Kia rolls out updated Forte, Forte5 for 2017

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Kia has updated the Forte sedan and Forte5 hatchback for the 2017 model year. Set to debut this week at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show, the revisions revolve principally around updated exterior design and interior equipment. But there are a few mechanical updates as well.

We saw most of the stylistic updates when Kia revealed the new K3 back in Korea a month ago. The new Forte (as we know it on this side of the world) is distinguished by a new front bumper design and what Kia calls the "tiger-nose" grille that blends into the new headlights, much like the new Optima. There are new taillights as well, and a revised interior centered around a seven-inch touchscreen display that will soon offer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.

Under the hood, Kia has replaced the 1.8-liter four with a new 2.0, mated to either a six-speed manual or a new six-speed automatic transmission. There are new driver assistance systems as well, and the Korean automaker has added a new mid-level S trim in between the base LX and top EX models, with a sport-tuned suspension, 16-inch alloys, LED daytime running lights, a rear spoiler, and chrome exhaust tip.

The revised Forte sedan will be the first new model produced at Kia's new plat in Monterey, Mexico. Pricing will be announced closer to launch in the next couple of months, as will a revised two-door Forte Koup, but Kia has also announced a revised Forte5 for 2017. The hatchback features similar cosmetic updates to the sedan. The 2.0-liter four carries over unchanged, as does the punchier 1.6-liter turbo, which can now be had with a new seven-speed DCT. That engine comes in the sporty SX model, which serves as the top of the three-trim line. Scope out the full details in the pair of press releases below.
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2017 Forte overview

- Compact Sedan Receives Updated Design, New Powertrain and Advanced Tech, Including Android Auto and Apple Car PlayTM
- 2017 Forte adds 2.0-liter engine, plus updated six-speed automatic transmission
- Advanced driver assistance features including Autonomous Emergency Braking, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Front Collision Warning, and Dynamic Bending Lights3 are newly available
- Sporty S trim pumps up Forte's sport factor with exclusive interior and features

Irvine, Calif., Jan. 11, 2015 – The Motor City today got an up close look at the refreshed 2017 Forte when Kia Motors America pulled the silk off the updated compact sedan at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The 2017 Forte sedan has been improved for the new model year with subtle visual changes, a new 2.0-liter 4-cylinder powertrain engineered for improved fuel economy and performance, and a host of advanced convenience and driver-assistance features. Pricing for the 2017 Forte will be announced closer to the vehicle's on-sale date in the first quarter of 2016.

Visual enhancements to the 2017 Forte add even more sophistication to its European sport-sedan styling. Up front, the Forte dons a new front bumper and "tiger nose" grille that has been extended to connect with new headlights, much like the all-new 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.

Now available in three trims, a new sporty S trim sits in between the entry-level LX trim and the top-trim EX model. The new S trim amps up the Forte's dynamic demeanor by adding a sport-tuned suspension, 16-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, rear spoiler, and a chrome exhaust tip. 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.

Inside, LX and S trims get upgraded cloth materials for the seats, with the S trim featuring exclusive black cloth seats with white contrasting stitching, as well as a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. The EX now comes standard with leather seats with heated front seats, 10-way power driver seat with a two-position memory setting, dual-zone automatic temperature, rear vents, and a push-button start with Smart Key. As for infotainment, both the S and EX trims come standard with UVO3 telematics, which is displayed on a 7-inch color touch screen and includes a suite of core smartphone functions via Android Auto and Apple CarPlayTM (late availability). 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. 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.

Further solidifying the 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.

Replacing last year's 1.8-liter inline-4 cylinder engine beneath the hood, the 2017 Forte now comes standard with a 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 the tried-and-true 2.0-liter GDI I-4 and six-speed automatic. Power ratings and fuel economy figures will be released closer to launch, while 2017 Koup details will be released at a later date.

The Forte sedan will be produced at Kia's new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Monterrey, Mexico, making it the first vehicle to be built at the automaker's second North American plant. Production at the Mexico facility is slated to begin in the first half of 2016.


2017 Forte5 overview

- Kia's Hatchback Gets Hotter with Bolder Exterior Design and Enhanced Content, Including Android Auto and Apple Car PlayTM
- 2017 Forte5 gets sleeker exterior design inspired by the all-new Optima
- Available seven-speed dual-clutch transmission
- Newly available driver assistance features include Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Blind Spot Detection with Lane Change Assist

Irvine, Calif., Jan. 11, 2015 – Kia Motors America today unveiled the 2017 Forte5 alongside its similarly refreshed sedan sibling at the North American International Auto Show. Along with visual enhancements to the front and rear, the new Forte5 also adds a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and newly available convenience and driver-assistance features previously introduced on the all-new Optima. Pricing for the 2017 Forte5 will be announced closer to the vehicle's on-sale date in the first half of 2016.

While the new Forte5 maintains its European-inspired hatchback design, it appears bolder than ever for 2017. Like the sedan, the Forte5's front clip is highlighted by a wider version of the signature "tiger nose" grille, similar to the one found on the all-new 2016 Optima. The grille connects redesigned headlights that sweep back around the front fenders, giving the new Forte5 more road presence than the outgoing model. Around back, revised taillights complete the exterior redesign, and higher trim levels go one step further with standard LED daytime running lights and taillights.

Three trim levels remain - LX, EX, and SX – and each one brings something new to the table for 2017. The entry-level LX is handsomely equipped with features such as projector beam headlights and remote keyless entry with trunk opener and is now available with Blind Spot Detection with Lane Change Assist and Rear-Cross Traffic Alert, as these advanced driver-assistance systems are optional across the entire range. The EX sees the most changes as previous options – including LED taillights, leather seats, heated front seats, push-button start with Smart Key, and perimeter approach lighting with front-door pocket lighting – are now standard along with UVO eServices.

Kia's UVO infotainment system offers Android Auto and Apple CarPlayTM (late availability) compatibility, and is displayed on a 7-inch color touchscreen. Both platforms allow drivers to stay connected by replicating key smartphone apps and functionality on the touchscreen, enabling them to send text messages, access music, or look up driving directions while behind the wheel. The sporty SX trim comes with all that and more, including 18-inch alloy wheels, unique front and rear fascias with red accents, and dual exhaust tip finishers. Also new for the SX is an Orange Color Pack, which further signifies the SX's sporty nature with orange leather seat inserts and contrasting stitching on the seats and shifter.

Underneath the hood, the 2017 Forte5 comes standard with a 2.0-liter GDI four-cylinder engine, which is paired with a six-speed manual transmission or an available second-generation six-speed automatic transmission. Maintaining the sport theme in the SX is a zippy 1.6-liter turbocharged GDI four-cylinder engine, which is now available with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Power ratings and fuel economy figures will be released closer to launch, while 2017 Koup details will be released at a later date.

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