2010 Kia Forte: New Name, New Attitude

June 9, 2009

The new 2010 Kia Forte replaces the Spectra in Kia’s lineup; but it wasn’t that many years ago that the Spectra replaced the Sephia.

This writer has heard various industry officials say over the years that naming a vehicle is one of the most agonizing parts of bringing a new vehicle to market. And changing names is very, very expensive.

So why another name change for Kia’s compact sedan? One reason is that the 2010 Forte represents a pronounced departure from the Spectra’s design, and takes to the distinct design direction that the brand has followed since hiring design chief Peter Schreyer. In the years since the Spectra was brought to market, the company has grown (and changed) tremendously. And last year, Kia officially opened its new Kia Design Center America, in Irvine, California, a $45 million facility that will play an important role in several upcoming models, including this Forte sedan.

While the Spectra name is history, the new Forte will keep the old Kia Cerato name in Asia and Australia, and the upcoming Forte Koup will be called Cerato Koup in those other markets.

2010 Kia Forte

2010 Kia Forte

Enlarge Photo

After introducing the new Kia Soul, the automaker is clearly on a roll in the U.S., with a newfound driving feel and functionality for its vehicles. While Kia’s cars have been in past years, sensible but a little bit dowdy and derivative, the Soul demonstrates a new direction toward design details, driving responsiveness, and a fashion sensibility that doesn’t mimic anyone else.

Surprisingly, Kia officials told TheCarConnection.com that we’ll probably be seeing new names for all the older cars in the lineup, while the trucks will retain their names.

With the Optima recently refreshed, and the Soul recently introduced, that leaves the Rio and Amanti in line to get Kia’s new attitude—and quite possibly a new name.

We’ll be driving the 2010 Kia Forte over the next day, so check back soon for our first driving impressions.

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