Kia Forte/Cerato Tuning

"Cheers for reading our Kia Forte/Cerato tuning guide."

Imagine a world where your daily commute transforms into a joyful adventure, where practicality meets panache, and where every journey becomes a delightful experience.

Enter the Kia Forte, stage left, also known as the Cerato in some regions – a compact car that's here to redefine your driving experience with a perfect blend of charm, efficiency, and spirited performance.

The Kia Forte/Cerato boasts a design that's as captivating as it is aerodynamic, with curves that catch the light and a stance that radiates confidence.

But the appeal of these cars goes way beyond their captivating looks. Let's talk about what makes them purr under the hood! The Kia Forte/Cerato comes equipped with a range of engines that cater to different tastes and driving styles. It's like having a menu of powertrains, each offering its own unique flavor.

For those who crave efficiency without sacrificing pep, the Forte/Cerato offers a fuel-sipping yet spirited engine option. This peppy powerhouse strikes the perfect balance between responsive acceleration and impressive fuel economy, making every mile you travel a pocket-friendly pleasure.

Now, if you're the type who hungers for a little more oomph in your drive, fear not! The Kia Forte/Cerato also offers a more robust engine configuration that's ready to unleash some serious fun on the road. This compact car is designed to enhance every aspect of your driving experience.

In a world filled with choices, the Kia Forte/Cerato stands out as a remarkable option that encapsulates the perfect harmony of style, performance, and innovation.

With the right mods your Forte/Cerato can be transformed into a fun car. Don't waste money, do your homework and follow our unbiased guides to each performance upgrade to avoid wasting money.

With a few sensible sports parts like ECU maps, turbo upgrades and camshafts you will substantially enhance your driving experience.

First up we have to flag up the stock plugs are designed for premium fuels, and run too hot on lower grade fuel. So rather than replace the plugs it makes sense from a performance point of view to actually use the premium fuels.

In this article we look at Forte/Cerato tuning and point out the greatest upgrades.

Tuning tips and articles

Engine tuning Transmission tuning Care care Intake & exhaust mods Improve handling Forums

Handling/Suspension upgrades

If you're like me, you're all about making your motor handle like a dream. So, when diving into your Forte/Cerato tuning project, it is good to have a plan and know which mods work best.

I note that kits listed for the veloster, will usually work fine on BD forte and AD Elantra as well! Eibach make a pretty good upgrade kit for the Forte/Cerato but please let us know in the comments your experiences to enable me to pass these on to others.

Many Forte/Cerato cars come with ok suspension setups straight from the factory, but when you've upgraded it you really notice the improvement. It only takes a little tweak here and to work wonders. From bushing refresh, to poly bushes to full suspension kits.

But just as critical is the alignment of the suspension and the way it is setup.

You know that "toe" thing? the angle of the front wheels. A couple of degrees, about 1.5, can make your cornering smoother and sharper. And if you're into stability, just dial it back a little.

Now, let's talk about lowering your car a smidge – around 23mm to 39mm seems optimal on these.

But if you're thinking of going even lower, just keep in mind that larger drops might need some extra attention, especially if your ride already has those performance suspension goodies.

Stopping power

Feeling the need for better stopping power? Beefier brake discs and some top-notch pads are the way to go. Trust me, they'll have your back when you need to hit the brakes during those heart-pounding moments.

Grip plays a big role too, so tire choices are just as important, but these bad boys will keep you covered for the long haul.

Quick note: Race brake pads might need a little "warming up" before they're good to go. But for everyday driving, let's stick with pads that don't need to catch fire to work, shall we?

Now, onto the engine – time to unleash some extra power up top. If you're all about turning your Forte/Cerato into a sleeper, you know the drill: debadge it and go for those top-notch engine upgrades and handling tweaks. It's like giving your ride a turbo boost while everyone else is still trying to catch up!

