2010 US-spec Kia Forte to replace Spectra sedan

US-specs Kia Forte sedan (2010 Model Year) details…

Kia Motors America has released an extensive official press pack for it’s 2010 US-spec Kia Forte sedan ahead of it’s official US debut – slated for the 2009 Chicago Auto Show (starting on February 13th).

First of all, it has been officially announced that from now on, Kia’s all-new compact sedan, which will replace the Spectra, is going to be renamed to Forte. Until last, Kia has kept us guessing whether the Spectra name will be retained or replaced by a brand-new nomenclature. Now we know…


The all-new “head-turning” Forte sedan (pronounced for-tay) blends Kia’s exciting new design direction under the tutelage of Kia Motors’ chief design officer Peter Schreyer,  who has joined Kia in 2006 and has been responsible to incorporate a unique and distinctive styling to all future Kia models ( including Forte) .

“The Forte is an aggressively stylish blend of comfort and practicality – and with a host of standard features it provides the great quality and value that consumers have come to expect from Kia vehicles,” said B.M. Ahn, president and CEO of Kia Motors America and KMMG.

2010kiaforte.jpg     kiafortesedan.jpg     kiafore.jpg

2010kiaforteinterior.jpg     2010kiaforteb.jpg     2010kiaforteinside.jpg

Forte’s standard features

Forte will be available in three trim levels (LX, EX and SX). The entry level Forte LX features an array of standard features including six-way adjustable driver’s seat, tilt steering column, rear defroster and dual 12-volt power outlets in the center console, four speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system outfitted with SIRIUS Satellite Radio, auxiliary audio input jack and MP3 USB port. Standard Bluetooth connectivity enables hands-free operation for compatible cell phones.

EX and SX models offer a number of additional standard luxurious touches such as: power windows and door locks, remote keyless entry, air conditioning, steering wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls, dual front and rear cup holders, floor mats and map lamps.

Standard equipment on Forte EX and SX also includes cruise control with an optional sunroof and leather-trimmed seats. For true audiophiles, the EX and SX packages also add a standard six-speaker surround audio system and steering wheel controls.

In addition, the SX trim offers a more athletic profile with 17-inch alloy wheels and 17-inch P215/45R17 sized tires with beautiful alloy wheels and a rear spoiler. The SX model line also includes a sport-tuned suspension, providing the chassis a firmer feel and responsiveness, which results in a sportier ride and larger front brakes for improved stopping capabilities. Also standard on SX models is a telescoping steering column as well as sport cloth seats adorned with red stitching, further enhancing its energetic persona.

The 2010 Kia Forte also offers a class-leading level of standard safety equipment, with features such as active front headrests, advanced two-stage airbags, front seat-mounted and side curtain airbags, four-wheel disc brakes with an antilock brake system (ABS), electronic stability control (ESC) and traction control (TCS), and a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS).

Forte engines

Power will be provided to the front-wheels by two different gasoline powered engines. Buyers will be able to choose between a 156 horsepower, 2.0L four-cylinder gasoline engine or a 2.4L in-line four, delivering a healthy 173 horsepower. Engines feature Continuously Variable Valve Timing (CVVT) and multi-port electronic fuel injection, enabling them both to provide greater performance and fuel economy.

Transmission options that are offered on the new Forte sedan include: a standard five-speed manual transmission, four-speed automatic transmission (LX and EX models), and a six-speed manual or optional five-speed Sportmatic gearboxes (Forte SX models).

Among optional trim levels, buyers will also be able to opt for the Forte with a Fuel Economy Package, which includes the 2.0-liter powerplant, five-speed automatic transmission, low-rolling resistance tires and electric motor driven power steering. Together with some additional aerodynamic improvements, these enhancements result in a class-leading combined fuel economy of 36 mpg (highway)!

The 2010 four-door Forte sedan also boasts a class-leading passenger volume and an impressive 14.7 cubic feet of cargo space, which is recognized as one of the largest ones in the compact sedan car-segment.

Kia Forte will initially be available only in four-door bodystyle, but later in the year, a KOUP concept based, 2-door Forte coupe is also scheduled to join the US line-up.

