Kia reveals its long-awaited Spectra/ Cerato replacement, the Forte compact sedan. Two engines available at launch, both 1.6-liter, one turbo diesel. US sales begin in mid-2009.

Today Kia fans all over the world are popping bottles of Kool Aid. Why you might ask? If you are one of them you’ll already know, but if not I’ll fill you in. It’s because the new Kia Forte sedan has been revealed. Forte will replace Cerato/ Spectra models and is under concrete plans to move 220,000 units per year, of which 50,000 will be in home market South Korea alone. It has taken Kia just over two years to bring the car to life, from paper to public, a remarkable achievement even in this day and age of CAD and automated manufacturing processes.

When we get under the skin of Forte we find a 124 bhp 1.6-liter gas motor, and a 1.6-liter turbo diesel plant of 128 bhp. A 2.0-liter version is on the cards to supplement the range. The cars are expected to be priced from around USD11,500 when they hit US showroom floors mid-2009, and a coupe variant will show up too. This is based on the Koup Concept seen at the New York Auto Show. The Korean examples will be fitted with a number of ‘bigger car’ accessories like Bluetooth, lots of airbags, and a navigation system with voice recognition.

But what do you WCFans make of the Forte’s design, inside and out? Is it cutting edge, does it rub you up the nose a bit, does it stand out in your opinion?

Gallery: Kia Forte Fully Revealed