2017 Kia Forte Hatchback

#30
in Compact hatchbacks
2017 MODEL
$18,200 - $26,000 See Inventory Prices

7.6

Overall Rating

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Detailed Review

The entry-level hatchback segment is full of some very decent vehicles, all of which, give cut throat competition to each other. The 2017 Kia Forte Hatchback is now back in its latest guise to emerge over the competition with a mild mid-season update, just to win some more potential buyers. The Kia Forte has been a potent hatchback since the very beginning. It has cracked the budget hatchback formula well enough and features an attractive yet not too over the top design, an airy and spacious cabin, and a decent interior.

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Pros

New and improved styling

Delightful MMI

A long list of optional extras.

Cons

Lethargic base engine

Dull dashboard

What's New?

Kia gave the Forte hatchback a styling refresh with a revised front fascia and "tiger nose" grille flanked by new projector beam headlights

LED tail lights are also available now



Styles

 2017 Kia Forte Hatchback in Aurora Black color  2017 Kia Forte Hatchback in Clear White color  2017 Kia Forte Hatchback in Crimson Red color  2017 Kia Forte Hatchback in Silky Silver color  2017 Kia Forte Hatchback in Snow White Pearl color
Aurora Black

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Ratings

Features

7.4

Engine

6.8

Fuel Economy

8.1

Interior

8.0

Exterior

7.7

Safety

6.9

Driving

8.0

Comfort

7.8

7.6

OVERALL RATING

Trims and Configurations

MSRP


 2017 Kia Forte Hatchback LX

LX

power
164 hp @ 6200 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
28 combined

$18,200


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
LX 4dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl 6A) Starting at $18,200 MSRP (25/28/34) 164 hp @ 6200 rpm2I4regular unleaded
See Full Specs
6-speed automatic front wheel drive 5

 2017 Kia Forte Hatchback EX

EX

power
164 hp @ 6200 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
28 combined

$22,100


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
EX 4dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl 6A) Starting at $22,100 MSRP (25/28/34) 164 hp @ 6200 rpm, 2 L, I4, regular unleaded
See Full Specs
6-speed automatic front wheel drive 5

 2017 Kia Forte Hatchback SX

SX

power
201 hp @ 6000 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
27 combined

$23,800 - $26,000


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
SX 4dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 7AM) Starting at $23,800 MSRP (25/27/30) 201 hp @ 6000 rpm, 1.6 L, I4, regular unleaded
See Full Specs
7-speed automatic front wheel drive 5
SX 4dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 6M) Starting at $26,000 MSRP (23/25/29) 201 hp @ 6000 rpm, 1.6 L, I4, regular unleaded
See Full Specs
6-speed manual front wheel drive 5

Top Kia Cars

2017 Kia Cadenza
8.0/10

Engine: 290 hp @ 6400 rpm, 3.3 L V6

MPG: 23 combined

2019 Kia Optima Sedan
8.0/10

Engine: 185 hp @ 6000 rpm, 2.4 L I-4

MPG: 27 combined

2018 Kia Stinger
8.1/10

Engine: 255 hp @ 6200 rpm, 2 L I4

MPG: 25 combined

2017 Kia Optima plug-in hybrid Sedan
8.2/10

Engine: 202 hp @ 6000 rpm, 2 L I4

MPG: 40 combined

2019 Kia Stinger
8.4/10

Engine: 255 hp @ 6200 rpm, 2 L I-4

MPG: 25 combined

2017 Kia Optima hybrid Sedan
9.1/10

Engine: 154 hp @ 6000 rpm, 2 L I4

MPG: 42 combined

2019 Kia Sorento
8.1/10

Engine: 185 hp @ 6000 rpm, 2.4 L I-4

MPG: 25 combined

2017 Kia Soul EV Wagon
8.2/10

MPG: 105 combined


Expert Review


CARHP Editorial September 22, 2018

7.6

Overall Rating


7.4/10
Features

 

6.8/10
Engine

 

8.1/10
Fuel Economy

 

8.0/10
Interior

 

7.7/10
Exterior

 

6.9/10
Safety

 
 
 

But, one can't forget that it is probably the most competitive segment in the car industry as of now. There are just a huge number of cars that are making their way in the segment each year. The challenge for the Kia Forte is huge and by the looks of it, the Forte is locked and loaded to fight for its place.

2017 Kia Forte Hatchback Features

7.4/10

There are a total of 3 trims offered with the 2017 Kia Forte Hatchback and they are called the LX, EX, and SX. There’s a total of 2 engine and 2 gearboxes offered while power goes to the front wheel as standard. The base LX trim carries a price tag of $18,200.

