2017 Kia Forte EX

It used to be that shopping for an economy car meant trying to choose from a few vehicles that no one would buy if they could afford something nicer. The Kia Forte and several other worthy options prove that economy cars have come a long way since then!


“That’s a Forte? That’s a nice lookin’ car!” I had numerous folks comment on how attractive the Forte is and how it sure doesn’t look like an economy car.


The five-passenger 2017 Kia Forte is available in LX, S and EX trims and in two body styles: a sedan and hatchback. Starting prices range from $16,600 to $26,000, making the Forte one of the most affordable vehicles in the compact car category.


Two powertrains are available. LX and S trims get a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine making 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque. LX models come standard with a six-speed manual transmission, and a six-speed automatic is available. The EX has a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 164 hp and 151 lb.-ft. of torque. S and EX trims only come with the automatic. The Forte is front-wheel drive.


The Forte has enough power for most driving situations. Acceleration is fairly brisk off the line and there’s enough oomph for freeway merging and passing. It’s not particularly exciting to drive but it will get you from point A to point B. If performance is important to you, you’re probably better off with the Mazda3. The ride is pretty firm and can feel bumpy on rough roads.


Fuel efficiency is about average for the class. EPA ratings for my tester are 25 mpg city and 33 mpg highway with a combined rating of 28 mpg. I got 29 during my week with a mix of city and highway driving.


The interior is one of the nicest in the class. Materials are surprisingly upscale including the use of many soft-touch materials. There’s decent leg- and headroom, even for adults.


For 2017, the Forte has made Apple CarPlay and Android Auto standard on the S and EX trims, making smartphone integration a breeze. Many driver assistance technology features are available including rear view camera, blind spot detection, lane departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert and forward collision warning.


The Forte has 14.9 cubic feet of storage in the trunk which is very good for the class. The wide opening makes it easy to load bulky items. The 60/40 split-folding rear seats fold down almost completely flat.


The Forte has one of the best warranties in the class with Kia’s five-year/60,000-mile limited basic warranty and a 10-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty. That’s the same as the Hyundai Elantra.


There are several great entries in the affordable vehicle segment. Along with the Forte, shoppers will want to check out the Chevy Cruze, Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Kia Soul, and Mazda 3.


The good:

Attractive, spacious, and comfortable cabin

Roomy trunk

User-friendly infotainment system

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are available

One of the best warranties in the class


The not-so-good:

Firm ride; bumps and rough roads are noticeable

Not so exciting to drive

Active safety features are only available as options


Pricing info:

My tester starts at $21,200. The Snow White Pearl paint is $295. The EX Premium Plus Package is $4,490 and adds supervision meter cluster with color LCD, navigation system, autonomous emergency braking, forward collision warning system, blind spot detection, lane departure warning system, lane keep assist system, rear cross traffic alert, ventilated front seats, power adjustable driver’s seat with memory, auto-dimming rearview mirror, Xenon HID headlights and power sunroof. Deliver fee is $850 bringing the grand total to $26,835.


Bottom line:

The Kia Forte is very competitively priced and boasts a comfortable, spacious interior, lots of room for passengers and cargo, and many available high-tech features. Anyone shopping for an affordable car should check it out.

2017 Kia Forte EX 2017 Kia Forte EX 2017 Kia Forte EX

2017 Kia Forte EX 2017 Kia Forte EX