By Aaron Bragman on February 7, 2013
Hot on the heels of the newly updated 2014 Kia Forte sedan comes the new Forte 5-Door, introduced today at the 2013 Chicago Auto Show. In place of the sedan's trunk is a useful hatchback with 22.3 cubic feet of cargo room.
The platform is shared with the Forte sedan, but the Forte 5-Door features unique front and rear styling that is more aggressive and sporting. The hatchback also sports a new grille. The biggest differences are under the hood, however.
The 5-Door will offer two surprising powertrains: A 2.0-liter gasoline direct-injection four-cylinder making 173 horsepower and 154 pounds-feet of torque in the base EX trim, or the engine we've all been waiting for, the turbocharged 1.6-liter GDI four-cylinder making a stout 201 hp and 195 pounds-feet of torque in the sporty SX trim. Either model can be had with a standard six-speed manual or optional six-speed automatic transmission.
The EX is the top-level trim on the sedan, but in the hatchback, it's where the offerings start. Standard on the EX will be 16-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth connectivity, satellite radio, tilt/telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio- and cruise-control functions, power windows, fog lights, UVO multimedia system with backup camera, and LED running lights. Moving up to the SX trim brings the aforementioned turbo motor, 18-inch wheels, LED taillights, larger brakes and carbon-fiber-like trim pieces. Both trim levels get a more sport-tuned suspension than the sedan does, and optional on both trim levels will be high-intensity-discharge headlights, a navigation system, sunroof, heated steering wheel, leather interior, heated front and rear seats, 10-way power driver's seat with cooling function, push-button start and dual-zone automatic climate control.
Pricing has not been announced yet. The Forte 5-Door is expected to go on sale this summer. If Kia can keep the turbocharged SX model's price reasonable, signs suggest it has created (on paper at least) a surprising competitor to the Volkswagen GTI.
Our review of the 2014 Forte sedan suggests a surprising level of refinement and poise, and with the addition of the turbo engine and a sportier suspension setup, Kia has made an already attractive car suddenly appealing to driving enthusiasts as well.
Detroit Bureau Chief Aaron Bragman grew up in the Detroit area, comes from an automotive family and is based in Ann Arbor, Mich. Email Aaron