Kia debuted the all-new 2017 Forte sedan and Forte5 hatchback at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Up front, the new Forte has an Optima-like fascia with a more upright grille and headlights that flow into the body. The body’s lines are more fluid than the outgoing model and give the Forte a more upscale, mature appearance that still makes it one of the best looking compact sedans on the market.
Like the sedan, the Forte5’s front end is highlighted by a wider version of the signature “tiger nose” grille, similar to the one found on the all-new 2016 Optima. The grille connects redesigned headlights that sweep back around the front fenders, giving the new Forte5 more road presence than the outgoing model. Around back, revised taillights complete the exterior redesign, and higher trim levels go one step further with standard LED daytime running lights and taillights.
Under the hood, the Forte gets a new 2.0-liter Atkinson cycle four-cylinder engine in the base LX trim and new, sport-oriented S trim. KIA has yet to release power and fuel economy figures for the new engine, but it will come with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission.
The top-of-the-line EX model will continue to offer the current 2.0-liter GDI four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic.
The sedan’s new S trim also gets sport-tuned suspension, 16-inch alloy wheels, a spoiler and chrome exhaust tip. Inside, the S gets a new cloth interior with white accents and leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. The LX models also get new cloth seats, while the EX has leather interior.
The Forte5 hatchback is available in three trim levels similar to its sedan sibling: LX, EX, and SX. With the hatchback, the sporty SX trim comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, unique front and rear fascias with red accents, and dual exhaust tip finishers. Emphasizing the sporty theme in the Forte5 SX is a peppy 1.6-liter turbocharged GDI four-cylinder engine paired with an available seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
Kia will offer Apple Car Play and Android Auto on the EX, S and SX models. The regular host of driver assistance technologies are available as options including emergency braking, lane departure warnings, collision warnings, and lane keeping assist.
The 2017 Forte will be on sale in the first quarter of 2016. The 2017 Forte5 hatchback is slated to reach showrooms the first half of 2016. Pricing has not yet been announced. Both versions of the refreshed Forte will be manufactured at KIA’s new facility in Monterrey, Mexico.
The KIA Forte and the Chevy Cruze are direct competitors in the new car market place…or are they? In another fun and informative TFLcar “mashup” review, we compare these two sedans to see which one is the better ride.
2017 KIA Forte Sedan
2017 KIA Forte5 Hatchback