Last year marks the best selling year for the Forte ever. The model gets a new game face for 2017 to keep the momentum flowing. Kia will give the model a new engine, sporty new S trim, and more safety technology.
Kia says it’s going for more “European sport-sedan styling.” The automaker notes the model’s new front, longer, bumper with a self-proclaimed “tiger nose” grille that connects to the new headlights. Both the headlights and taillights offer LEDs.
The makeover includes a new 2.0-liter Atkinson engine. It replaces the previous standard 1.8-liter inline-4 cylinder. The 2.0-liter gets 147-horsepower with 132 pound-feet of torque.The base model comes with standard six-speed manual but offers an upgraded six-speed automatic. Upper level trims will continue to offer the 2.0-liter GDI I-4 with 164-horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque.
The S trim marks the third trim level for the model. It falls between the already established base LX and top-of-the-line EX. It adds sport-tuned suspension, 16-inch alloy wheels, LED positioning lights, rear spoiler, and chrome exhaust tip. The EX remains on top with LED taillights, Smart Key with perimeter approach lighting and front door pocket lighting, and new 17-inch alloy wheels.
Inside, the LX features upgraded cloth seats. The S gets fancier with black cloth and contrasting stitching. A leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob give it a sporty feel.
The EX comes with standard with leather seats. Other nice EX standard features are heated front seats, dual-zone fully automatic temperature control, rear vents, and push-button start with Smart Key. Both S and EX models offer Android Auto and Apply CarPlay compatibility.
There are a bunch of advanced safety tech offerings on the new Forte. They include Autonomous Emergency Braking, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Detection, Dynamic Bending Lights, and Forward Collision Warning. There is also an available navigation system. Plus, the available Drive Mode System allows drivers to choose between Normal, Eco, and Sport modes.
Kia has not released exact fuel estimates or pricing. It does say that the new base engine improves on the last model’s efficiency of 26 city and 39 highway mpg. For reference, the 2016 models starts at just under $16,000.