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Kia launches Forte LPi hybrid sedan

Kia Forte LPi hybrid sedan – Kias first-ever mass produced hybrid car – launched in South Korean market today.

Four months after its official inaugural public debut, which happened during the Aprils Seoul auto show, and a deluge of amateur spy shots, Kia has finally launched its long anticipated Forte LPi hybrid sedan.

The 2010 Kia Forte LPi hybrid is the groundbreaking eco-friendly Kia vehicle and the very first mass produced hybrid car from the second largest Korean car maker. It belongs to a highly acclaimed Forte family, consisting of gasoline and diesel powered Forte compact sedan and a sporty two-door Forte Koup (scheduled to go on sale in the US market in late summer) and shares its liquefied petroleum injection hybrid powertrain technology with Hyundais Elantra LPi hybrid, which went on sale in Korea a few days ago.

Developed over a period of 25 months, the Forte LPi hybrid comes at just about right time as fuel-efficient models gain popularity amid a global economic slowdown. Unfortunately though, the Forte LPi hybrid, which cost Kia approximately $180 million to develop, will be produced exclusively for Korean market. In the first year, Kia aims to sell around 2,000 units of its compact hybrid sedan, while sales may rise to 5,000 units in 2010.

The heart of the Forte LPi hybrid is a 1.6L Gamma LPi (Liquid Petroleum Injected) engine (LPi) mated to the Continuously Variable Transmission -CVT and a hybrid system comprising an electric motor, converter and lithium ion polymer battery. A combination of 1.6L Gamma engine and continuously variable transmission delivers powerful performance and fuel savings.

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The Forte LPi hybrid is also equipped with Kias Idle Stop & Go system (ISG) that automatically switches the engine off when the car is stopped in traffic and restarts the engine instantly when the driver wishes to move again. The ISG system is currently available only in Kia cee’d, but Kia plans to incorporate this fuel-saving system to other new vehicles including 2010 YN and 2010 Sorento.

Another interesting technology applied to the Forte hybrid is a regenerative braking and  a special E-gear called Eco-Drive that makes automatic adjustments to ensure the highest possible fuel efficiency. Thanks to all the afore-mentioned advanced hybrid technology, the Forte hybrid LPi emits only 99 grams of CO2 per kilometer, enough to qualify for a Super Low Emissions Vehicle (SULEV).

As you can see, the Forte LPi hybrid looks a bit different to the gasoline-powered sibling model. There were several adjustments made to the exterior sheet-metal to improve Fortes drag coefficient from 0,29 to 0,26. Restyled exterior body parts include front and rear bumper, aluminum wheels and garnish-type rear spoiler.

Inside, the Forte LPi hybrid hosts a full-digital SuperVision gauge cluster, which provides critical information to the driver and includes an “Eco Guide” function that encourages the driver with an “Eco Driving Point” icon to adjust fuel consumption and drive more sustainably.

Director of Overseas Marketing at Kia Motors, Soon-Nam Lee, said: “This vehicle offers high-quality performance and leading fuel efficiency technology to ensure maximum operating cost savings to drivers. In an era where demand for environmentally-friendly vehicles is rapidly increasing, we are confident that the Forte LPI hybrid will prove to be a valuable addition to the Kia lineup.”

Kia Forte LPi hybrid  is only the first in a series of Kia hybrids that we expect to see in the coming years. Recent reports from sources close to Kia revealed the company is also working on a next generation Optima sedan, that will be available with gas-electric hybrid powertrain as well as on Kias first plug-in model.

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28 thoughts on “Kia launches Forte LPi hybrid sedan

  1. Well, I am not a Kia spokesperson, but I am an American, and I can assure you that since most of the Americans don’t use LPi to fuel their cars, no =(

  2. Is LPi something we use in America for anything? I thought I read it is similar to Propane or Natural Gas, but I can’t remember where I read that, or what exactly LP is… I’m glad Kia has released this though, a hybrid in Korea will eventually trickle to the USA as a hybrid (whether gasoline/ petrol or diesel or fuel cell, etc.).

  3. PS: Was the “Forte Hybrid LPi” image photo-shopped into the pictures? It doesn’t look like it’s a part of either picture. Perhaps just the bright coloring?

  4. Except of alloy-wheels, I love just about every single part of the Forte hybrid, even rear lights design, which has grown on me lately. I didn’t like it when I first saw it.

  5. I absolutely love the little tweaks on the LPi Forte! The taillights, rear bumper, sidemarkers, grille, etc. I hope the 2011 US market Forte looks like this. There are no plans to offer the LPi vehicles in the US at this point. LPi vehicles were designed for the South Korean market ONLY

  6. Lets see this new technology in the UK models! At that CO2 it would be exempt from Road tax! Now that would shift cars out the show rooms!

  7. This is a must for the Australian market. Australia has a large Gas reserve. Very cheap motoring and better running costs than the current Toyota Prius. It is a winner.

  8. What’s taking Kia so long to bring a hybrid to the states? THIS forte hybrid LOOKS amazing & is i’m sure. I expecially love the “E-gear” – i’m 22 and THIS is a hybrid i’d drive. so i’m in awe. but for SALES sake, where’s kia’s “prius”? a hybrid is a great start but put this technology in a “traditional” hybrid. traditional meaning – the “hybrid look”, i.e. toyota prius & honday insight – the look isn’t a copy of eachother, its the best economical SHAPE for the car. kia needs a cooler “peter schreyer” hybrid in their lineup. i’m SO sick of turning my head & seeing another ugly prius in view.

    personally i think hybrid’s are a big joke for the most part. they’re worse on the environment due to production & harmul emitions in mining the materials needed for the battery, producing & shipping materials to production, and then decomposition when the vehicle is finished. you’re better off in a Range Rover – hand made in one spot, shipped to dealer. drive it nicely & MPG isn’t too bad anyways.

