Written by Kami Buchholz

Kia&quot;s 2019&nbsp;Forte compact sedan gets the spicy exterior design cues of the Kia Stinger fastback sports sedan and improved mpg with the&nbsp;first production &quot;intelligent&quot; variable transmission from parent Hyundai. &quot;We&quot;re a newcomer to the CVT (continuously variable transmission), but we&quot;ve also had the benefit of learning from everybody who&quot;s been before us,&quot; Orth Hedrick, vice president of product planning for Kia Motors America, said in an Automotive Engineering interview prior to the 2019 Kia Forte&quot;s world debut at the 2018 North American International Auto Show. The in-house-engineered IVT&nbsp;is considered a next-generation CVT. &quot;We tried as much as possible to make the IVT feel like a normal step-transmission,&quot; Hedrick said. To accomplish that, Kia engineers built the IVT with adaptive style shift logic and a chain-link-type&nbsp;belt instead of a push belt--an industry first in the compact class. Hedrick said that having a next-generation CVT with smooth, linear acceleration will appeal to drivers accustomed to a conventional automatic transmission. &quot;When you drive the car with the IVT, it feels like an automatic because of the step shift-like feel. It&quot;s more natural, more responsive. And the IVT avoids the droning&quot; that can occur when you accelerate. And more importantly, it delivers all the benefits of a wide gear range that a CVT offers,&quot; Hedrick said. Kia&quot;s IVT has a sound-insulating transmission cover. The third-generation Forte is expected to have the same rated power (147 hp/110 kW) and torque (132 lb ft/179 N m) as the 2018 Forte. &quot;We&quot;re expecting a jump of 3 mpg in the combined city/highway,&quot; Hedrick said, pointing out official U.S. EPA fuel economy ratings will be announced closer to the vehicle&quot;s launch date later in 2018. Either a 6-speed manual transmission or the IVT will be mated to Kia&quot;s second-generation&nbsp;&nbsp;2.0-L 4-cylinder engine, part of the Hyundai &quot;Nu&quot; family. &quot;We&quot;ve added a lot of knowledge to the Nu engine that we&quot;ve learned from working with our hybrid systems--cooled EGR system, Atkinson cycle--and a lot of other details to get the efficiency up even higher,&quot; said Hedrick. The 2019 Forte&quot;s structure has more hot-stamped components and advanced high strength steel. Engineers also put an emphasis on increasing the rigidity, netting a claimed 16% overall stiffer body-in-white for a quieter cabin and better handling. New subframe designs help improve lateral responsiveness, and the steering feel has improved with enhancements to the motor-driven power steering system. Next-generation Forte retains its 106.3-in (2700-mm) wheelbase while&nbsp;overall length increases from 179.5 in to 182.7-in (4640-mm). Overall width grows from 70.1 in to 70.9 in/1801 mm). The cargo capacity also increased (from 14.9 cft3 to 15.1&nbsp;ft3/427 L). <br /><br />Other changes for the 2019 model: exterior design cues from the Stinger fastback sports sedan, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay availability, and a standard 8-in color touchscreen.

Date written: 15-Jan-2018 08:10 EST

More of this article on the SAE International Website

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