Kia took the wraps off a third Forte model, a sleek-looking hatchback that will join the coupe and sedan this summer. Compared to the sedan, the new body style trims seven inches from the overall length, but height, width, and wheelbase remain the same. The two-engine lineup mirrors that of today’s Forte, with a 156-hp, 2.0-liter in the base car and a 2.4-liter, 173-hp unit powering the sport version. Either engine offers the choice of a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic with shift paddles.
Other 2011 Forte models follow suit, switching to six-speed transmissions and ditching the current four- and five-speed automatics. The six-speeds should provide a fuel-economy gain, but EPA test results aren’t yet available. Other 2011-model changes that appear first on the hatchback are a redesigned front bumper and the availability of push-button starting.
Pricing for the Forte 5-door has not yet been set.