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The Kia Forte gets a mild refresh for 2017 with handsome new styling around the front of the car, giving it a more sophisticated and European look. Around back, the taillights are all new and can be had with LEDs. Other improvements for 2017 include a new base engine, a 2.0L 4-cylinder unit that promises to improve fuel economy. Further aiding fuel economy is a new 6-speed automatic gearbox available with either engine.
The 2017 Kia Forte is offered in three different body styles, either as a 4-door sedan or as a 4-door hatch "Forte5." The sedan comes in LX, S and EX grades and the Forte5 comes in LX, EX and SX trims. LX models are powered by a 147-horsepower 4-cylinder engine while EX models come with a more powerful version of the same 2.0L that makes 164 hp and 151 lb-feet of torque. Kia Forte SX models come with a turbocharged 1.6L 4-cylinder that makes 201 horsepower. Both of the non-turbo engines include continuously variable valve timing, which helps provide responsiveness over a wide range while enhancing fuel economy. LX models offer a choice between a 6-speed manual gearbox and a 6-speed automatic transmission, while EX 4-doors only come with the automatic. SX models come with the option of a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission or a conventional 6-speed manual.
The Kia Forte sedan features an available Eco Package that adds Idle Stop & Go, a system that will automatically shut off the engine at stoplights; it also adds dual-zone climate control, rear-seat ventilation and special badging. LX trims now offer a Popular Plus Package, which provides cruise control, 16-inch alloy wheels and a rear camera display.
The Forte utilizes a MacPherson strut-type front suspension and coupled torsion-beam rear setup. Across the model line, electric power steering is included. An available Flex Steer system lets drivers choose between Comfort, Normal and Sport modes, changing the steering feel with the press of a button. Base LX 4-door models have 15-inch steel wheels while 16-inch alloys are available. EX model includes 17-inch alloys with lower-profile tires while. The SX includes 18" wheels.
Inside, the instrument panel is canted 10 degrees toward the driver for a cockpit feel and there are large, easy-to-read gauges. There's a multi-information display with 4.2-inch screen on EX models and trims and materials are in line with more expensive makes.
Forte LX models come standard with air conditioning, power windows, power heated mirrors, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, Bluetooth connectivity and Sirius Satellite Radio compatibility. EX models a rear backup camera, a sliding center armrest and a cooled glovebox.
EX options are grouped into several packages. The Premium Package includes heated front seats, a power-adjustable driver's seat, cooling for the driver's seat, leather upholstery, a power sunroof, push-button start, a Smart Key system and a heated steering wheel. Separately, a Technology Package combines HID headlamps, LED tail lamps, dual-zone climate control, rear-seat ventilation and a 4.2-inch color display screen.
The Forte SX includes projector beam foglamps, gloss black painted, dual heated power mirrors, chrome exhaust tips, steering wheel mounted paddle shifters (automatic only,) bigger front brakes and of course a more powerful engine than is available on any other Forte.