With the more modest engine sizes you might find the return in terms of power rather limited so if you're thinking of throwing money at mods, it might be a bit of a wild goose chase DO YOUR RESEARCH CAREFULLY.

But don't fret if you have a small engine an don't want to shell out a fortune on upgrades for it! You can still score big with an engine swap and then slap on those mods for an extra kick.

So, let's give you a good overview of engine mods and what they do, and it will help you focus on your project in the areas that will make the biggest difference.

Power mods.

The following motorsport parts are usually installed by our members, decide how far you want to push your car before you get going.

On the 1.6 turbo simple mods like a downpipe, exhaust upgrade and ECU tune/Map will be knocking on the door of 300hp.

Using E85 fuel if available in your area is another way to make more power. Adding a water methanol injection setup is another great way to pull more power from the engine.

First generation (2009–2013)

  • 1.6 L Gamma G4FC MPi I4 (petrol)
  • 2.0 L Theta II MPi I4 (petrol)
  • 2.4 L Theta IIMPi I4 (petrol)
  • 1.6 L Gamma G4FC MPi I4 (petrol/LPG)
  • 1.6 L U-Line D4FB CRDi I4 (diesel)

Second generation (2014–2018)

  • 1.6 L Gamma G4FC MPi I4 (petrol) 128hp
  • 1.6 L Gamma G4FJ MPi turbo I4 (petrol) 201hp (Koup Coupe/Hatchback)
  • 1.8 L Nu MPi I4 (petrol) 148hp (Sedan only)
  • 2.0 L Nu  MPi I4 (petrol) 159hp
  • 2.0 L Nu  GDI I4 (petrol) 173hp

Third generation (2019–)

  • 1.6 L SmartStream G Gamma II MPi I4 (petrol) 123ps
  • 1.6 L Gamma II MPI turbo I4 (petrol) 204ps
  • 2.0 L Nu  MPi I4 (petrol) 147hp

Getting the right modified modifications for your planned usage of the car is a time and money saver. Stage 3 competition upgrades just won't work well on the road difficult in stop start traffic.

Please watch our video which covers the 5 principles of tuning your car. Be sure to keep up with our latest YouTube content and subscribe.

Best Engine Mods for your car

  1. Engine Tunes - engine tuning/remapping provides the most advantage in terms of cost savings,  aftermarket ECUs, and piggyback ECUs are all alternatives. DTE, GAN, GTS, RaceChip are brands we have hear work well on the Kia.  Burger Tuning JB4 is another option and these piggy back devices can allow the car to be setup for water methanol injection and E20 fuels.
  2. Fast road cams are one of the most significant mechanical changes, but they must be installed by someone who knows what they're doing and they are not always easy to source but you might find a local firm to regrind a stock camshaft.
  3. Intake and Exhaust - Note that on their own these mods will NOT ADD POWER in most cases, but they can help enhance power after other mods by removing the restriction.
  4. Upgrades to turbochargers and superchargers - forced induction is the most efficient approach to increase air supply, allowing you to burn more fuel and make more power. It is one of the most costly upgrades but provides the best gains.
  5. Head work - The goals of porting and flowing the head are to get air flowing into the engine while removing flow restrictions and turbulence.

Typical stage 1 mods often include:
Lighter flywheel, Panel air filter, Suspension upgrade (drop 23mm - 39 mm.), Engine Tunes/Remapping, Alloy wheels, Sports exhaust.

Typical stage 2 mods often include:
Ported and polished head, Fast road cam, fuel pump upgrades, high flow fuel injector, Power/Sport clutch.

Typical stage 3 mods often include:
Engine balancing, Competition cam, Internal engine upgrades (pistons/head/valves), Sports gearbox, Adding or upgrading forced induction (turbo/supercharger).

Your targets when modding your car should be a flat and wide torque output. You don't want all the torque to be at the top end unless you are creating a motor sport car.

In this article we shall give a limited introduction to the best mods for your car, but we'd encourage you to spend some time on the site looking into the details of each type of performance upgrade.

