When you think of Kia locally, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Is it the Carnival minivan that we recently reviewed or the popular Stonic crossover that has been ever so present on our Philippine roads lately? Maybe the small Picanto or Soluto the brand offers? Ah, maybe the newest Sorento?

Everyone has different preferences when it comes to what car or SUV they want from the Korean brand. One model, in particular, has been updated abroad and even received a price bump.  

It's the 2023 Kia Forte, and it has received a sleeker and sportier update. We aren’t talking about the one Kia Forte GT we got to review years ago, we are talking about the one that was given a fresh new look complete with a redesigned “tiger nose” grille across the Pacific.

Good looks, and thats it: 2023 Kia Forte update image

You would expect the 2023 Kia Forte to have an improved powertrain but it still has the same 1.6-liter turbocharged engine that delivers 201 PS and 265 Nm of torque. Power is then sent to the front wheels via a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission.

What it has now, however, is a more stylish exterior that gives off an overall sportier-looking visual appearance. We get a fresh new front bumper with three-point LED fog lights arranged diagonally in the GT trim level. This is also available for the GT-Line grade with different LED taillights. To complement the flashy vibe, it gets new 17-inch designed wheels. The 2023 model will also come standard with updated advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).

Good looks, and thats it: 2023 Kia Forte update image

Locally, the Forte’s rivals are the Corolla Altis and the Civic. Both competitors offer different levels of comfort and performance. The Forte’s new look is a step in the right direction and it won't be long before it steps up and challenges established nameplates in the segment.

The only question now is, will Kia Philippines actually bring the sportier-looking 2023 Forte to the Philippine market?