2009 Chicago Auto Show: 2010 Kia Forte Steps In for Spectra

February 11, 2009
•    What is it: Kia’s new compact sedan, replacing the Spectra
•    Key facts: It’s four doors only this time; SX models get larger four-cylinder engine; Bluetooth and Sirius are standard
•    On sale: Summer 2009
•    Price: $15,000 (est.)

The 2010 Kia Forte takes a bow at the 2009 Chicago auto show today. Replacing the Spectra in Kia’s lineup, the Forte makes the trip to reality in four-door form only, leaving the buyers of the old five-door Spectra wanting, at least for now. The Forte is the first product overseen in its entirety by Peter Schreyer, the wunderkind hired by Kia to remake the lineup in a more modern vein. Schreyer’s touch shows in a more sophisticated shape, though no one will mistake the Forte for the daring Honda Civic (or the kludgy Ford Focus, for that matter).

The Forte’s basics are the stuff economy cars do best: simple independent suspensions, four-cylinder engines, manual and automatic transmissions. Base cars have a 153-hp four, and five-speed manual and four-speed automatic trannies. The SX edition spools up 173 hp with a 2.4-liter four, and teams it to a six-speed manual or a five-speed automatic.

The 2010 Forte has a smart array of safety gear, including stability control and curtain airbags. And praise be, even the base car has standard Bluetooth connectivity, Sirius satellite radio and a USB input for iPhones and lesser speaking products.

We’ll have more on the Forte later today from the 2009 Chicago show floor. In the meantime, you can read a more complete preview over at our 2010 Kia Forte page, where we’ll be updating with more photos this afternoon.

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