The Kia Forte is one of the automaker’s most popular offerings, having especially strong sales in 2015. To keep the momentum going, Kia made some modifications for the 2017 model year. Exterior styling, infotainment offerings, and the engine lineup were carefully reviewed.
Overall, we like the little cruiser and feel the changes for 2017 will benefit those considering the car.
It’s easy to love a car for the styling and Kia takes that into consideration with the 2017 Forte. A European sports car look radiates throughout, especially with the extended “tiger nose” grille. There are newly designed headlights, available with Xenon HID bulbs, and taillights, with optional LEDs.
A new front fascia is meant to give the 2017 Forte a more fluid like appearance.
The entry level LX is complimented by a sportier S trim and top level EX. LX and S models have cloth seats, although the S trim features black cloth with white offset stitching. The S trim focuses on dynamics too, with a sport-tuned suspension, 16-inch alloy wheels, rear spoiler, and chrome exhaust tip. The EX trim provides a little more luxury with heated leather seats, dual-zone climate control, and push button start.
The 2017 Kia Forte EX features Smart Key with perimeter approach lighting and front door pocket lighting. This is an useful amenity at night or in a dimly lit parking garage. Also available are Kia’s Dynamic Bending Lights. The technology senses steering inputs and moves the light around corners accordingly for better visibility.
Infotainment & Technology
Both the S and EX trims come standard with UVO35 telematics, which is displayed on a 7-inch touch screen. There are a variety of connectivity options with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay (late availability).
Depending on the package and trim level, navigation will be included.
A host of safety features are available too: Autonomous Emergency Braking, Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Detection, and Rear-Cross Traffic Alert.
Engine & Drive Modes
Kia cut the previous 1.8 inline-four, replacing it with a now standard 2.0-liter Atkinson I-4. The new engine makes 147 horsepower (6,200 rpm) and 132 lb-ft of torque (4,500 rpm), paired to a six-speed manual transmission. However, a second-generation six-speed automatic is available.
A 2.0-liter GDI I-4 is optional. It creates 164 horsepower (6,200 rpm) and 151 lb-ft of torque (4,000 rpm). Forte’s Drive Mode System (Normal, Eco, or Sport) changes car’s characteristics, based on personal preference.
As of this writing, no word on when the 2017 Kia Forte will be at the dealership. The Forte sedan will be built at Kia’s advanced manufacturing facility in Monterrey, Mexcio.
*Carl Anthony is Managing Editor of Automoblog and resides in Detroit, Michigan.