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2017 Kia Forte5 Overview

Taking some styling cues from its popular Optima sedan, the Korean automaker Kia has refreshed its 2017 Forte5 with a new grille, redesigned headlights and taillights, and additional trim-specific standard features. This affordable 5-passenger 5-door compact hatchback remains a solid daily driver, again available in 3 trims: the base LX, the midlevel EX, and the sport-oriented SX.

For the 2017 model year, the Forte5 gets a new “tiger nose” grille, a swoopier headlight design, and refreshed taillights, while higher trims add standard LED running lights. The base LX is now eligible for available safety technology like blind-spot warning, lane-keeping assistance, and a rear cross-traffic alert. The EX gains some new additions to its list of standard features, including leather upholstery, heated front seats, push-button start via Smart Key, and perimeter approach lighting, and the SX includes a new Orange Color Pack featuring unique upholstery inserts with contrast stitching. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto will also be available on the EX and SX.

Powering the Forte5 LX and EX is a new 2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder (I4) powerplant, which replaces the 1.8-liter I4 currently standard in the lower trims. The 2.0-liter will mate to either a standard 6-speed manual transmission or an available upgraded 6-speed shiftable automatic for 173 hp and 154 lb-ft of torque. Expect better mileage than the current I4's 24 mpg city/34 highway/28 combined (with the automatic).

The Forte5 SX will pack a turbocharged 1.6-liter I4 that’s good for 201 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque under the management of either a standard 6-speed manual or a brand new optional 7-speed shiftable automatic transmission. Look once again for mileage estimates close to the current edition’s 21/29/24. All Forte5's come only with front-wheel drive (FWD).

Returning features on the 2017 Forte5 include alloy wheels, heated power-adjustable mirrors, adjustable-effort power steering, full power accessories, and telescoping tilt-wheel steering. Higher trims are slated to carry cruise control, a rear-view camera, a cooled storage bin, Bluetooth hands-free calling capability, and a single CD/MP3 player with 4 speakers, satellite radio, and an auxiliary audio input.

Options include a power sunroof, GPS navigation, HD Radio, a power-adjustable driver’s seat with memory for driver settings, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, and dual-zone automatic climate control. Kia claims 23.3 cubic feet of cargo capacity behind rear seats, though those seats can also be folded for significantly more space when needed.

Standard safety equipment aboard the 2017 Forte5 includes 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), traction and stability control, front side-mounted airbags, front and rear head curtain airbags, front fog/driving lights, and turn-signal-integrated mirrors. As noted above, all 2017 Forte5 trims now have optional blind-spot warning, lane-departure alert, and rear cross-traffic monitoring.

The 2017 Forte5 should hit dealer showrooms in the summer of 2016, competing with the Hyundai Elantra GT Hatchback, Volkswagen Golf Hatchback and Jetta Sportwagen, and Mazda MAZDA3 Hatchback.


Have Laptop. Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.

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