The Forte sedan gets new sheetmetal, a new transmission and much better fuel mileage. It is longer, wider and taller. Unfortunately, this does not result in a larger cabin, with the exception of a couple inches more rear shoulder room and a slightly roomier trunk. Weight is down.
A new entry-level model, the FE is the only Forte to offer a manual transmission. For $900 it can be upgraded to a CVT (continuously variable transmission), replacing last year's 6-speed automatic. The FE is the only model without a 60/40 split in its folding rear seat. The EX loses its more powerful 2.0-liter engine and has to make do with the same 147-horsepower engine as the rest of the lineup.
The suspension system is the same with a semi-independent rear and struts in the front. The steering has been tightened significantly, with a much quicker steering ratio and fewer turns need on the steering wheel. Turning circle is the same: 34.8, about average for the class.
Tire sizes are the same: 15" - 17" wheels. The EX now offers a compact spare. Other trims still make do with a tire repair kit and a phone number for Kia's 5-year roadside assistance.
Optional LED headlights are available on S and EX, replacing the HIDs from last year. Automatic on-off headlights with daytime running lights are now standard. Heated mirrors are now only installed on EX. Smart Cruise Control, Automatic High Beams and rear parking sonar are offered now, optional on EX.
A 10-way power heated ventilated seat is now standard on EX. Memory for the driver's seat is no longer available.
Dual zone automatic climate control is now standard on all models. EX models still have rear vents for the air-conditioning.
Forward Collision Warning, Forward Collision Avoidance, Lane Departure Warning (autonomous braking), Driver Attention Warning (monitors steering action and detects inattention or drowsiness) and rear backup camera are all now standard.
The near-luxury Kia is all-new for 2019.
On a longer wheelbase (a whopping 122.2 inches), and trading in its V6 and V8 for a twin-turbocharged V6 shared with the new Stinger, the new K900 also gets all-wheel drive for the first time, standard.
As is the trend, the K900 is loaded to the gills with active safety features. Blind spot warning with intervention, rear cross-traffic warning with active braking, forward collision warning with autonomous braking, Smart Cruise Control, Lane Keeping Assist and automatic high beams are all standard. Taking a page from Honda and stretching it, the K900 has dual blind spot cameras. Activated with the turn signals, small cameras mounted in the side view cameras display the area to the appropriate rear side area in the dashboard monitor.
A new Niro S Touring splits the difference between the EX and Touring. A stabilizer bar is added to the rear suspension for flatter cornering. No changes to the Plug-In Hybrid.
Refreshed for 2019, the Optima has new daytime running lights, a new grille and new wheel designs.
The LX 1.6T goes away, but its 1.6-liter turbocharged engine and 7-speed dual-clutch automated transmission is inherited by the Optima EX.
Forward Collision Warning, Forward Collision-Avoidance Assistance (autonomous brakes), Lane Departure Warning, Driver Attention Warning, Daytime running Lights and a folding rear armrest are now standard on all models.
Automtic High Beams, Advanced Smart Cruise and Navigation are now standard on SX.
Adaptive Cruise Control is now standard on EX. Memory seats no longer standard on EX: optional. Heated steering wheel is now available on EX.
The Optima Hybrid is a carry-over model. The changes for the 2019 model Optima will come later to the hybrid models. In the meantime, only one model is offered: EX; the Smart Trunk, blind spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert and rear parking assist are standard, and other features of the EX are made optional.
Optima Plug-In Hybrid
The Optima Plug-In Hybrid is also carry-over. Parking Distance Warning-Reverse (park sonar), blind spot warning and rear cross-traffic warning are now standard.
The top level EX trim level is gone and the Rio 5-Door also loses the entry level LX, so consolidation is the theme after a complete re-design for 2018. Models left: LX Sedan, S Sedan and S 5-door. Map lights, power mirrors with heating elements, Bluetooth and a rear backup camera are now standard, but a telescoping steering wheel is no longer available. The forward collision warning with automatic braking moves to an option on S models.
The biggest change: #SavetheManuals the manual transmission is gone, leaving a six-speed automatic as the standard transmission. Also, with the EX dead, the 4-wheel disc brakes are no longer on the table, just basic front disc rear drum.
An eight-speed automatic improves performance over the discontinued 6-speed.
The grille and the lights are refreshed. Wheel designs are new for all trims. The interior also gets new style, designs and materials. Wireless charging is offered.
Dynamic Bending Light is now only available on SXL; it's standard. Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Warning are now standard on all but Sedona L. Driver Attention Warning, that monitors the driver's actions for inattention or drowsiness, is standard on EX, SX and SXL. Also standard on those models and no longer offered on LX: Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Warning, Forward Collision Avoidance (automatic braking), Smart Cruise Control and a new Electronic Parking Brake.
Automatic High Beams and Around View Monitor are now standard on SX (still standard on SXL).
Other options are shuffled.
The 2.0-liter turbocharged engine offered in the EX is discontinued, leaving the base 2.4-liter 4-cylinder and the 3.3 V6. The 3.3 V6 now comes with an eight-speed automatic transmission, adding two gears over last year's 6-speed, which is still offered on the 4-cylinder engine. Fuel mileage is also up about 1 MPG on most powertrains. A diesel turbocharged 4-cylinder diesel is coming later.
The exterior gets a mild refresh, resulting in over an inch and a half increase in overall length.
There is no longer a 5-Passenger Sorento; seven passenger seating is standard.
A backup camera is now standard across the board. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are also standard.
Rain-sensitive wipers are no longer standard on SX: they're optional and still standard on SXL. Daytime running lights are now offered: optional on SX, standard on SXL.
Second-row power folding seats (down only) are now standard on all models. Heated steering wheel now also optional on EX, still optional on SX and standard on SXL.
LX models are added to the list of trims that have one-touch up/down windows front and rear. LX also now has standard blind spot warning and rear cross traffic warning.
Lane Keep Assist is now included with Lane Departure Warning, standard on EX, SX and SXL along with Advanced Smart Cruise Control, Forward Collision Warning and Forward Collision Avoidance (automatic braking). Driver Alert, available for the first time on Sorento, is also included; this feature monitors driver activity and steering and warns if the driver is drowsy or distracted.
A backup camera is now standard on all models. So is voice control, automatic headlights and a 5-inch touch screen for the radio.
The entry-level "Soul EV -e" model is discontinued, leaving "Soul EV" and "Soul EV +" Without the negatively charged version, will the charges balance, anymore?
The change means navigation and UVO connected services are standard on all remaining trim levels.
Heated rear seats are no longer offered. No other changes.
Limited slip differential is now standard on all GT models. Full LED headlights, Navigation and the Harman/Kardon Premium stereo are now optional on base 2.0L. Automatic high beams and rain-sensing wipers are now only available and standard on Premium, GT1 and GT2.
Premium and GT1 models now also get front ventilated seats. GT2 models also get heated rear outboard seats.
A Surround View Monitor with a full 360-degree view is now available: standard on GT2. Blind Spot Warning with Lane Change Assist is now standard on all models. Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Warning, Forward Collision Warning, Forward Collision Avoidance Assist, Lane Keep Assist, Smart Cruise Control and Driver Attention Warning are standard on Premium, GT1 and GT2 and not available otherwise.