As already mentioned, the 2010 Kia Forte will be unveiled within two days at the 2009 Chicago Auto Show and is expected to go on sale in North America in late spring or early summer of 2009. [Source: Kia]



LX & EX: 2.0-liter, in-line four-cylinder, aluminum block and aluminum head
SX: 2.4-liter, inline four-cylinder, aluminum block and aluminum head

Horsepower (hp @ rpm)
LX & EX: 156 @ 6200
SX: 173 @ 6000

Torque (lb.-ft @ rpm)
LX & EX: 144 @ 4300
SX: 168 @ 4000

Bore x stroke (mm)
LX & EX: 86.0 x 86.0
SX: 88.0 x 97.0

Displacement (cc)
LX & EX: 1998
SX: 2359

Emissions rating
50-state: LEV-II (ULEV) Tier-2 (Bin 4)

Fuel tank capacity (gal.): 13.7

Engine oil capacity (qt.)
LX & EX: 4.1
SX: 4.5


Overall length: 178.3
Overall width: 69.9
Overall height: 57.5
Wheelbase: 104.3
Track, front/rear: 61.3 / 61.6
Ground Clearance: 5.9

Headroom, front/rear: 40.0 / 37.8
Shoulder room, front/rear: 55.7 / 54.7
Legroom, front/rear: 43.3 / 35.0
Front hip room, front/rear: 53.0 / 53.3
Interior volume (cu. ft.): 96.8
Cargo volume (cu. ft.): 14.7


LX & EX: Five-speed manual
SX: Six-speed manual
LX & EX: Electronically controlled four-speed automatic
EX w/ Fuel Economy Package
SX: Electronically controlled five-speed automatic w/ Sportmatic


Front: Independent, MacPherson struts, coil springs, stabilizer bar
Rear : Torsion beam w/ struts, coil springs, stabilizer bar


Type: Engine-speed-sensitive, power-assisted rack-and-pinion
Turning circle, curb-to-curb (ft.): 33.8


Type: Hydraulic, power-assisted vacuum w/ four-sensor, four-channel ABS + ESC
LX & EX: 11.0-inch ventilated discs
SX: 11.8-inch ventilated discs
10.3-inch solid discs


P195/65R15 (LX)
P205/55R16 (EX)
P215/45R17 (SX)

5.5J x 15 steel (LX)
6.0J x 16 alloy (EX)
7.0J x 17 alloy (SX)



5-speed M/T

6-speed M/T

4-speed A/T
25 / 34 (est.)

5-speed A/T
26 / 36 (est.)

62 thoughts on “2010 US-spec Kia Forte to replace Spectra sedan

  1. Disappointed not all the Korean features, such as push-button start and automatic climate control, will make it. This will probably end up being perfectly timed for gas to shoot up again and they likely could sell such high-margin options. Also disappointed that telescopic wheel for SX model only. But if gas ends up like last year, you’ll probably get cut just trying to look at one with the Fuel Economy Package. Wouldn’t be totally surprised to see them going for full retail if gas gets back up near $4.00/gal.

  2. No doubtly, gas prices have only fallen because of the weaker demand for gas, due to bad economy, but once financial conditions turn to positive, we will see the prices skyrocketing again! They will go even above $4 per gal.

    Good to hear, the Spectra name has been replaced by Forte. This means a completely new beginning for the model.

  3. Wow. So can the “spectra” vs “forte” debate end at last? I hope so. I wonder how long it will take for the coupe to arrive?
    I am also surprised at the hp ratings for the 2.0. Unless I’m missing something, it says 156 hp from the 2.0? That’s a lot of power for that kind of displacement. My Aerio has 155 hp…..but it has a 2.3 litre engine.

  4. I don’t see Bluetooth, or hands-free of any sort mentioned. The Soul has it, so I would assume the Forte will too?

  5. Hako – Bluetooth is standard across all trims.
    Corporate kept this a huge secret, everyone insisted that it would stay Spectra, so this is a happy surprise!!

  6. :( Wish that Australia got the 5-speed auto. Would stop alot of criticism I keep reading about it only being 4-speed auto here.

  7. If we have both sedan and coupe on the way, this car should be a winner……..if it’s priced within the budget of prospective buyers.

  8. Hmmm. Himi, wasn’t the Forte supposed to come with a navigation system of some sort? I’m not seeing it mentioned, and that would be an important selling point to a lot of folks.

  9. Wow Forte just like I said.. who was it that told me to get over it? I still would like to talk to Greg’s contact..

  10. KMA probably wanted to give a surprise. but its good one. very impressive car. hope UAE gets sometihng similar…

  11. I love this car. I think this is probably going to be the car to completely change people’s perception of Kia as it will likely be their biggest seller.

