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Kia Forte getting an updated design and better technology

Kia is focused on selling crossovers and SUVs that are in hot demand, but it’s not forgetting about buyers who simply want a car. It updated the Forte for 2022 with a new-look exterior design and a longer list of available tech features.

Designers set out to prove that a humble compact sedan doesn’t necessarily have to look boring by giving the Forte a nip-and-tuck that brings a thinner grille, a redesigned bumper, and sharper-looking headlights with individual LED accents. The changes made to the rear end are more subtle: eagle-eyed car-spotters will notice new-look lights, a different bumper, and the new logo that Kia unveiled earlier in 2021.

Inside, features from Kia’s bigger cars have trickled down to the Forte. The driver faces a bigger, 4.2-inch information screen embedded into the instrument cluster, while those sitting in the back now have a USB port at their disposal. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility is now standard across the full Forte lineup, and the infotainment system is displayed on an 8.0-inch touchscreen, though a 10.25-inch touchscreen is optional. The rest of the interior hasn’t significantly changed; the dashboard’s basic layout remains the same.

The range will include four trim levels called FE, LXS, GT-Line, and GT, respectively. The EX trim offered through 2021 has been axed, and the GT-Line is a new addition to the lineup. It gains trim-specific 17-inch wheels, a sportier-looking exterior design, LED fog lights, a sport steering wheel, the 10.25-inch touchscreen, plus a handful of electronic driving aids like Blind Spot Collision Avoidance Assist. 

Speaking of driving aids, every member of the Forte range comes with at least six systems, including Lane Following Assist (which helps keep the car in its lane). Safety-minded buyers with a thick enough wallet can order a total of 15 systems including Highway Driving Assist, which receives speed limit information from the navigation system and adjusts the car’s speed to match it when the right conditions are met.

Power for the bottom three trim levels comes from a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that sends 147 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque to the front wheels via a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Select the GT, and you’ll unlock a turbocharged, 1.6-liter four tuned to deliver 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque, figures that are respectable for the segment. Front-wheel-drive remains the only configuration available, but buyers can choose between a six-speed manual transmission and a seven-speed automatic. GT models also benefit from a sport-tuned exhaust system and a multi-link rear suspension system tuned with a focus on handling.

Built in Mexico, the 2022 Kia Forte will begin arriving on dealer lots by the end of 2021. Pricing information hasn’t been announced yet, but we know buyers will have a new option package called Technology to choose from whose content will vary depending on the trim selected.