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Kia's K4 To Premiere At The New York International Auto Show, Replacing The Forte

Last week, Kia gave a glimpse of its new model replacing the venerable Forte (typically Kia’s best selling car, and 2nd best selling vehicle overall, behind only the Sportage). It appears to be stunning and if you’re a fan of Forte, you’re in for a treat.

The new K4 design will be fully revealed this week and premiere at the New York International Auto Show. But what’s in a name? Perhaps a lot, perhaps not. The K4 is really just the new version of the Kia Forte, if you will (it is probably appropriate to simply think of this as a new name or “rebranding” of the model). But K4 aligns with Kia’s other K model, the one size up K5. We should also think of this move as aligning with Kia’s logo redesign with the 2022 model year. By not just restyling the Forte but renaming it too, Kia is honing its product line for maximum appeal.

So what’s new or worth pointing out about Kia’s newest model? Here’s a list of the three most important things we can tell you about the forthcoming K4:

1. The new K4 design looks to be sportier, more dramatically styled, and simply inspiring. It seems like it may also be slightly larger than the outgoing Forte, at least according to MotorTrend. As one of Kia’s already more appealing vehicles, due its price, efficiency, performance, and styling, this should turn up the dial a bit in terms of its interest to the younger demographic that Kia clearly courts with this model.


2. The K4 should offer excellent technology and a high-end look and feel to its interior. This is speculative of course, but the outgoing Forte has these traits and it would make absolutely no sense for Kia to otherwise change that winning approach. As Kia shared last week, the K4 has sinuous flowing lines [that] impart an aura of sleek sophistication, subtly entwined with ample space and practicality and a pure sporting ambiance. The outlines of the new body that we can see in the teaser images reveal a cutting-edge and sleek design, so it is perfectly reasonable to expect that the K4 may even step things up over the outgoing Forte and Kia will equip it with entry-level luxury options and a sporty, enthusiast-oriented design.

3. The K4 reveal may include additional surprises. Again, this is purely speculative on my part, but given that Kia is committed to the electrification of its entire lineup and the outgoing Forte is its most fuel-efficient, non-electrified model, it may be due for a hybrid (HEV) powertrain sometime in the next future.

I would not expect that the 2025 model will include an HEV option, but forthcoming model years might. I also would not expect a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) version of the K4 either (save that thought for the forthcoming all-electric Kia EV4 instead) and this is simply because Kia has previously established that their electrification strategy, long term, will not include many (or any, eventually) PHEVs. While that might change due to the fickleness of some markets (looking at you, USA), it isn’t likely that Kia will focus on bringing out additional PHEV models than the 3 they already have (the Niro PHEV, Sportage PHEV, and Sorento PHEV).

Instead, Kia will either produce full electric models (the EV4 in this case) or standard hybrids (the possible K4 HEV I am suggesting). Considering that the K4 in HEV form may get 50 MPG or more, it could help Kia better take on the likes of Toyota and their hybrid-heavy lineup.

What do you think of the new K4 design? Are you interested in sporty compact cars, especially those from Kia? Please leave any questions or comments below.

Image courtesy of Kia.

Justin Hart has owned and driven electric vehicles for over 15 years, including a first generation Nissan LEAF, second generation Chevy Volt, Tesla Model 3, an electric bicycle and most recently a Kia Sorento PHEV. He is also an avid SUP rider, poet, photographer and wine lover. He enjoys taking long EV and PHEV road trips to beautiful and serene places with the people he loves. Follow Justin on Torque News Kia or X for regular electric and hybrid news coverage.