  12. Like I said, corporate wouldn’t tell me anything. Leather seats optional on EX and SX (that’s what Tom said in his speech), but he did not mention the navigation system at all. I asked around, but I couldn’t get a straight answer. I’ll get you guys some pictures by Sunday. If you want anything specific, let me know, because tomorrow is the last day I’ll be attending!

  13. If the car reviewers actually drive it, and they give it thumbs up……..it will lift Kia to a new plateau. I do have one gripe for Kia though…..a big one. Why do they offer this nice 2.0 engine in the Forte, which gets 15 more hp than the Beta II 2.0, and not in the Soul? Oh, and it gets 36 mpg as well!!!!!! WTF. If they put that engine, with it’s aluminium head and block, into the Soul they couldn’t keep Souls on the dealer lot. I mean, can you imagine the Soul with 156 hp AND better fuel economy than it currently gets? It would have real balls…..not just adequate hp. I honestly don’t understand the Koreans at all. My worst fear is that I will buy a Soul this year, only to have Kia announce that the 2011 Soul will get the all-aluminium engine. Grrrrrr.
    So now, I’m actually considering not getting the Soul, and going for the Forte instead…….the SX with the 6 speed. GREG…here’s a question: can you ask around about the price range for the Forte? I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the SX wont be above $20,000….with standard features anyway.

  14. Don’t worry. SX models are rumored to start out between 18-19k. Top of range won’t exceed 23k. Will start somewhere between 14 and 15k for LX, and 16 and 17k for EX.

  15. Hako: Navigation is available in South Kore, so I’m sure it will also come here, perhaps just a little bit later, with the new model year. Even Borrego didn’t have the navi from the beginning, but then Kia decided to finally bring it to the States.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but is this a Theta 2.0 engine that generates 156hp? Hope it finds it’s way into Soul someday too!!

  16. Himi: The first shipment of Borregos that our dealership EVER got, there was a Borrego with a navigation system. It was an option from the beginning. And yes, it is the Theta 2.0 all-aluminum engine under the hood of the Forte.

  17. While the idea is great and timely, it is hard to understand why the U.S. market cannot get a five speed automatic, diesel, and a station wagon option. The versatility needed as families and couples replace larger cars with smaller ones requires flexibility as well as limited trailer towing capacity for utility, boating, and vacations.

  18. Thanks Greg, himi and everyone for your responses to questions. I ask a lot of em, but that’s just how I roll…:)

  19. I am taking a Soul Ride and Drive on March 5th. I will get to see several variations on US Soul and drive them and soul competition like xB, xD, and Suzuki SX4 Wagon.

  20. Colby…I’ve already been to the Soul Ride and Drive. You’ll be glad you went. It’s nice to actually be able to drive the 2.0L Soul and get a feeling for the car. I’m very impressed with the Soul and with it Kia sales will continue to grow

  21. Greg, if you hear anything about Kia putting the theta engine into the Soul (later this year) please drop me a hint. I’m still deciding when I will be purchasing. I have no reason to believe that Kia is planning to do that, but I see no reason why they couldn’t. The current engine gets complaints about being “unrefinded” or “noisy”, so Kia might decide to add the theta to the Soul. I would be willing to wait if knew it was coming. You too himi!

  22. Well, we’re gonna be lookin’ at Forte’s in America and not Spectra’s, eh? I’ll bet it was those of us here in Kia World’s blogs and forums that Kia Motors listened to. And they changed their mind, agreed with us that the car should be called Forte, and just went wid it, huh? That is so gratifying to know that we helped to change history. Kia Motors has produced a true winner with their new Forte sedan…and soon-to-also-be-here Koup.

  23. Does anyone know if Forte’s come with HID headlights in Korea, and if so, would they be able to be installed on a US Forte?

  24. HID headlights will be standard, but no Xenon. HID headlights are standard on most Kias in the US. I am so glad they don’t have Xenons though. Whenever I see someone with those horribly blinding lights, I just want to rip them out of their car by the neck and slam their head directly through both of their headlights. Yeah, I’m an asshole, but I don’t even turn my high beams off for cars with xenon lights. If you want to blind me, you can get blinded is well!!

  25. I sincerely hope that anyone, besides Greg, that is connected to Kia will read these words. GIVE THE SOUL THE THETA ENGINE!
    Those of us that love the Soul deserve the best 2.0 liter engine Kia has…..not the second best. We also deserve to have the Lotus-improved suspension. I would happily pay two thousand dollars more for those upgrades….if they were offered, and I’m sure I’m not alone. The Soul DOES have the power to surprise, it’s generated a lot of excitement and interest for Kia. Give it the engine it deserves!!!!!!

