Update: A Kia spokesperson responded to our inquiry about the K3, saying "Kia US has made no official announcement regarding K3 and has no further comment at this time."
The Kia Forte and Kia Rio have been the automakers only small cars in US since the duo debuted in the mid-2000s. Now, Kia has released a new small sedan for Mexico called K3. But, as the brand renames and revitalizes its US lineup, could the K3 act as a single replacement to Kia's current small cars?
In terms of sizing, the K3 slots neatly between the subcompact Rio and the compact Forte. It's 178.9 inches long (4,545 millimeters), which makes it bigger than the Rio (172.6 inches) yet slightly smaller than the compact Forte (182.7 inches). It also has 19.2 cubic feet (544 liters) compared to the Rio sedan's 13.4 and the Forte's 15.3 cubes.
If this newly revealed Kia K3 looks familiar, that's because it shares a number of exterior design elements with the larger K5. The headlight fixtures framed by Kia's ubiquitous Tiger Nose grille are familiar, as is the full-width taillight bar on the rear. And like the larger K5 (even vaguely similar to the EV6), the compact K3 has a "fastback-style" silhouette.
The interior, too, falls in line with the rest of the Kia lineup. The K3 combines a 4.2-inch digital instrument cluster screen with a 10.3-inch touchscreen under a single piece of glass that extends from the driver's side to the center console. Finally, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard here.
Power comes from two four-cylinder engine options: a 1.6-liter unit or a punchier 2.0-liter option. The smaller engine doles out 122 horsepower (or 91 kilowatts) while the larger 2.0-liter is exclusive to the GT-Line trim and delivers 150 hp (112 kW). The former engine is available with either a six-speed manual or automatic and the larger motor comes with a six-speed manual exclusively.
As mentioned, the new Kia K3 debuted in Mexico where the compact will be built. But there are still plenty of details don't know about the small sedan, like whether or not it will officially come to the US as a Forte replacement.
But considering that Kia has been selling the rebranded Forte as the K3 in markets outside of the US, and given the recent Optima/K5 rebrand, it wouldn't be surprising if this small sedan comes to America with the same name. Kia should release more info in the coming months.