The YD-generation Kia Forte has made its North American debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show. We provided you with some details when it first launched in Korea as the K3 some months ago; now we have details of the US-market car to add on to that.

A product of Kia’s American Design Centre in Irvine, California, the new Forte is longer, lower and wider than its predecessor, with the wheelbase extended by 50 mm to 2,700 mm and the boot space increased to 421 litres. The drag coefficient is down to 0.27 from 0.29, while the bodyshell is 37% more rigid.

Offered in the States in LX (1.8 litre) and EX (2.0 litre) variants, the latest Forte is scheduled to hit their dealerships in the first quarter of 2013, sitting between the Rio and Optima. Both engines feature dual CVVT and a lightweight intake manifold.

The 1.8 litre engine sends 148 hp and 177 Nm of torque to either a manual or automatic gearbox (both six-speed) while the 2.0 litre unit sends 173 hp and 209 Nm of torque to the six-speed auto only. Reports say that most export markets outside North America will get 1.6 and 2.0 litre powerplants. The Korean-market 1.6 litre engine produces 138 hp and 167 Nm of torque.

Suspension is a front-McPherson strut, rear-coupled torsion beam affair, with larger bushings and revised geometry to improve on-centre steering feel. Power steering’s now electrically assisted, too.

Standard for the LX are steering wheel audio controls, SiriusXM satellite radio, Bluetooth and heated door mirrors, amongst others. An optional Popular Package adds 16-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, keyless entry with remote trunk release and a sliding front armrest, while an Eco Package throws in a start-stop system and dual-zone climate control with rear air-con vents.

EX trim adds on Kia’s new-generation UVO infotainment system with eServices (navigation system optional), reverse camera and a glovebox cooler. Flex Steer with Comfort, Normal and Sport steering profiles is an option. A Premium Package adds features such as heated seats and steering wheel, a 10-way power adjustable driver’s seat with air-cooled ventilation, leather seat trim, power sunroof, 17-inch alloy wheels and push button start with Smart Key; while a Technology Package gives you HID headlamps, LED tail lights, a 4.2-inch colour LCD and dual-zone climate control with rear air-con vents.

The Forte (including its K3 and Cerato nameplates) is the Korean firm’s most successful global seller, with more than 2.5 million sold since its 2004 introduction. 445,000 units were sold last year, accounting for nearly 18% of Kia’s total sales worldwide.

Kia has ruled out a wagon version, but five-door hatch and Koup versions will follow next year, as will a turbocharged variant.