Compact gains driver assistance and tech features, new S trim for sedan.
Kia unveiled the face-lifted 2017 Kia Forte at the 2016 Detroit auto show, featuring a refreshed exterior inspired by the Optima midsize sedan. New driver aids and a new infotainment system with Google Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility are now available on the 2017 Forte sedan and hatchback. Driver assistance features that first appeared on the 2016 Optima midsize sedan are now optional on the 2017 Forte sedan and Forte5, including automatic emergency braking, rear cross-traffic alert, forward collision warning, blind spot warning, and lane change assist. Details regarding the refreshed 2017 Forte Koup will follow at a later date.
On the outside, the 2017 Forte Sedan and Forte5 hatchback feature a revised front fascia with headlights that connect to a wider “tiger nose” grille. Forte sedans also come with a revised front bumper, while the Forte5 SX ditches the gaping maw that was featured in the pre-refresh model for a larger “tiger nose” grille that puts it in line with the rest of the Forte lineup. Out back, the taillights have also been revised slightly and feature LED lighting on higher trim levels.
In addition to cosmetic changes, the Forte sedan gains a new S trim that sits between the LX and EX grades. Additional equipment includes a sport-tuned suspension, 16-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, a rear spoiler, and a chrome exhaust tip. The range-topping EX model in the sedan comes standard with LED taillights, 17-inch alloy wheels, and active bending headlights. Kia’s new UVO3 infotainment system is standard on the S and EX trim and comes with a 7-inch touchscreen. Android Auto and CarPlay are available on all but the LX grade, while navigation is optional. Drive Mode Select enables the driver to choose between Normal, Sport, and Eco modes.
The Forte5 hatchback comes standard with more equipment like projector beam headlights and remote keyless entry with trunk opener in the LX trim. EX hatchbacks get the most changes, gaining leather seats, LED taillights, heated front seats, keyless entry/start, and perimeter lighting with front-door pocket lighting as standard. Kia’s UVO3 infotainment system is also available on the 2017 Forte5. On the sporty SX trim, additional standard features include 18-inch alloy wheels, unique front and rear fascias with red accents, and dual exhausts in addition to what the EX grade comes with.The 2017 Forte5 can now be had with the Orange Color pack in the SX trim, which adds orange leather seat inserts and contrast stitching on the seats and shifter.
Under the hood of the Forte sedan, the 1.8-liter I-4 has been replaced with an Atkinson cycle 2.0-liter I-4 as the standard engine for the LX and S trims. This engine can be mated to a choice of a six-speed manual or an updated six-speed automatic gearbox. Both the new Atkinson cycle 2.0-liter I-4 and automatic transmission have been tuned for improved fuel economy. A direct-injected 2.0-liter I-4 carries over from the pre-facelift model in the LX hatchback, and EX sedan and hatchback, and is paired exclusively to a six-speed automatic. Stepping up to the range-topping SX trim on the Forte5 hatchback adds a turbocharged 1.6-liter I-4 that can be paired to a new s-speed twin-clutch automatic gearbox. Output numbers haven’t been released for the new Atkinson 2.0-liter mill, but expect the carryover engines to put out similar numbers to last year’s models. The direct-injected 2.0-liter made 173 hp and 154 lb-ft of torque in the pre-refresh Forte, while the 1.6-liter turbo made 201 hp and 195 lb-ft.