2017 Kia Forte sedan

Pros: Well-designed infotainment features; decent ride and handling balance; Forte5 delivers enhanced cargo versatility with a unique sporty character

Cons: Middling acceleration in non-SX models; some desirable options are available only in expensive packages

CG Says: Kia Forte has revised styling and a new base engine for 2017. The Forte sedan’s previous 145-horsepower 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine is replaced by a 147-hp 2.0-liter four. The sedan also adds a new sporty S trim that is priced between base LX and top-level EX. Newly available safety features include autonomous emergency braking, forward collision alert, rear cross-traffic alert, and steering-linked headlights. Forte is a front-wheel-drive compact car that is available as a sedan or a four-door hatchback badged Forte5. A coupe is expected later in the year. In addition to the sedan’s base 147-hp 2.0-liter four cylinder, is a direct-injection 2.0-liter that is optional for the sedan, but standard for the hatchback. This year, horsepower for that engine drops from 173 to 164. Optional on the hatchback is a 201-hp turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine. The 147-hp 2.0-liter is available with six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. A six-speed automatic is the only transmission offered with 164-hp 2.0-liter. The turbo 1.6-liter offers a six-speed manual or a new seven-speed automated-manual transmission. The Forte features excellent passenger and cargo accommodations and plenty of features for the money—including some rare-for-the-class options such as a heated steering wheel, ventilated driver’s seat, and heated rear seats. The Forte lineup is competitive with most rivals for refinement, ride/handling balance, and interior quality, while still outpointing some competitors for features-per-dollar value. The LX trim level is attractively priced and comes with most everything you need. Still, we suspect most buyers will opt for the EX despite its hefty price premium, if only to access available features like a sunroof, leather trim, heated seats, and the UVO eServices info/assistance app. Forte rates as a solid, practical compact car that’s certainly compelling, enhanced by Kia’s long warranty.

The Facts
Class Compact Car
Body Style(s) 4-door sedan, 4-door hatchback
Passenger Count 5
Drive Wheels front-wheel drive
Manufacturer Kia
Nation of Manufacture South Korea
Base Prices LX sedan: $16,600
LX hatchback: $18,200
S sedan: $19,300
EX sedan: $21,300
EX hatchback: $22,100
SX hatchback: $26,000

Base Engine
2.0-liter 4-cylinder (LX, S)
Horsepower
147
Std. Transmission
6-speed manual
Avail. Transmission
6-speed automatic
EPA City Range (mpg)
25-29
EPA Hwy Range (mpg)
34-38

Optional Engine
2.0-liter 4-cylinder (EX)
Horsepower
164
Std. Transmission
6-speed automatic
Avail. Transmission
NA
EPA City Range (mpg)
25
EPA Hwy Range (mpg)
33-34

Optional Engine
turbocharged 1.6-liter 4-cylinder (SX)
Horsepower
201
Std. Transmission
6-speed manual
Avail. Transmission
7-speed automated-manual
EPA City Range (mpg)
23-25
EPA Hwy Range (mpg)
29-30