The 2017 Kia Forte has been significantly refreshed for the new model year to remain competitive in the hot compact sedan market. Wider and longer but not taller, the Forte now takes a sleeker, more aggressive stance, and styling touches such as revamped headlights and taillights, a sloping beltline and Kia?s ?tiger nose? grille lend a European touch to a car from a Korean automaker that is made in Mexico.
In addition to a revamped look, the 2017 Forte gets a new, more fuel-efficient 2.0-liter base engine, a new transmission, an updated infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a host of available safety and driver assist technologies. There?s also a sporty new S trim level with firmer suspension, 16-inch alloy wheels, and a number of extra comfort and convenience features.
The Forte ups the ante for compact car interiors with sporty design, surprisingly good quality materials, room for real adults in both the front and back, well-placed controls and a generous amount of cargo room. Higher trim levels even include luxury touches such as heated leather seats, a heated steering wheel and dual-zone automatic climate control. And an available navigation system, drive mode system (with Normal, Eco and Sport modes), and the latest infotainment and connectivity functions should help engage technophiles.
The base 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is rated at 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque and is available with either a six-speed manual transmission or a newly engineered six-speed automatic transmission. Power for the top-of-the-line EX model is provided by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 164 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque and only comes mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.
Although not class-leading in acceleration or handling, the Forte performs capably on the road. The suspension is tuned on the firm side — especially in the new S model — but most buyers will likely find the ride to be comfy enough. The redesigned six-speed automatic transmission provides smooth, progressive shifts, but shoppers in the market for something a bit more sporty may be disappointed that a manual gearbox and the higher-output engine are not available in the S.
Fuel economy for the entry-level 2017 Forte equipped with the base engine and automatic transmission is EPA rated at a combined 32 mpg (29 city/38 highway). Move up to the EX model and the rating drops to a combined 28 mpg (25 city/33 highway).
The base Forte LX is equipped to compete well with its compact sedan rivals, and its emphasis on technology features is sure to strike a chord with many shoppers. The S trim level provides a firmer ride, as well as a number of sporty interior and exterior touches, while the EX adds a slew of luxury and convenience features. Consumers in the market for a hatchback or coupe will also find Forte models to suit them. Whatever your preferences, let Edmunds help you find the right 2017 Kia Forte to meet your needs.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.