Despite the SUV craze, a new spy video shows Kia remains committed to sedans in the United States by testing a new three-box car in California. As to which model we’re dealing with here, it seems larger than the K3 compact sedan unveiled in early August. At the same time, it also looks different than the K5. With that in mind, it could be a Forte successor and land for the 2025 model year since the 2024MY is already on sale in the US.
When it does eventually arrive, it might come with a name change since Kia is apparently looking to drop the Forte in favor of K4 as the company tends to prefer alphanumeric designations nowadays. Much like the Optima is now called the K5, this smaller sedan could also receive a simplified moniker. Bear in mind that K4 wouldn’t be an all-new name since there was a sedan in China bearing this name from 2014 until 2020.
As for the prototype at hand, it seemingly has the full production body and wide lights both front and rear. The yet-to-be-confirmed 2025 Forte rides on two-tone wheels that appear to be borrowed from the Hyundai Elantra while the rear door handles are “hidden” near the C-pillar. The test vehicle stalked at a red light had its cabin partially exposed, revealing a side-by-side screen layout that’s becoming more and more common in 2023.
It’s unclear when the K4 will be unveiled for the US market, but it’s likely not going to happen anytime soon considering the 2024 Forte was announced only a few days ago. The larger K5 sedan has been officially confirmed to get a mid-cycle facelift before the end of this year. In the same timeframe, the South Korean brand also intends to introduce an updated Carnival minivan, complete with a hybrid powertrain.
While the Forte is staying and the K5 is being revised, the smaller Rio is being dropped after the 2023 model year in the United States. However, it is being replaced by the new K3 sedan in other markets.