In a sea of crossovers and SUVs, it’s refreshing to see the good ol’ hatchback is not dead yet. After unveiling the updated K3 sedan in South Korea (Cerato / Forte in other markets) last week, Kia is now coming out with the K3 GT as its five-door counterpart with a performance twist. The GT adds some spice to the compact hatch available in Canada (but not in the United States) as the Forte5 GT.
It gets the same styling revisions as the four-door sedan, with updated LED lights at the front and rear along with. The GT also boasts red accents on the front grille and a pseudo rear diffuser flanked by dual exhaust tips. It’s not a fully fledged Volkswagen Golf GTI rival, but the K3 GT has some sporty credentials thanks to a multi-link rear suspension, Bilstein shock absorbers, Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires, and upgraded brakes over the normal version.
The changes continue inside the cabin where there’s a fully digital 10.25-inch driver’s display accompanied by a touchscreen infotainment of the same size. Red accents spruce up the interior, and so do the shift pedals behind the steering wheel along with the aluminum pedals. There are only two of them as the K3 GT is offered with a dual-clutch, seven-speed automatic transmission.
At the heart of the warm hatch is a turbocharged 1.6-liter gasoline engine producing 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet (265 Newton-meters) of torque. That’s the exact same amount of power offered by the Forte5 GT in Canada where the model is also an automatic-only affair. These are decent numbers for an affordable hatch, with the South Korean version priced from the equivalent of $23,600 before options. The pre-facelift Canadian model retails from 27,595 CAD (22,100 USD).
Kia has also released additional images of the KDM-spec K3 Sedan highlighting some of the other improvements introduced with the mid-cycle update, such as the electric parking brake. The extended gallery also includes photos of the lower-spec trim level with halogen lights (with LED DRLs), manual air conditioning, an analog instrument cluster, and a tiny center display.
The sedan is coming to the US where it could lose the Forte badge and opt for K3 in the same vein as the Optima is now the K5. There had been rumors about the hatchback’s return stateside after the Forte5 was listed in the California Air Resources Board (CARB) with a 1.6-liter engine, but Kia denied such plans back in June 2019. Time will tell whether the facelifted version will make a comeback.