2017 Kia Forte Review

Written by Anqoinette Crosby

2017 Kia Forte Overview

A few of my friends and I hopped into the 2017 Kia Forte and made our way to the big outdoor Labor Day bash held along Washington, D.C.'s crowded waterfront. Picture perfect weather meant more cars to dodge on the main roads, so I took a few side streets to avoid the congestion. Effortless to drive, the Kia’s competence left me beaming as we maneuvered through the stifling holiday traffic.

This boded well for the Forte’s performance as a daily commuter too. In fact, the Kia is an optimal choice for a number of reasons, one of the main ones being value. Remarkably, the 2017 Kia Forte can look almost underpriced when you consider all the features the sleek little sedan offers.

Standard fare on the base model includes satellite radio, Bluetooth, a four-speaker stereo system and a USB port. To get the biggest bang for your buck, consider elevating to the Sport or S trim for cooler exterior enhancements like a rear spoiler, a chrome exhaust outlet and LED running lights.

The S also affords you cruise control and an infotainment suite displayed on a seven-inch touchscreen. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are offered on the Forte S as well. The sporty theme is continued inside the S sedan with chic black cloth upholstery contrasted with white stitching.

Discovering the Kia's front door handle illumination was a delightful surprise. As it is usually confined to much more expensive cars, I initially assumed an overhead street lamp was the source of the pretty light. This quickly became one of my favorite features (sorry I underestimated you Kia). Available safety equipment includes lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, blind spot monitoring and automatic emergency braking.

When we arrived at the festival, the vibrant area was teeming with revelers, which of course contributed to what initially appeared to be a futile parking situation. Hundreds of cars were parallel-parked nose to bumper for more than a mile. After spending considerable time searching for a suitable spot, I was tempted to abandon the spirited party scene and head home.

My passengers — ready to mix and mingle — voiced their strong opposition and pleaded with me to keep hope alive. Happening upon a very tight space, with my spirits buoyed by their pleas, I decided to give it a shot. That’s when I was thrilled to find the Forte’s rearview camera. With it, I gracefully guided the trim little Kia into the cramped space with mere inches to spare.
Another of the Forte’s virtues is the fact this compact really does not feel like one. My jovial crew never expressed discomfort during our sojourn. In fact, the 2017 Kia Forte’s exceptional roominess for its size translated into a cadre of overjoyed occupants.

The cargo area mirrors the spaciousness of the passenger cabin. I was a happy hauler putting the Forte’s 14.9 cubic feet of capacity to the test with several large bags of clothing designated for Goodwill later that week. Taking advantage of the 60/40 split folding rear seats; I added a few small kitchen appliances to the donation too. Everything fit just fine and closing the trunk lid was no problem. Another pleasant surprise was the trunk's automatic opening feature. Simply standing behind the car with the key in my purse told the Kia to pop the trunk, with no further effort on my part. It was wonderful.

A 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque powers the Forte S. The front wheels are fed through a six-speed automatic transmission. You won’t win many stoplight drag races at the wheel of the handsome little four-door with this powertrain, but I averaged 32 miles per gallon.

In my mind, that’s a reasonable tradeoff. Particularly when you consider the looks, utility, comfort and equipment Kia’s most affordable sedan brings to bear. 


Pricing for the 2017 Kia Forte S starts at $19,300.

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