Kia previewed the next generation of its Cerato compact sedan this morning, which means only one thing: there's a new Kia Forte sedan on the horizon.
The Cerato and Forte have long been the same thing, but European markets ditch the Forte sedan in favor of the similarly sized Cee'd hatchback. We first saw the new Cee'd at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show this March, at which point we wondered when the Forte/Cerato would receive its updates. A set of drawings posted to Kia's international press site tagged Cerato (Forte) would suggest that those updates are coming very soon.
Anyone familiar with--or a fan of--Kia's next generation of design language will instantly recognize this as a Kia. The new Cerato features the next generation of Kia's tiger grille, flanked by blocky headlights that ape those on the larger Quoris/K8 sedan. The sloping character line gives the sedan an arched stance, and extends all the way around the back of the car, through the Optima-like taillights and trunklid, back to the front.
It's too early to predict anything about what'll end up under the hood, but the current U.S.-market Forte is powered either by a 2.0-liter I-4 making 156 hp or a 2.4-liter I-4 making 173 hp and mated to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission.
Kia promised a first look at the new K3 in the flesh later this year, which would suggest that a Cerato will follow. Kia's American press office confirmed that the Cerato will come here as the Forte, but couldn't say exactly when. At this point it looks like the Forte is headed towards an early-2013 U.S. debut, which would set the car up to reach Kia dealers by the 2014 model year.