Making their debut at the Detroit Auto Show, the 2017 Forte sedan and Forte5 Hatch both received a mid-cycle freshening to keep them competitive, with some new styling enhancements, some new powertrain choices, and new technology features.
Most noticeable at first glance is a new face that is closer in design to the all-new Optima sedan.
It receives the “Tiger Nose” grill treatment along with a new headlight design. Optional are some new LED light bending headlights, which is a fancy way of saying they turn with the wheels at night.
At the rear of both the sedan and hatch, there are newly designed taillights that are optional in LED depending on your trim grade. And that about wraps up the changes for the rear view.
Of note, the sedan will be available in a new S trim grade that has a more sporting appearance. It will slot between the LX and EX trims, right in the middle. It gets 16-inch alloys, LED daytime running lights, and a rear spoiler. Inside, the S gets black cloth seats with white contrast stitching.
Those choosing the Forte5 hatch will like a new interior treatment available for 2017 in the SX models called the Orange Color pack. It brings orange leather seat inserts and contrast stitching to the seats and shifter. It also gets new 18-inch wheels for the SX.
Both are available with the newest generation UVO3 infotainment system that has a 7-inch color touch screen and features Android Auto and Apple CarPlay functionality later in the year. And depending on trim you can also get Kia’s latest navigation system.
The big news is under the hood however with last year’s 1.8 liter four-cylinder giving way to a larger, more powerful and fuel-efficient 2.0 liter engine. While horsepower hasn’t been announced yet, we can guess it will be similar to the 147 horsepower that same engine produces in the 2017 Hyundai Elantra.
The Forte5 SX with its 1.6 liter turbocharged engine will now be offered with seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission that can shift fast and crisp. Horsepower is expected to remain the same as before, though it hasn’t yet been announced.
The 2.0 liter engine will available with both a six-speed manual and automatic transmission. The 2017 Kia Forte Koup has not yet been shown but it is expected to get a similar face lift up front and rear, and the same engine choices found in the Forte5 hatch.