The 2019 Kia Forte debuted at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show with a slick new look that was inspired by the Kia Stinger. There’s a good reason for that.
“The two cars were in the design studio at the same times,” said Orth Hedricks, vice president of product planning at Kia Motors America. “So while the designers were outlining the look of the Forte, they look at the Stinger, which is probably why there are similarities.”
The long hood, short rear deck design of the Forte was inspired by sports cars and was achieved by moving the cowl point backward. The rear end of the Forte is also sloped back to make it look like the Kia Stinger’s sportback.
The result is a much more stylish compact car, but there are a few more design cues that are borrowed from the well-received Stinger. The headlights and taillights feature a similar array to the sports sedan as well.
The interior has been spruced up with a layout that features circular vents (again, just like the Stinger) but with surprisingly high-grade materials.
Hedricks explained that the Stinger raised the bar for the Kia brand as a whole. “We’ve always had good design and a priority on quality, but the Stinger combines all our traits into a really strong package,” he said, adding that the performance and luxury of the sport sedan are also really impressive.
Those following the Korean automaker will remember the K900 and Cadenza, two big four-door sedans that were sold as being luxurious, high-end options in the Kia lineup, but they didn’t capture the public’s attention like the Stinger did. In fact, they were huge flops. These cars promised high-end luxury but they lacked a few important factors to be successful. For starters, they were really expensive and didn’t have a lot of value. They also didn’t provide a convincingly upscale driving experience, although the K900 had an impressive V8 and rear-wheel drive. Lastly, they just didn’t have the show-stopping style that the Stinger has — they were conservatively styled and didn’t offer anything terribly unique.
Hedrick also agreed that they certainly didn’t inspire any following Kias. “Unlike those other sedans, the Stinger represents an inflection point,” he said. “Everything changes for us from here on.”