2017 Kia Forte Review
Pros & Cons
- Feels roomy inside for a small car
- Many desirable standard and optional features
- Easy-to-use controls and simple touchscreen interface
- Warranty coverage is better than most in the segment
- EX sedan returns lackluster fuel economy
- Ride quality can be overly firm at times
Edmunds' Expert Review
Based on our experience with the 2017 Hyundai Elantra that uses the same 2.0-liter engine as the base Forte, we're not expecting quick acceleration from the base Forte sedan. The new engine is fuel-efficient, however, at least with the automatic transmission, and should feel adequate in terms of power delivery to most drivers. The Forte5's available turbocharged 1.6-liter engine is the logical choice for those who want extra zest, as it transforms the Kia into a genuinely speedy little car. The EX sedan's 2.0-liter engine is caught in the middle, providing no more power than the standard engines in many rival sedans yet sucking down fuel at a relatively prodigious rate.
The six-speed automatic transmission provides smooth shifts, and it's surprisingly responsive during typical passing and merging situations. The slick-shifting six-speed manual in the Forte5 SX is pleasant to operate and makes the most of the turbocharged engine's power.
Most shoppers in this segment will likely be satisfied with the Forte's overall ride quality, but the Forte's suspension is occasionally a bit firm and unrefined. Rougher roads produce a somewhat busy ride; in comparison, rivals such as the Focus and Mazda 3 feel relatively cushy over broken pavement. The Forte is steady on winding roads, but it's not particularly engaging.
The 2017 Kia Forte is much more than just an economy car stuffed with gadgets. Boasting a handsome cabin furnished with quality materials, especially in the higher trim levels, the Forte gives other top compacts a run for their money. In addition, the Forte's high-tech features are well-designed and easy to use. The 7-inch touchscreen interface — with large, logically positioned virtual buttons — is one of the better examples of this technology.
Seat comfort front and rear in the sedan and Forte5 is very good, and even 6-foot adults should be comfortable sitting in back. The Forte sedan offers very generous cargo capacity, with a trunk capacity of 14.9 cubic feet, while the Forte5 hatchback boasts 23.2 cubic feet with the rear seat up and plenty more with the seatbacks folded down.