Kia Previews The Updated 2022 Forte, Will Likely Take On ‘K3’ Name In The U.S.: News

This updated model should launch in the U.S. later this year, or in early 2022

2022 Kia K3
The Kia Forte last saw an update for the 2018 model year, but the 2022 version will bring a new name as well as a facelifted appearance. (Photos: Kia)

In a world of SUVs, Kia is still holding on to sedans.

As cars like the Seltos, Sorento and Telluride grab all the limelight in our crossover-crazy world, it’s worth remembering Kia does still have a small four-door offering in the Forte. Alongside the restyled K5, the South Korean automaker plans to launch an updated version of its compact sedan on April 20. Before that, though, they shared revealing photos, so we already more or less know what to expect.

More significant than the photos, however, is the (likely) name change. In the same spirit as the K5 formerly known as Optima, the Forte name will likely disappear in favor of ‘K3’ when this car reaches the U.S.

Styling changes to the Korean model include new LED headlights as well as the new corporate logo adorning the hood. The top part of the grille actually loses a bit of chrome (again, very K5-ish), and the piece is also a bit wider to integrate the headlights into the overall design. Around the back, the taillight strip running across the trunk also sees an updated look. Instead of solid, angular taillights, here you get the same dashed design that distinguishes the daytime running lights up front. The rear bumper also gets a few tweaks, with narrower turn signals and the same tiger nose styling that you see with the grille. There’s no small cutout for the exhaust here, though, which is a bit disappointing.

2022 Kia K3

Most interior changes center on the driver’s compartment

Inside, changes to the 2022 Kia K3 are minor from the car we know now. Again, there’s a new corporate logo on the steering wheel, and the other controls are broadly the same. However, there is one notable development in that higher-spec versions appear to get a fully-digital instrument cluster, rather than just the multi-function display with analog gauges. There’s also a larger infotainment screen on tap, which is a nice touch for a smaller, economy-minded car.

Under the hood, it’s likely the 2022 Kia K3 will keep the same engine lineup as before. A 2.0-liter naturally-aspirated four-cylinder will round out the entry-level versions, though it may be CVT only. The GT model, on the other hand, should keep its 1.6-liter turbocharged four-banger with a 7-speed dual clutch. I personally hope they keep the 6-speed manual as the standard option, but you know…three pedal models are getting harder and harder to find these days.

Kia should announce more information on the U.S. launch later this year, after the April 20 debut in Korea. Pricing is anyone’s guess, but the Forte has always made a strong value case. We wouldn’t expect the updated 2022 Kia K3 to be substantially more expensive.

Check out more of Kia’s teaser (in Korean) below: