The Kia Forte5 is the forthcoming hatchback variation of last year’s new Forte sedan but packs some interesting and timely updates that make this one of the few hot hatches offered in the U.S. market. The highlights include a powerful turbocharged engine, sophisticated front and rear LED lighting, and a cabin with some boy-racer appeal via carbon-fiber-style surfaces and a six-speed manual box.
Let’s face it: hot hatches just aren’t sexy here. As much as our Euro counterparts get excited about the Fiesta ST , there’s a collective “huh?” in U.S. showrooms over the same car. It just seems too tall, too narrow and diminutive for someone to commit to years of payments. The Honda Civic Si is about as close to the recipe as possible and even this is only offered in staid sedan or also-staid coupe bodywork.
This is set to change with the new Forte5. The name is the dorkiest part: the style of low, crisp and wide proportions makes this car look more like a slammed Sportage or Cayenne than an econobox. The mechanical packages on the Kia show a half-step improvement versus corporate sibling Hyundai , with the turbo engine finally delivering some of the sportiness Kia says defines its products.
So where does the Forte5 site within the Forte line that also includes sedans and coupes? Right in that hot-hatch sweet spot, just moved a little further toward “cool” from the embarrassing current hatchbacks: the Ford Fiesta and Chevrolet Spark .
Click past the jump for the full review of the Forte5 ahead of its arrival in U.S. dealers at the end of summer 2013.