The Forte is dead. Long live the K4. Kia will replace the compact sedan with a new car scheduled to debut on March 27 at the New York Auto Show. Before that happens, the design is going to be revealed in a week from today. Meanwhile, these teaser images will have to make do. It already looks a lot different than the outgoing model, which is sold in some markets as the Cerato.

The 2025 Kia K4 shares some styling cues with the K3 introduced in August 2023. That car is smaller and acts as a Rio replacement but it’s not coming to the United States. We are getting the new K4, complete with droopy lights reminding us of a Cadillac. We’ve tweaked the exposure and brightness of the official images to unlock more design details of Kia’s Corolla fighter. That weird rear pillar we saw in spy shots and renderings is now confirmed.

Eagle-eyed readers will notice the rear door handles are no longer where they’re supposed to be, having been “hidden” at the base of the pillar. What’s after them is strange, with an oddly shaped quarter glass that gives the illusion it’s partially hiding behind the quarter panel. It’s certainly an unconventional design approach but not a surprise since Kia has been rather daring lately with its styling.

The new K4 seems bigger than the Forte it’s about to replace. It’s the latest in a long string of sedans to adopt an alphanumeric designation. The K5 used to be the Optima while the Cadenza became the K7 before being subsequently replaced by the K8. Kia killed the Cadenza and K900 in the United States after the 2021 model year. The Stinger – which was technically a liftback/hatchback – is gone as well.

This upcoming sedan is likely to be heavily related to the Hyundai Elantra, which got a nip and tuck in mid-2023. The Forte replacement should remain affordable considering the outgoing car is one of the few remaining models priced at less than $20,000, although it crosses that threshold when you add destination fees.


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