New for 2017
The Forte gets a handful of updates for 2017, including a new 2.0-liter engine, updated styling, and more convenience and driver-assistance features.
A Stylish Value
Kia has always been known for value, but recently it’s tried to make its cars more desirable as well. The 2017 Kia Forte is the latest example of that shift in philosophy. It’s a thrifty compact car, but with a stylish exterior and upscale interior, price isn’t the only reason to want to buy one.
The Forte banishes the old stereotype of Kias as underpowered, underwhelming econoboxes. It can more than keep up with other compact cars, and even gets a power boost in the form of a new standard engine for 2017.
Base models now use a 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder in place of the previous 1.8-liter four. The new engine produces 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque and is available with six-speed manual or automatic transmissions. All Forte models are front-wheel drive. With the manual transmission, the base engine returns an EPA-rated 28 mpg combined (25 mpg city, 34 mpg highway)*, while automatic models get 32 mpg combined (29 mpg city, 38 mpg highway).*
Kia continues to offer a 2.0-liter direct-injected four-cylinder engine in higher trim levels, which delivers 164 hp and 151 lb-ft of torque and is only available with the automatic transmission. The EPA rates it at 28 mpg combined (25 mpg city, 33 mpg highway).*
The six-speed automatic transmission paired with both engines is new for 2017. Kia says it’s thoroughly upgraded over the old six-speed, with a focus on improving fuel economy.
The 2017 Kia Forte is available as a five-seat, four-door sedan, although Kia also offers the related Forte5 five-door hatchback and Forte Koup two-door coupe. Kia offers three trim levels across all three body styles, with pricing starting at $16,490.**
Kia is a value-oriented brand, and that’s reflected in the generous amount of standard equipment available on even the base LX model. The list includes heated outside mirrors, tilt-and-telescoping steering column, Bluetooth®, 60/40 split-folding rear bench seat, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, and more.
The Forte S builds on the LX, incorporating its standard equipment and adding features like sport-tuned suspension, 16-inch alloy wheels, LED positioning lights, automatic headlights, chrome exhaust tip, rear spoiler, UVO3 infotainment system with Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ smartphone integration, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, cruise control with steering wheel mounted controls, 7.0-inch center-stack display, and 3.5-inch TFT trip computer display.
The top Forte model is the EX, which incorporates the applicable standard features from the other models, and adds 17-inch alloy wheels, heated front seats, rear center armrest with cupholders, dual-zone automatic climate control, pushbutton start, and perimeter approach lighting. In addition, Xenon HID headlights, power sunroof, navigation, ventilated front seats, power driver’s seat, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror are all available as options.
The 2017 Kia Forte proves that economy cars don’t have to look boring. Kia is on a styling roll right now thanks to the oversight of design chief Peter Schreyer, and the Forte is just one of many handsome models in its lineup.
The Forte’s sleek styling gets some extra refinements for 2017 in the form of a reshaped front bumper and “tiger nose” grille, and new headlights available in a Xenon HID configuration. The new front fascia nicely complements the Forte’s flowing lines and low roof. New taillights (available in LED) finish off the changes.
The interior is ergonomically designed, with material choices meant to give the Forte a more upscale feel. The S model gets exclusive cloth seat material with white contrast stitching, while certain trim levels get soft-touch materials for the dashboard and door panels. The Forte is also available with Kia’s UVO3 infotainment system, which now includes Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ smartphone connectivity.
The Forte also offers decent interior space for a compact car, with 39.1 inches of front and 37.3 inches of rear headroom, as well as 42.2 inches of front and 35.9 inches of rear legroom. Luggage capacity is a maximum 96.2 cubic, and a 60/40 split-folding rear bench seat helps owners make the most of that.
Standard safety equipment on the 2017 Kia Forte includes anti-lock brakes, stability and traction controls, and a full array of airbags. Optional features include autonomous emergency braking, blind spot detection, rear cross traffic alert, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, and a rearview camera.
With a new base engine and other updates, the 2017 Kia Forte adds another layer of refinement.
*Based on EPA estimates. Actual mileage will vary with options, driving conditions, driving habits and your vehicle’s condition. These estimates reflect EPA’s revised coefficients beginning with some 2017 models.
**Starting price is manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) for lowest model trim.
Image Credit: Kia