The Forte comes either as a sedan or in hatchback form.
Either way it’s definitely a small car, but you’ll find respectable room for rear passengers and comfort up front, moreso than some of the competition.
Stylewise, there’s nothing overly fancy here inside; it’s an attractive but simple interior unless you decide to add on some upgrades.
While not tops in class in the area of exterior design, I would definitely put the Forte higher on the list than most of the other options available in this segment. The bright red Forte I tested featured a sharp design and overall look that did not disappoint.
While there is an option for a 1.6-liter four-cylinder turbo engine (201 hp); most Fortes sold will feature the new 2.0-liter (non-turbo) four-cylinder powerplant and its 147 horsepower. It is a front-wheel drive vehicle.
For most buyers, the Forte comes with 6-speed automatic; but you can choose a 6-speed manual (on the base model only) if your heart so desires.
In my experience, the 2.0-liter engine was not particularly fast to accelerate, so my recommendation is to go with the turbo version if you want a little more oomph.
The Forte is less fun of a ride than some other options in the class (particularly the Mazda3, along with the Ford Focus -- which offers an extra sporty version); but it does beat other competitors (i.e. Toyota Corolla) in my experience. As with most smaller cars, road noise can be an issue.
The 2017 Kia Forte is more tech savvy than many of its compact competitors.
A technology package lets you get LED taillights, keyless entry, plus some key safety features (blind spot monitor, lane departure warning and automatic emergency braking).
If you want to up the quality of your interior, a premium package gives you a sunroof, navigation with voice control and heated front seats -- among other comforts. Other options include front and rear heated and ventilated seats.
At the center of the Forte is a well-designed UVO eServices infotainment system that responds well both to voice commands and touch; Buttons are large, controls are easy to reach and master. The system is one of the better ones in the business in fact.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility are also available.
Also with the UVO eServices system (which is optional), your Forte will come with helpful safety features like teen driver monitoring, plus roadside assistance and crash notification.
The Forte has high government safety ratings -- not always the case for small cars.
A rear camera is optional on base, but standard on all other trims.
Official fuel mileage numbers on the Forte are 29 city/38 highway/32 combined on an automatic transmission (but only 25/34/28 with the manual transmission). With the auto, you’ll seeing some of the best numbers for fuel mileage in this segment.
PRICE, BOTTOM LINE
The Kia Forte starts under $17,000 and tops out around $22,000. That’s a good price range for a vehicle this size and beats much of the competition.
While not the most dynamic drive in the compact car segment, the 2017 Kia Forte is very user friendly, which combined with the affordable nature of the vehicle should continue to ensure its share of fans among those who don’t believe that bigger is better. If you’re into the compact segment, many models are worth a look -- and that list includes the Kia Forte.
Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu.