The 2017 Kia Forte sedan receives a mild refresh that includes a number of changes including a new engine and trim level.
2017 Kia Forte
The second-generation Kia Forte was all-new for the 2014 model year and we half expected a bit of freshening after 3 years including the usual bit of tidying-up for the front and rear fascias and maybe an upgrade in the infotainment department. It turns out that buyers of Kia's compact sedan offering will get even more than that.
For starters, the new signature "tiger nose" grille is wider, while the headlamp enclosures are narrower. The front fascia is more vertical, with a larger lower air intake that incorporates the fog lamp housings while vertical faux brake ducts occupy the space where the fog lamps used to be.
The vehicle's sides remain unchanged, but in back, minor revisions include new, more dimensional, taillamp housings (with optional LED lamps) as well as a revised lower fascia, while an oval exhaust tip replaces the former round unit.
The LX Popular Package (automatic only) adds an AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio unit with 4.3" rear-camera display, auto-on/off headlights, cruise control (steering-wheel mounted controls), tweeter speakers, knit and tricot cloth seats, rear center armrest with cup holders, dual illuminated visor vanity mirrors, front passenger seat back map pocket, illuminated ignition keylock cylinder, map light, sunglasses holder, Covered console with sliding armrest and dual 12V outlet, AUX and USB input and Drive Mode Select.
2017 brings a new Forte S trim level - positioned between the entry-level LX and upper trim EX. S models come with a standard sport tuned suspension, 16-inch alloy wheels (replacing the LX's standard 15-inch steelies), LED daytime running lights, rear decklid spoiler, chrome exhaust tip. The interior features a unique black cloth trim with white contrast stitching (the LX also comes with a new cloth trim), plus a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob.
The optional S Technology Package includes Autonomous Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Blind Spot Detection, Lane Change Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Front Collision Warning System , Lane Departure Warning System, Lane Keep Assist System, chrome belt line trim, exterior door handle chrome insert, fog lights, LED taillights, power folding outside mirrors with LED turn signals, smart key with push-button start, perimeter approach lighting, front door pocket lighting, 4.2" TFT color LCD display (inside the meter cluster) and driver and front passenger auto-up-down windows.
Yet another optional package for S models, the Premium Package, comes with a 10-way power driver's seat with two memory presets, heated front seats, metal pedals, power sunroof, rear center armrest with cup holders, sliding armrest UVO eServices with voice-command navigation, SiriusXM Traffic and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
2017 Forte S models (along with the EX) also come standard with Kia's UVO3 telematics system that includes 7-inch color touch screen that includes the late availability of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay functionality. All trims come standard with Drive Mode Select, which includes Normal, Eco and Sport driving modes.
Carrying over from 2016 is the EX Premium Plus Package that includes a 10-way power driver's seat with two memory presets, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, Autonomous Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Blind Spot Detection, Lane Change Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Front Collision Warning System , Lane Departure Warning System, Lane Keep Assist System, power sunroof, 4.2" TFT color LCD display (inside the meter cluster), UVO eServices with voice-command navigation, SiriusXM Traffic, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, ventilated front seats and Xenon HID headlights with Dynamic Bending light.
2017 Kia Forte engines
The biggest news, however, lies under the hood, where Kia has replaced last year's 1.8-liter inline-4 with a new 2.0-liter Atkinson cycle inline-4 mated to either a 6-speed manual (paradoxically available only on the LX and not on the "sporty" S) or 6-speed automatic transmission (also standard on the EX). The new engine makes 147 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 132 lb-ft. of torque at 4,500 rpm.
Meanwhile, the EX soldiers on with Kia's 2.0-liter direct injection Theta DOHC inline-4 that generates 173 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 154 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,700 rpm.
2017 Forte Sedan prices
2017 Kia Forte sedan prices, including an $850 destination and delivery charge, are as follows:
LX, 2.0L 4-cyl., 6-speed Manual: $17,340
LX, 2.0L 4-cyl., 6-speed Automatic: $18,350
LX Popular Package: $900
S, 2.0L 4-cyl., 6-speed Automatic: $19,075
S Technology Package: $1,490
S Premium Package: $2,301
EX, 2.0L 4-cyl.: $22,050
EX Premium Plus Package: $4,490
The updated 2017 Forte sedan will be produced at Kia's new assembly plant located in Monterrey, Mexico, representing the first vehicle to be built at the automaker's second North American plant.