Wheels.ca | Lee Bailie | 01/14/2019

MONTREAL – Kia’s all-new compact Forte sedan will soon have a stablemate now that the Korean auto giant has taken the wraps off the 2020 Forte5 hatchback.

Set to begin arriving in Canadian showrooms next fall, the Forte5 sports a design that is heavily influenced by its European (Procee’d) and Korean (K3 GT) cousins, carrying what Kia Canada reps are calling ‘GT Line’ treatments that are aiming to give the car a sportier hot hatch look and feel.

Bottom line, Kia wants it to be the performance ‘bad boy’ (their words, not mine) of the Forte family.

“We’re confident that this new Kia Forte5 delivers on what Canadians want – a sporty, yet practical Hatchback that is great to look at, fun to drive, safe and connects to their unique lives,” Michael Kopke, Director of Marketing, Kia Canada said in a statement.

Specific trims and detailed specifications aren’t yet available, but the Montreal reveal did cover the basics which I’ll run through here.

Dimensionally, the new Forte5 is longer (160 mm), wider (20 mm) and slightly shorter than the outgoing car and rides on a wheelbase that is unchanged (2,700 mm).

The Forte5 will be powered by a choice of two four-cylinder engines, a 2.0-litre normally aspirated unit and a more powerful 1.6-litre turbo.  Two transmissions will be available: a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic, or Kia’s new Intelligent Variable Transmission (think CVT).

Kia Canada reps didn’t confirm the power output of each engine but the 2.0-litre puts out 147 horsepower and 132 lb-ft. of torque in the Forte sedan, while the 1.6-litre turbo produces 201 / 195 in the outgoing Forte5. Those figures aren’t likely to change much (if at all) in the new Forte5.

Those opting for the 1.6-litre turbo will get additional performance kit, including a rear multi-link suspension with a specially tuned spring and damper package, 18-inch alloy wheels, 16-inch front disc brakes, dual exhaust finishers, D-shaped steering wheel, paddle shifters and more.

A wide array of safety kit also comes standard on all models, including blind spot collision warning, lane keeping assist, driver-attention warning, forward collision-avoidance assist and smart cruise control.

Along with the Forte5, three other Kias were also shown in Canada for the first time in Montreal. All will be on display later this week when the Montreal International Auto Show (Jan. 18-27) kicks off.

Like the Forte5, pricing and complete trim specifications for all will be announced closer to launch.

2020 Soul

The third-generation Soul subcompact SUV arrives this spring with an all-new design, updated technology offerings and more available safety equipment.

On the powertrain front Kia Canada has confirmed the 2.0-litre 4-cylinder engine and Intelligent Variable Transmission shared with the Forte5 will be offered.

In terms of technology, a 640-watt harman / kardon audio system and variable ambient lighting system that can be tailored to suit a variety of different moods will be available, along with a cell phone charge pad, 10.25-inch HD colour display and 8-inch head-up display.

Like the Forte 5, the Soul will be available with a slew of advanced safety kit including blind spot collision warning, lane keeping assist, forward collision-avoidance assist, and more.

2020 Soul EV

The pure electric Soul EV is also all-new for the 2020 model year and will bring with it a fresh design, a new battery and, like its gas-powered sibling, improved infotainment tech and a wider offering of safety kit.

The Soul EV’s new battery is a 64 kWh liquid-cooled lithium ion polymer unit that comes standard with Combined Charging System DC fast charge, which means the battery can be charged to a range of 135 km in about 30 minutes. The projected range is not yet available as testing is still underway.

As for power, the new Soul EV’s electric motor will generate 201 horsepower and 291 lb-ft. of torque. Regenerative braking technology – a process which harnesses kinetic energy recovered from braking and uses it to charge the battery – is also standard equipment.

On the tech front, the Soul EV can also be had with a 10.25-inch HD colour touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a wide array of safety equipment including forward collision warning, lane departure warning, smart cruise control and more.

The Soul EV is set to begin arriving in Canadian dealerships this summer.

 2019 Niro EV

The second pure electric to join Kia’s lineup is the all-new Niro EV, which rounds out a family which also includes gas and plug-in hybrid variants.

The Niro EV utilizes the same 64 kWh lithium ion battery as the one found in the Soul EV and its electric motor has the same power output (201 hp / 291 lb-ft.). It also comes standard with regenerative braking, has the same Combined Charging System with DC fast charging capability and has a range of 383 kilometres.

In terms of tech, all Niro EVs come with an 8-inch colour touchscreen and 8-speaker harman / kardon audio system, along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The Niro EV will go on sale in early spring.