Forte (say: FOUR-tay) the silky-smooth compact-class 4-door sedan from Kia of South Korea exhibits a stunning new sculpted body with fancy ornamentation including
LED daytime running lights for the new issues of 2017.
Kia's compact staple is drawn with taut lines and it looks athletic with sweeping contemporary surfaces, fender skin cinching snugly over wheelwell arches and a raked windshield arching over the cabin canopy with low-slung windows and side pillars muted to forge the profile of a swift and racy 2-door coupe.
The aggressive low-swooping prow holds swept-back headlight clusters flanking Kia's narrow signature tiger-nose grille in a new chrome composition as Forte adds the option of Dynamic Bending Light technology where the HID headlights swivel with the direction of the steering wheel to shine a light around corners.
Side panels of the 2017 Forte are chiseled almost sheer although a faint character line notched on each side seems to swing upward in swift movement toward the tail. The blunted rump looks clean with wraparound low fascia and an oval pipe in chrome on a back corners plus a fresh design for wraparound taillamps and optional LEDs.
Forte for 2017 configured as a 4-door sedan uses a rigid unibody structure with the wheelbase length -- the distance between front and rear axles -- stretching to 106.3 inches. The distance from the prow up front to the tail bumper tallies to nearly 15 feet long.
Forte's unibody structure houses an independent strut-type front suspension with coil springs and a coupled torsion beam rear axle with Mando monotube shock absorbers and coil springs.
For active safety, Forte gets a disc brake at every wheel with electronic linkage to an anti-lock brake system with electronic brake force distribution, traction control system and hill-start assist control. Also, a vehicle stability management device directs the electronic stability control and traction control systems.
Kia lists a number of advanced driver assistance features as options for the 2017 Forte Sedan, including Autonomous Emergency Braking, Blind Spot Detection, Lane Change Assist, Lane Keep Assist System, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Front Collision Warning.
Kia splits the 2017 Forte Sedan series into three models -- the price-leader Forte LX, a new sport-tuned Forte S edition and the luxurious top-grade Forte EX.
Forte LX and Forte S models draw from Kia's new Atkinson cycle-type 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine with dual-overhead-cam (DOHC) configuration and multi-point injection (MPI). The LX issue provides a standard 6-speed manual transmission or optional 6-speed electronic automatic, while Forte S totes the 6-speed automatic exclusively.
Forte EX employs a variation of the Atkinson cycle-type engine with gasoline direct injection (GDI). The GDI plant produces 173 hp plus torque of 154 lb-ft and links to the 6-speed electronic automatic transaxle. EPA estimated fuel figures for the 2.0 GDI engine extend to 25 mpg for in-town driving and 36 mpg on the road.
Forte's cabin layout shows a pair of bucket seats up front flanking the console and a 60/40 split-folding bench in back with two articulated seat positions but room for three in a pinch. The compartment seems generous in scale for a compact-class vehicle with 96.2 cubic feet of space. Headroom amounts to 39.1 inches up front and 37.3 inches in back, with front-seat legroom stretching to 42.2 inches and 35.9 inches in the rear.
Standard equipment for the Forte LX price-leader model includes 16-inch steel wheels, power exterior mirrors with integrated heat element, variable intermittent windshield wipers, air conditioning, power controls for windows and door locks, a tachometer and trip computer, Bluetooth connectivity and a sound kit.
Forte S has a sport-tuned suspension, 16-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, a rear spoiler and chrome exhaust tip, exclusive black cloth seats with white contrasting stitching, plus a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob.
Forte EX goes for premium features: 17-inch alloy wheels, LED taillights, push-button start with Smart Key plus perimeter approach lighting and front door pocket lighting, standard leather seats with heated front seats, 10-way power driver seat with 2-position memory setting and dual-zone automatic temperature controls.
We estimate the MSRPs for Kia's 2017 Forte Sedan line will range from $16,900 to $20,900.