Competes with: Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus hatchback, Hyundai Elantra GT, Mazda3
Looks like: Kia's built themselves a VW GTI-killer
Drivetrain: 201-hp, turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder in SX trim or 173-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder in EX trim, six-speed manual or automatic transmissions
Hits dealerships: Summer 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.