Knowing that the competition in the compact sedan market is tight, Kia introduced its 2017 Forte at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit with a slew of upgrades to try to stand out from the group.
Perhaps chief among those is the inclusion of infotainment and safety technology that is often associated with more expensive vehicles.
Forte’s S and EX trims come standard with Kia’s UVO3 telematics, which is displayed on a 7-inch color touch screen. They also boast Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, although the latter won’t be available right away.
Both platforms elevate the Forte’s in-vehicle connectivity by allowing drivers to conveniently use the touchscreen for smartphone functions like sending text messages, streaming music, and looking up driving directions.
Depending on trim, the Forte will also come with Kia’s latest navigation system. With value being the name of the game, Forte’s value proposition is its long list of available convenience features, which includes Autonomous Emergency Braking, Front Collision Warning, Lane Change Warning, Lane Keep Assist, Blind Spot Detection, Lane Change Assist and Rear-Cross Traffic Alert.
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Having all the tech is great, but buyers of the Forte also want some show and go for their “value proposition.” The new model gets an exterior makeover to enhance the car’s “European sport-sedan styling.”
The Forte gets a new front bumper and “tiger nose” grille that has been extended to connect with new headlights, akin to the 2016 Optima.
This new take on the front fascia gives the Forte a more fluid appearance, and customers will have the choice of two designs, one highlighting the Forte’s sophisticated personality and one that’s more aggressive and sporty. Completing the exterior redesign are newly designed taillights, with optional LEDs.
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There’s the show and the go comes from a variety of powertrain combinations, but perhaps the biggest changes is the upgrade from last year’s 1.8-liter inline-4 cylinder engine to the now-standard 2.0-liter Atkinson I-4, which is paired with a six-speed manual transmission or an available second-generation six-speed automatic transmission that has been engineered to help improve fuel economy.
The EX trim is equipped with 2.0-liter GDI I-4 and six-speed automatic. No power or fuel economy figures were released. Details on the 2017 Koup are also coming later, Kia said. All trims come standard with Drive Mode Select, which allows the driver to change the driving experience based on their preference: Normal, Eco or Sport.
The 2017 Forte comes in three trim levels: LX, EX and new to the group this year, S, which resides between the other two levels. The new S trim is the “sporty” level and comes with a sport-tuned suspension, 16-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, rear spoiler and a chrome exhaust tip.
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For 2017, the EX trim remains the top of the range, and with that, comes standard with premium exterior features such as LED taillights, Smart Key with perimeter approach lighting and front door pocket lighting, and new 17-inch alloy wheels. Like its bigger Optima sibling, the Forte is available with Dynamic Bending Light technology, which uses steering wheel inputs to angle the light around corners and bends.