A fast road cam will be one of the best NASP power modifications you can do with a single part fitted to your engine.

The exhaust and intake valve durations play a big role in your cars power band, but be careful here, getting this wrong can upset the idle and make the car awkward to drive in traffic. You'd need to follow a camshaft upgrade with other mods and finish with a tune/remap to fully realise your gains.

When pushing up the power you will need to pay attention to the fuelling. More power needs more fuel.

If you find you get flat spots and surges after your tuning parts you should check the fuelling and try a higher octane fuel as well.

Uprated injectors will enable you to supply sufficient fuel to the engine.

If have increased your fuelling with bigger injectors you will also need to get a bigger fuel pump to supply it.

Intake and Exhaust Tuning.

Now we move on to the intake and exhaust and ensure proper flow through the engine.

Among the most popular avenues for bolstering a car's performance is upgrading the air intake system.

Please note that WE DO NOT FEEL YOU GET POWER GAINS FROM INDUCTION KITS, unless you have tuned your car massively and are finding that the standard air intake has become limited.

Maximum power gains come from a full induction kit with a cold air feed on heavily tuned engines, this can be sited within an air box but a panel filter should suffice for most applications.

TorqueCars suggest you use a panel air filter as these are easy to clean and maintain and generally perform better than paper ones.

Kia Forte aficionados engage in vigorous and passionate debates over various intake options and their potential impacts on both engine efficiency and sound quality.

Two primary alternatives are the sealed and open-top intake systems. Sealed intakes, like the Takeda Momentum Cold Air Intake System, focus on channeling cooler external air to maximize combustion efficiency and power output.

Colder air carries more oxygen allowing you to burn more fuel.

In contrast, open-top intakes, exemplified by the aFe 56-10005R, often offer a more distinct turbocharger sound and heightened airflow.

Reports from the field highlight improvements in throttle response, intensified turbocharger acoustics, and perceived boosts in acceleration with lower lag.

While some cite very modest but credible dyno-tested figures, others suggest only a "placebo improvement" which makes the car feel more fun to drive that the dyno would suggest.

Exhaust Mods

Do not go with the largest exhaust you can buy this will slow the exhaust rate - the best for power gains are usually between 1.5 to 2.5 inches. It is the shape and material more than the bore size.

Head work including a head port and polished and 3 or 5 angle valve job will really help to release the potential of the engine. Your clutch can fail as you increase the power if it starts to complain and the standard clutches are only ever good for power gains of up to 43%. Fit a performance clutch to avoid power losses through the transmission. The best mods in our opinion for your Forte/Cerato are remaps, sports camshafts and induction improvements.

Remaps offer phenomenal power gains on all turbo charged cars. On NA (naturally aspirated) engines the benefits are doubtful. However a flashed ecu on a NA (naturally aspirated) engine will help unleash the potential if you have done a lot of mods. Adding forced induction will see significant power gains but this is usually too expensive to be cost effective. Turbos are generally harder to add than a supercharger. Turbos increase power in increasing proportion to increasing engine speed and this can make mapping difficult.

The nice proportional boost and rpm characteristics of the supercharger make them easier to map. Alternatively you could install water injection to control knock.

Alloy wheel upgrades.

The benefits of alloy wheels include a lower unsprung weight and more efficient brake cooling via the extra air flow they allow. Further improvements can be made to your cars handling with the addition of soft compound tire. The drawback to large alloy wheels on your Forte/Cerato is that you alter your final drive ratio and this will have a detrimental effect on performance.

Due to this aim to keep the overall rolling diameter of the wheel the OEM setup. In all cases not going larger than 16 inches.

If you would like to know more, or just get some friendly advice on Tuning your car please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss Forte/Cerato options in more detail with our Forte/Cerato owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased Kia tuning articles to get a full grasp of the benefits and drawbacks of each modification.

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