LOS ANGELES -- Kia will replace its best-selling Spectra this summer with the Forte, a slightly bigger and more powerful sedan.
A coupe version of the Forte -- Kias first coupe -- will follow in the fall. No hatchback version will be offered to replace the Spectra5 hatchback.
The U.S. version of the Forte has not been priced.
The Forte, which debuted in Korea last August, is 178.3 inches long and 69.9 inches wide, 1.1 inches longer and 1.6 inches wider than the 2009 Spectra. It sits on a 104.3-inch wheelbase, compared with the Spectras 102.8-inch wheelbase.
The base LX trim line will be powered by a 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine that produces 156 hp and 144 pounds-feet of torque. That compares with the 2009 Spectras 138 hp and 136 pounds-feet of torque. Added to the lineup is a 2.4-liter 173-hp I-4 that will be standard on the sporty SX trim. That engine produces 168 pounds-feet of torque.
The SX gets a standard six-speed manual transmission or optional five-speed automatic with manual mode. The LX and EX trim lines have a standard five-speed manual or optional four-speed automatic.
Estimated fuel economy is 25 mpg city/34 mpg highway for the four-speed automatic, up from 24/32 for the 2009 Spectra. The new five-speed automatic model gets an estimated 26/36 mpg. Estimates for the manual versions are unavailable.
Standard equipment on the base model includes a six-way adjustable drivers seat; an adjustable steering wheel; side curtain airbags; antilock brakes; electronic stability control and traction control; Bluetooth; and USB ports.
The EX and SX versions add standard power windows and door locks; keyless entry; air conditioning; cruise control; and a six-speaker, surround-sound audio system.
Kia was one of only three brands that increased U.S. sales in January from January 2008. Spectras sales rose 19.6 percent to 5,810 units.