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2017 Kia Forte S Drive and Review By Larry Nutson

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...go make the deal!

2017 Kia Forte S
More sport; Good value

By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau

It’s all about the deal. Or, so it seems. And, the Kia Forte appears to be a good deal for lots of folks.

November 2016 was Kia’s seventh month of sales growth with a 15.3% increase and it was also the best month for the Forte line-up with a double-digit increase.

For 2017 there’s three Forte bodystyles--the Forte compact sedan, Forte5 hatchback and Forte Koup 2-door. There’s something for everyone.

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I recently spent time with a Kia Forte S sedan that has refreshed exterior styling and a new 2.0-Liter engine for 2017. The “S” trim is new for this year, sitting between the base LX and the top-of-the-line EX.

The LX can be had with manual or automatic transmission, priced at $16,490 and $17,500, respectively. The base price on the S is $19,200 and the EX is $21,200, each only offered with an automatic.

On the outside the Forte has a new front bumper and “tiger nose” grille that flows into newly designed headlights. There are new taillights at the rear and Xenon HID headlights and LED taillights are now optional.

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On the inside, LX and S trims have new cloth materials for the seats. The EX now comes standard with leather-trimmed and heated front seats, dual-zone full automatic temperature control, rear vents, and a push-button start with Smart Key. Both the S and EX trims have a 7-inch touch screen display and includes a suite of smartphone functions via Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and a rear view camera is also standard.

For 2017 the engine is upgraded from a 1.8-liter to a now standard 147 HP 2.0-liter Atkinson I-4 on the LX with 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic and on the S with a 6-speed automatic. The EX gets the 164HP 2.0-liter GDI I-4 with a 6- speed automatic.

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Forte sedan’s best EPA test-cycle fuel economy ratings are with the 147HP and automatic rated at 32 mpg combined with 29 mpg city and 38 mpg highway.

With seating for five, a roomy 14.9 cuft trunk and a 13.2 gallon fuel tank that should be good for about 500 miles of driving, the Forte could very well make for an efficient car for that trip to visit the in-laws besides being a good daily-commuter.

By the way, both engines are certified as ultra low emission in the new Forte. This is noteworthy not only from the “green” perspective, but also beneficial in that there may be specific closer-to-the-front-door parking for you at your workplace if you work in a LEED certified facility.

The Forte is also offered with many driver-assistance safety features including Autonomous Emergency Braking, Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Detection, and Rear-Cross Traffic Alert. These were equipped on the media-loaner I drove all bundled in a Technology Package for $1,490. I’d recommend choosing these features since some day they may well pay off by helping you avoid a collision.

To help drivers understand this equipment the National Safety Council and the University of Iowa have teamed up to provide an online, mobile- and tablet-friendly resource to help educate consumers.

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The new S trim that I drove features a sport-tuned suspension, 16-inch alloy wheels, LED positioning lights, rear spoiler, and a chrome exhaust tip. The S trim also gets exclusive black cloth seats with white contrasting stitching, as well as a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. 

A Drive Mode System is standard on the S-trim and it allows the driver to change from Normal to Eco or to Sport mode. The Sport mode has later transmission upshifts and better throttle response. With the Eco mode it’s the opposite. I also discovered during some snow covered road driving that the Eco mode with its softer throttle works well for starting from stop in slippery conditions.

You can get more information, detailed specifications and view all the standard features as well as options on the entire 2017 Kia Forte model line just a mouse click away at

Overall the 2017 Kia Forte is well balanced in terms of features and equipment, overall driving performance and value oriented pricing. Plus Kia offers a lot of high-tech at reasonable prices. The 147 HP engine delivered good acceleration from stop as well as highway merging and passing. Ride and handling is predictable as well as comfortable. The Sport suspension is not too firm even on pock-marked city streets. The inside is roomy; controls are easy to use; the touch screen interface is simple to use and intuitive…what’s not to like. Oh, and the warranty is better than most.

As for the good deal I mentioned, I’ve seen the Forte advertised for $129 a month for a 39 month lease with $1999 down. And Kia is running a Holiday sales event with payments deferred for 90 days and zero-percent APR for up to 66 months.

What are you waiting for? Go make the deal!

2016 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy

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