With its sleek European lines, generous levels of standard equipment, and available high-end features typically limited to premium brands, the Kia Forte has proven to be a worthy competitor in the compact car segment. For 2017, it receives a mid-cycle makeover to compete with the latest models from Chevrolet, Hyundai, Honda, and Mazda.
As before, the Forte is offered in four-door sedan, five-door hatchback, and two-door body coupe body styles. This review covers the sedan exclusively. Both the sedan and Forte5 receive updates this year; the coupe will carry on unchanged.
While the Forte maintains its distinctive tickmark character line, the nose and tail end of the sedan have been reworked. A bigger blacked-out version of Kia's corporate Tiger Nose grille, new headlamps with available HID beams, and a more aerodynamic front valance were fitted as a part of the update. The difference is most noticeable on the EX and SX trims which feature fog lamps that are integrated into the lower intake. Around back, Forte sedans get revised tail lights and a new rear bumper.
Other than the fitment of Android Auto for the upgrade 7.0-inch touchscreen display system, the Forte's cabin is effectively unchanged. Apple CarPlay is not available at this time, although it should become available in the future. The unique dashboard with its scalloped swooshes and available carbon-effect trim offers a sporty look, and depending on trim level, luxuries including ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, and heated rear seats are available.
As a part of its mid-cycle makeover, the Forte gets a new base engine. A step up from the old 1.8-litre unit, the bigger 2.0-litre generates 147 hp and 132 lb-ft of torque. The EX and SX trims receive a direct injected version of this motor which sees power outputs climb to 164 hp and 151 lb-ft of torque.
A manual transmission can be found only on the most basic trim level; all others receive an automatic transmission by default. Both have six speeds. With the manual transmission the base port-injected engine consumes 9.4 L/100 km city and 6.8 highway; opting for the automatic drops that to 7.9 L/100 km city and 6.3 highway. The larger engine is nearly as efficient as the base engine with the manual, with a rating of 9.4 L/100 km city and 7.0 on the highway.
As with many Kia products, the Forte offers driver-selectable steering weights that include normal, comfort and sport modes. Models fitted with 17-inch wheels have a firm ride.
One big upgrade for 2017 for the Forte is the availability of active safety features. Blind spot monitoring (optional on LX, standard on SX), plus emergency autonomous braking, lane departure warning, and lane-keeping assist are now offered. The more advanced tech is only offered on the SX trim level, and oddly, excludes radar cruise control, a feature typically included with these systems. A rear camera is standard on all trim levels other than the base.
Despite the comprehensive update, the Forte is still one of the segment's more affordable offerings with a base price starting at $15,495. The top of the line SX sells for $27,295.
This vehicle has not yet been reviewed