  26. I have no idea what their gameplan is.. they don’t have climate or push start in the US but they have all the engine combos (save the 1.6)

    I think in Australia they have all the interior combos (inc. climate) but only the 2.0 with 5spd man or 4 spd. auto.

    When are they gonna put in that KIA Ceed 1.6 turbo diesel?

  27. Greg, it is Xenon’s that I also hate, but, around here in rural southern Arizona, there are so many hicks with their large GM, Chrysler and Ford pick-em-up trucks that APPARENTLY DON’T KNOW HOW TO TURN DOWN THEIR BRIGHT HEADLIGHTS TO NORMAL BEAMS on long, dark okey highways! Uggghhhhh! Brains in their little toes!

  28. T___T 26/36? that’s only 30.5 miles a gallon combined!!! Didn’t Kia promised 33 miles a gallon combined for their forte, at least for the Korean Market?

  29. And also their goodies that aren’t coming here to the states also. I guess I can understand that Korean corporation would want best for their own country’s customer’s, but why are they discriminating rest of the world?

  30. as far as i know, the Forte for the Korean market is 1.6 litres only so I just might do 33 mpg combined…

    However you can keep it because the 2.0 litre one only does a 9.5 sec 0-100 so you can imagine how slow the 1.6 is!

  31. I’m goin’ 2 so fall in love with this car when it hits the dealer ships. lol I would love to work for Kia so I can take one home anytime I want. lol

  32. over here the car is very very reasonably priced

    for the same money you can buy a basic Suzuki Swift or a Honda Fit/Jazz or a Toyota Yaris

    the top of the line Forte is the same price as a basic model Honda Civic

    you would be nuts to buy anything else IF the car drives as well – the fact it has a 5 yr warranty vs. a std. 3 yr warranty is icing on the cake

  33. Anyone have any SX spolier pics? Am thinking of ordering SLI version here in OZ, but can’t seem to get my hands on any accessories details.

    PS. Would love to get 2.4 litre/5 speed auto combo, but OZ SLI seems limited to 2.0/4 speed auto. Bummer.

  34. BBOZ

    I just got a phone call from a local dealer who has a manual SLi ready for test drive. Unfortunately there are only 4 dealers in Sydney and all are quite not central to anyone.

    I like the looks of the standard SLi no added spoilers or crap. IMO $2k for a 4 spd auto which makes it $24,990 is not value to me. For a 5 or 6 spd… maybe.

  35. Sadly, no Kia currently sold in the US offers HID Headlights or Xenons.

    Not True. HID (High-Intensity Discharge) headlights are available as an accessory from most dealerships. Everyone in our family that owns a Kia bought the $200 accessory.

  36. Oh, BTW the 6 speed manual in the SX Forte has a very short “throw” to it. It is like the shifter in the Soul. Very easy to shift, although Edmunds didn’t like the way the shifting felt.

  37. HID and Xenon headlamps are NOT available from Kia in the US….period. Most of the new cars come with projector type headlamps now but that is not the same as HID or Xenon.

  38. Thanks Tony.
    Agree that $2K extra is steep just to get a 4 speed auto.
    Wouldn’t it be nice to be have the car built to order.
    Probably not a good thing though, lots of accessories listed on the Internation KIA site, and one could be tempted to go seriously overboard (2.4 lt, 5-speed auto, smart key, sunroof/leather etc etc).
    On the subject of sunroof/leather, have been advised by local (VIC) dealer that no factory roof/lthr available until mid-year.
    All orders for this option are being fitted after-market until then.
    Was quoted $3K for factory roof/lthr, though I reckon it might be more like $2-2.5K unless cows are much more expensive in Korea.
    Dealer unable to give any details of accessories. Too soon apparently. Would like to see any body kit stuff.

  39. Wow CaptIdiot, offending a world renowned designer, just because a car has similar lines. How rude.

  40. Looks like the Civic?? I don’t think it looks like the Civic at all. I am a 2002 Mazda Protege ES owner and I think this car looks great! No copycat. The front and rear look well styled. Sometimes it’s one or the other. I love the front of my Protege, but the rear, not so much. The interior is gorgeous. All the shades blend very well, the mix of buttons and dials looks right and the fit looks very good from these pictures. I am so jealous. Kia has done a superb job on this car imo. I am looking at either 2010 Sorrento or Hyundai Sante Fe though :-)

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