The set of standard features includes 15-inch steel wheels, 4 speaker sound system with connectivity and 60/40 rear split seats. The upper EX trim sports a price tag of $22,100. The key features include leather upholstery, LED tail lights and 17-inch alloy wheels.

At the top is the SX trim which can be bought for $23,800. The list of features includes a sports tuned suspension, 18-inch alloy wheels and more, over the features of the EX trim.

Trim

LX

EX

SX

MSRP

$18,200

$22,100

$23,800

Key

Features

  • 15-inch steel wheels
  • Heated mirrors
  • Air-conditioning
  • Full power accessories
  • A trip computer
  • A tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel
  • A height-adjustable driver seat
  • A 60/40-split folding rear seat
  • Bluetooth
  • Four-speaker sound system with a CD player
  • Satellite radio
  • USB connectivity
  • Auxiliary audio jack

 

  • 17-inch alloy wheels 
  • LED turn signal indicators on the mirror housings (and puddle lamps underneath) 
  • LED taillights 
  • Keyless entry and ignition
  • Ambient interior lighting 
  • Leather upholstery 
  • Heated front seats
  • Dual-zone automatic temperature control with rear vents.

SX trim ratchets up the sport quotient with a sport-tuned suspension, 18-inch wheels, larger front brakes and LED taillights. An auto-dimming rearview mirror and Uvo eServices are also standard.

We Recommend

If you want a no-fuss daily driver, the EX trim would suffice. There is nothing wrong with the performance stats but it’s just not thrilling enough to enjoy. But, If you don’t mind spending the few extra bucks the SX trim adds a lot more sportiness to the car.

2017 Kia Forte Hatchback Engine

6.8/10

“The Forte's available turbocharged 1.6-liter engine is the logical choice for those who want extra zest, as it transforms the Kia into a genuinely speedy little car.”- Edmunds

Engine and Transmission

A 2.0L 4 cylinder engine provides thrust in the 2017 Kia Forte. The engine is paired to a 6-speed automatic tranny. The engine is good for producing 164 hp and 151 lb-ft of torque. It is not exactly the most sprightly of the vehicles in the segment but it still does its job in a calm and decent manner.

Models

Kia Forte LX

Ford Focus SE Hatchback

Mazda 3 sport

Hyundai Elantra GT

MSRP

$18,200

$19,765

$20,145

$19,800

Engine

2.0L 4cyl

2.0L I-4

2.0L SKYACTIV-G DOHC 16-Valve 4-Cylinder

2.0L GDI I4

Transmission

6-speed Automatic

6-speed automatic

6-speed automatic

6-speed automatic

Horsepower

164 hp

160 hp @ 6500 rpm

155 hp @ 6000 rpm

173 hp @ 6500 rpm

Torque

151 lb-ft

146 lb-ft @ 4450 rpm

150 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm

154 lb-ft @ 4700 rpm

The Hyundai Elantra GT is the most powerful vehicle in the segment at 173 hp. The 2nd spot is picked up by the Kia Forte while the 3rd spot belongs to the Ford Focus at 160 hp.

Ride and Handling

The Kia Forte Hatchback is certainly not a tarmac hugger around the curves yet its suspension still behaves too stiff and unrefined like that of a sports car. That being said, the car is fairly easy to drive and is ideal for long distances where fatigue becomes a factor.

The steering wheel feedback is minimal but it is perfect for Forte Hatchback. The engine and the gearbox combo work perfectly in sync with each other allowing the car to reach highway speeds with relative ease.

Acceleration

Acceleration on the Forte hatchback is at par if not better than what the competitors are offering in the segment. The 0-60 mph timing of 7 seconds and a quarter mile timing of 15.5 seconds is actually the best in the segment.

Models

Kia Forte LX

Ford Focus SE Hatchback

Mazda 3 sport

Hyundai Elantra GT

0-60 MPH

7.0 sec

7.6 sec

8.4 sec

7.4 sec

Quarter mile

15.5 sec

16.2 sec

16.6 sec

15.9 sec

Engine

2.0L

2.0L

2.0L

2.0L

Emission

(Tons/yr of CO2 Emissions @ 15K mi/year)

6.3

5.7

5.7

6.6

The hatchback stands at the top of its segment in terms of acceleration. The 2nd spot is taken up by the Hyundai Elantra GT which is around a quarter of a second slower than the Kia.

