The Kia Cerato (also known as Kia Spectra in the United States) is a compact car produced by the South Korean automaker Kia Motors since 2003. In 2008, the Cerato was replaced by the Kia Forte, however, the “Cerato” name continues to be used in some markets.
The Kia Cerato was introduced in South Korea in 2003, sharing a platform with the Hyundai Elantra (XD) and using Hyundai’s Beta II (G4GC) (CVVT-enabled) four-cylinder engine.
It replaced the Sephia/Mentor sedan and Shuma hatchback.
In North America, the “Spectra” name was used when introduced for the 2004 model year, with “Spectra5” designating the hatchback. For Latin American markets, the Cerato was still named Sephia until 2005, when it was discontinued in favor of the name Spectra. In Europe, the Cerato was replaced by the Kia Cee’d.
For the Malaysian market, the first generation Spectra was launched in Malaysia on August 15, 2007 as the “Spectra5” available only with one trim level and with the hatchback bodystyle powered by a 1.6 litre four cylinder 16 valve DOHC CVVT engine with a 4-speed automatic transmission.
The second generation Kia Cerato was launched in South Korea in late 2008 under the Kia Forte name – a name that was used in most international markets. The “Cerato” name has been retained in some markets, such as Australia, Iran, South Africa and Brazil. In Singapore, the second generation model is badged “Kia Cerato Forte”.
In July 2012, Kia unveiled the next-generation Cerato as the Korean-market Kia K3. The sedan is sold in the United States as the Forte. A coupe and five-door hatchback were released later on.
The new Cerato is produced in South Korea at Kia’s Hwasung Plant and in Mexico at Kia’s Pesquería Plant.
On January 15, 2018 at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, Kia unveiled the third generation Forte sedan. Taking styling cues from the Kia Stinger, the new Forte adopts a cab rearward exterior, resulting in a fastback profile and a short trunklid. The car is constructed with 54% advanced high-strength steel that is stronger than the outgoing model. The Forte will be offered with a 2.0L I4 carried over from the second generation model mated to either a six-speed manual transmission or Kia’s first CVT.
The Kia Forte is available in three trim levels: base LX, mid-level S, and top-level EX, and went on sale in the fall of 2018 as a 2019 model year vehicle.