-sponsored Kia Rio in the Touring Car B-Spec class.


Calendar year United States[55] Canada Global
2009 26,327
2010 68,500
2011 76,294
2012 75,681 352,226[56]
2013 66,146
2014 69,336 11,867[57]
2015 78,919 357,796[58]
2016 103,292 400,010[59]
2017 117,596
2018 101,890


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