Kia decided to roll out the Forte GT way early, showing the 2020 Forte GT at this year’s SEMA show in Las Vegas. SEMA is a good venue for this sort of thing, and the GT version is about as hot as a Forte will likely get. Hopefully, it will not get lost in the blizzard of alphabet soup that are the Forte trim levels. That would be the FE, LXS, EX, GT Line, and GT. Confusing, no?
And on top of that, within the “GT trim levels” you can pick from two: The GT1 and GT2 packages.
Luckily, we’ll only be concerning ourselves with the GT stuff.
Gloss Black Trim & Ambient Lights
The “GT Line” is mainly trim bits that make your car look fast, but it skips the stuff that actually makes it fast. I know, why would someone do this in the first place? I wouldn’t, but I guess somebody does. The GT Line offers stuff like a gloss black grille, offset by red accents. The same gloss black treatment is applied to the outside mirrors (heated and with LED turn signals), the side sills, and rear spoiler.
The GT trim does get a beefier, sport-tuned dual exhaust, 18-inch alloy wheels, and LED headlights. Inside, drivers enjoy contrast stitching, LED ambient lighting, and an illuminated GT dash inlay. The Forte GT Line also gets alloy sport pedals, a flat bottom steering wheel with white contrast stitching, and black sport cloth seats with “performance” side bolsters.
All this “racy” styling is powered by a naturally-aspirated, 2.0-liter MPI four-cylinder engine with 147 horsepower. However, it’s with the actual GT that things get more interesting in the engine room. The GT features a turbocharged 1.6-liter DOHC I4 plant with gasoline direct injection. The engine puts out 201 horsepower and 195 lb-ft. of torque, sent to the front wheels through a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual clutch automatic.
Safety & Infotainment
A whole bunch of tech, safety, and convenience stuff is found throughout the 2020 Forte GT. Dubbed “Kia Drive Wise,” all the goodies are standard. There’s Forward Collision Warning, Forward Collision Avoidance Assist, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keeping Assist-Line, and Driver Attention Warning. Available options include Blind Spot Collision Warning with Lane Change Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Collision Warning, and Smart Cruise Control.
Both GT packages come with LED overhead lighting, a sunroof, and a 320-watt Harman Kardon eight-speaker audio system. Wireless charging, a 4.2-inch LCD screen, and dual-zone automatic air conditioning? Check.
Pricing & Availability
Price? Kia only says it will be announced closer to the Forte’s on-sale date for the 2020 model year. However, you have to figure it won’t break the bank. C’mon, this is a Kia. Exorbitantly priced, they’re not.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format. Follow his work on Twitter:@TonyBorroz