The forthcoming 2010 Kia Forte sedan is designed to compete in the segment that is pretty well dominated by the likes of the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic.
But Tom Kearns, chief designer at Kia Design America, pointed out that the Mazda3 has to be considered part of the mix, too, especially as it has a comparatively powerful exterior design. So when they set about to develop a competitor, they decided to go for the distinctive. Kearns said that designing a compact sedan is “difficult” compared with vehicles that are bigger or inherently more distinctive (e.g., coupe). So they decided for the Forte to try something that is “different, unique,” compared with the competitors. This is most evident if you look at the intersection of the A-pillar with the hood and the front fender. Not only does this provide a strong front shoulder, but also a slight powerdome in the hood (it will be available with a 156-hp 2.0-liter or a 173-hp 2.4-liter four, so we’re not getting too carried away here). Also notice how the horizontal line is not contiguous with the beltline, which descends from the body side of the A-pillar. Adjectives that Kearns used to describe what is going on with the Forte design include: sporty, youthful, athletic, and edgy. Especially the latter, we think.—GSV