2025 Kia K4 Debuts in New York, Set to Replace Forte

2025 Kia K4 GT-Line

The fun Kia K5 mid-size sports sedan may be leaving our market for 2025 – and believe us when we say that’s a darn shame – but the “K” nomenclature will live on at Kia in the form of the K4 compact, which made its world debut at the New York International Auto Show this week.

The K4 is a replacement for the Forte but it’s doing so in grand fashion with bigger interior digs, new styling and new tech.

Styling-wise, the K4 is an interesting study in that it’s actually adopting some cues that we’ve seen on Kia’s various electrified models such as the Niro or EV9. Most notable in this regard are the headlights, which get a stacked bulb look that debuted on said EV9, as well as LED DRLs that form a bit of a “t” shape ’round the outside edges of the headlight lenses. Those even get a bit of the zig-zag look that debuted on the K5, styled to create the image of a heartbeat on an EKG machine.

If that’s not enough to get your heart racing then perhaps the two-tone 18-inch wheels, subtle fender flares and most notably the profile view where you get a good look at the very unique c-pillar treatment. It’s part of what Kia’s calling the “Opposites United” design language, which means…something. Putting all the marketing jargon aside, though, the way the C-pillar seems to divide the car into sort of a top and bottom halves is a neat touch. It’s almost as if they had the bottom portion and dropped the greenhouse on top, in like a modular fit kind of way. It’s cool.

2025 Kia K4 GT-Line

Could be cooler as well, if Kia were to perhaps take the Honda Civic Si route and add even a little more flare in the form of perhaps a trunk spoiler, maybe some slightly larger wheels or a deeper front splitter. Nothing’s confirmed in that vein just yet but in speaking with Kia design chief Karim Habib, well, let’s just say that he likes that idea as well.

Also potentially adding to the coolness factor is the addition of a hatchback model. They didn’t have one on display at the show, but they have confirmed that it is coming to the US for sure — we’ll have to play a little wait-and-see in Canada. Knowing how much Canadians like their hatchbacks, though — especially in the big Quebec market — we suspect it will likely be making its way here as well.

Inside, the dash is a full-digital affair with matching digital gauge and infotainment displays that combine to provide 30” of overall digital space. Wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are also here as is Google Built-In tech, which means standard fitment of Google Maps for your native navigation, Google Assistant and Google Play Store.

2025 Kia K4 GT-Line

Sitting inside the K4, we found it to be surprisingly spacious both front and back, which is impressive for what it is. The way the dash is canted slightly toward the driver is also a nice touch, as is the chunky fl\t-bottom steering wheel.

Power comes from one of two engines: a 2.0-litre naturally aspirated four cylinder good for 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque, and a 1.6L turbocharged unit with 195 hp and 190 lb-ft. The 2.0 engine comes with an intelligently variable automatic gearbox, while the turbo gets an eight-speed automatic. There is no manual option and front-wheel-drive is your only choice.

It’s all good, but the turbo makes slightly less power than does the outgoing Forte when similarly equipped but Kia insists that thanks to the K4’s chassis tuning, it will feel plenty sporty even with the dip in power.


Look for the 2025 Kia K4 in dealers in Q3 ’24, and watch for pricing closer to that time.


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