Kia is definitely heading the right direction in terms of vehicle design with the Kia Soul and the recently previewed Soul’ster concept, and now this upward trend continues with the new Kia Cerato Forte which has been launched for local market.
Two trim options are available including the EX and the SX, as well as two engine and transmission options. It measures 4530mm long, 1775mm wide and 1460mm high with a wheel base of 2650mm, making it slightly longer than the Hyundai Avante by 30 mm. It is also lower in terms of height by about 30mm which helps give it a sportier stance. Wheelbase is similar with the other Korean car. The Forte is also 30 mm longer, 40 mm wider and 10 mm lower than its predecessor.
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The handsome car you see above was designed by the same hands which brought us the first Audi TT; Kia’s current Design Director Peter Schreyer. The Cerato Forte which goes on to replace the previous Cerato small sized sedan is a pleasing sight to look at, with an aggressive front end featuring a long curvaceous headlights with a forward looking front grille and a lower bumper design treated with three vents flanked out with squarish fog lamps.
The front fascia gives you a hint of the Honda FCX Clarity. The tidy side profiles feature shoulder lines that start from the head lights, stopping halfway below the side mirrors with indicators for a couple of inches, before continuing towards the tail lights.
The rear end complements the entire sporty yet elegant design treatment with a short boot lid highlighted with an upward ‘lip’, followed by an almost flat surface in the middle and a rear bumper with a diffuser like design housing the exhaust tail pipe. It looks very nice from which ever angle you look at it.
The interior gives you a feeling of practicality meets sportiness with decent amounts of compartments including cup holders, an instrument panel with a red-white illuminated three-cluster design and a decently designed centre dash. The EX trim offers 15 inch wheels, fog lamps, integrated stereo with iPod connectivity, steering wheel mounted audio controls, manual air conditioning, dual front air bags and a tilt-adjustable steering wheel.
The SX on the other hand comes equipped with 17 inch alloys, chromed door handles and rear garnish, a bonnet insulator, a chrome-tipped exhaust pipe, a self-illuminated instrument cluster with trip computer, a 6 CD changer, a tilt and telescopic adjustable steering wheel, a leather wrapped gear knob, interior chrome trimming, automatic climate control, rear parking assist system, sun visor mirror with illumination and electronic stability control.
Engine wise, there are two to choose from, including a 124HP 1.6 liter with 156Nm of torque or a 156HP 2.0 liter with 194Nm of torque. Both 4 cylinder DOHC 16-valve engines feature Continuously Variable Valve Timing which help reduce fuel consumption. The 1.6 liter engine consumes only 6.6 liter for every 100 kilometers traveled (combined driving cycle with manual transmission).
The 1.6 liter unit rivals the 1.6 from the Honda Civic which has 125HP and 151Nm of torque while the 2.0 liter unit rivals 155HP with 199Nm of torque, 2.0 liter from the Mitsubishi Lancer. Both engines can be mated to a 5 speed manual or a 4 speed automatic transmission. Kia also revealed that buyers can opt for a sports mode sequential manual shifting on both 1.6 and 2.0 liter models.
The 2.0 liter power plant is only offered with the SX trim, which additionally features a sunroof, a cigarette lighter with a portable ashtray, side and curtain airbags as well as cruise control. Price wise, the EX with a 1.6 liter engine starts from S$ 41,000 (for manual) and S$ 44,000 (for automatic) while the SX starts from S$ 44,000 (for manual) and S$ 47,000 (for automatic). The 2.0 liter on the other hand starts from S$ 50,000 (for manual) and S$ 53,000 (for automatic). The Cerato Forte will be available at Cycle & Carriage Kia showrooms after February 20th.