  9. Thats just it JoshyLofty, thats why this is far better than the Prius and Insight. This doesn’t use those crappy nickel batteries like the Japanese do which are so bad for the environment to make. To my knowledge, these Lithium Polymer batteries don’t damage the environment as much, and the fact that LPG about half the price of standard gasoline petrol makes this hybrid even more of a smart buy and step forward.

    Still think they should bring it to Australia, as Salesman stated, LPG is very widely available here.

  10. They’re using lithium ion polymer batteries-wise choice, dudes. An all-electric car called the Pininfarina-Bollore BlueCar also uses Lithium Polymer batteries, and they are claiming a 160-mile range for the BlueCar. Supposedly three U.S. test markets are getting BlueCar’s to test-market in 2009 sometime, although nobody at Pininfarina-Bollore will reply to my e-mails when I ask for updates on this plan. Los Angeles, CA, about 558 miles to my west, is one of those three U.S. test market cities. But I am really starting to put my energies towards this new Kia Forte Hybrid sedan now. My ’08 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS is only a tad over two years old and a tad over 40,000 miles, so, nothing needs to happen very soon for a new car for my wife and I. But I would have to put Kia and their new Forte Hybrid sedan in 1st place right now for futures trading…and the Mitsubishi i-MiEV all-electric car in 2nd place as I type this post out. This new pup from Kia is hot, and I love it’s design. himi-the taillight globule is starting to grow on me too!

  11. Martin – you’re right, i forgot Kia has a brain & used more enviro-friendly materials. that’s WHY i hate hybrids.
    Bryan – LA, NYC, Seattle, & Dallas are all getting the bluecar as test-leases in 2010. there’s a place here in Dallas called “Mockingbird Station” and its a very popular high-end shopping district in Dallas and they advertise “its coming!” there. They did the same thing with Smart 2 yrs ago before they were available to order anywhere, they’re doing the same thing NOW with Tesla, Fisker, Hyundai’s Genesis, & believe it or not— Tata. All of which are penned [there] as fashion accessories more so than cars. its a weird marketing technique but with Dallas’ fashion district being so huge, it works…. i have pix of M.Station & their car events on my myspace (which is linked on my name) if you wanna see them. you may have to be my friend to see but its there. & don’t hate on my pictures cuz i, too, am a part of the fashion industry. but the pix are there.

  12. PS – the Forte Hybrid is (to me) better looking than the normal one. expect the rims, but those can always be bought later. its a D@MN good looking car. i LOVE the fog lights, tail-lights, i dunno, its just a good looking car.

  13. I agree, Kia is on a great design roll and the Forte Hybrid is no ordinary hybrid. It’s a HOT hybrid. I’d like to name it a leader but I really need more design particulars on the car and to study it some more. JoshyLofty-yep, I may go one that journey and look up the Mockingbird Station, or I’ll just Google it. I’ll look up mileage to Dallas from my home of Willcox, AZ. I know that El Paso is about 230 miles east of us here in the SE edge of Arizona. The Kia Forte would be a way to start going green and still have a great body design on your rig, eh? I’m not one that looks down on goign “green”, I think it’s a smart idea for us all to think about heading towards.

  14. bryan— mockingbirdstation.com is the official website. if you head this way anytime hit me up here or my linked myspace & i’ll showya round! gotta be friendly to my car-forum-family. haha!

  15. JoshyLofty-you got it, man, I’ll get ahold of you if I head in to Dallas. The home of Dusty Hill and Frank Beard of the band I’m listening to right now, ZZ Top! I’m grooving to the ‘Fandango’ album, one of my ZZ Top favorites.

    JoshyLofty…please give me an update on what you’re driving right now. You’re not a Kia salesman, are you? That’s Kia Icarus that is a Kia salesman, IIRC. What’cher ride, man?

  16. JoshyLofty-I drive a 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS and love it completely! It has leather gear knob, steering wheel, 6 titanium paddle shifters fwd and rev, 650-watt Rockford Fosgate stereo, sunroof, foglights. Rally Red paint, I love my car! I like the new Forte and would’ve gone for one of those if only the Forte had been ready in the spring of ’07 when I traded my 2001 Kia Sportage 4X4 in for the Lancer. Kia and Mitsubishi are my 2 favorite carmakers and have been for a couple years now.

  17. JoshyLofty, no to MySpace, Twitter, Facebook, etc. I am too busy with work duties and visit so many websites every day and participate in so many, that I don’t want to venture in to those. Yeah, there are several rock shows in Austin that I’d like to go see, I don’t know, I may go to Dallas one of these days. I think the new Pininfarina-Bollore BlueCar is intriguing as all get out. But Kia’s Forte Hybrid is a much more beautiful vehicle to gander upon. It’s gonna start getting much more interesting “green-car wise” in these upcoming months.

  18. Hi
    Bring it to Germany. There are match LPG-Cars and there is a Market for Hybrid-Cars
    And this car has both.

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