Braking

The Kia Forte hatchback features a set of 11-inch brake rotors in the front and 10.3-inch rotors at the rear. A halt from 60 mph is achieved in 127 feet. The brakes are not too spongy or stingy and work efficiently most of the times.

Model

Kia Forte LX

Ford Focus SE Hatchback

Mazda 3 sport

Hyundai Elantra GT

Brake Front (in.)

11.0

10.9

11.0

11.0

Brake Rear (in.)

10.3

9.0

10.4

10.3

Curb Weight (lbs.)

2871

2948

2940

2904

60-0 MPH (ft.)

127

120

NA

118

The Hyundai Elantra GT takes the top spot in the segment with 118 feet stopping distance. 2nd spot is taken up by the Ford Focus followed by the Kia Forte at the 3rd spot.

2017 Kia Forte Hatchback Fuel Economy

8.1/10

The Kia Forte is the modestly frugal vehicle with a fuel mileage of 28 mpg combined. It is not the best in the segment and is rather at the lower end of the standing. The most frugal vehicle in the segment is the Mazda 3 and the Ford Focus at 31 mpg.

Model

Kia Forte LX

Ford Focus SE Hatchback

Mazda 3 sport

Hyundai Elantra GT

MPG (city)

25

26

28

24

MPG (highway)

34

38

37

32

MPG (combined)

28

31

31

27

2017 Kia Forte Hatchback Interior

8.0/10

“Seat comfort front and rear in the sedan and Forte5 is very good, and even 6-foot adults should be comfortable sitting in the back. The Forte5 hatchback boasts 23.2 cubic feet with the rear seat up and plenty more with the seatbacks folded down.”- edmunds

Seating and Comfort

The Kia Forte Hatchback offers comfortable seating for up to 5 occupants. The scenario on the front is spacious and airy but the rear can get a little claustrophobic since the elevated door panels do hamper the passage of air in the rear side of the cabin

Model

Kia Forte LX

Ford Focus SE Hatchback

Mazda 3 sport

Hyundai Elantra GT

Passenger capacity

5

5

5

5

Front (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (In.)

39.4/56.1/42.2

38.3/55.6/41.9

38.9/54.9/42.0

38.6/57.2/42.2

40.1/55.9/42.0

Second

(Head/Shoulder/Leg) (In.)

38.7/54.9/35.9

37.9/53.7/33.2

37.3/53.2/36.1

37.6/54.4/35.8

37.9/54.9/34.6

The Kia Forte hatch offers the most spacious front seats in the segment with a legroom of 42.1 inches. The most spacious car in the rear side is the Mazda sport with a legroom of 36.1 inches. 

Infotainment System

The Kia Forte hatchback features a 5-inch screen as standard up to the mid-table model while the top model features a 7-inch screen. The infotainment system can be a bit finicky to use at times but the overall response times and usability are up to the mark.

The audio system, however, is certainly much weaker than other cars in the segment. If shelling out around $20k on a car does not get you a decent audio setup and then what else will?

Interior Features

Some of the interior features of the Kia Forte hatchback are

  • ventilated seats
  • leather upholstery
  • 7-inch infotainment screen
  • Dual-tone seat covers

Cargo volume

The Kia Forte features a boot with a storage capacity of 23.8 cube.feet. The boot is not too big in size but is able to accommodate 2 to 3 moderately sized duffel bags with ease. The loading and unloading angles are also appropriate.

Model

Kia Forte LX

Ford Focus SE Hatchback

Chevrolet Cruze LT hatchback

Mazda 3 sport

Hyundai Elantra GT

Cargo Volume rear seat up (ft.3)

23.2

23.8

22.7

20.2

23.0

Cargo Volume rear seat folded (ft.3)

 

44.8

47.2

47.1

51.0

The Ford Focus features the biggest boot in the segment at 23.8 cube feet followed by the Kia at 23.2 cube feet and then the Hyundai Elantra at 23.0 cube feet

2017 Kia Forte Hatchback Exterior

7.7/10

“The Forte shares the same nose, but keeps its unique hatchback profile, obviously. Overall, it's a fresh and good-looking group of cars.”- Kelley Blue Book

Dimensions and Weight

The hatchback version of the Kia Forte is quite smaller than the sedan but still weighs a substantial 2871 lbs. It does not lose too much on the wheelbase either which is 106.3 inches in length.

The 2017 Kia Forte Hatchback sports a set of 15-inch steel rims on the base and mid-table variants while the top spec Forte wears a set of 17-inch alloy wheels.

Model

Kia Forte LX

Ford Focus SE Hatchback

Mazda 3 sport

Hyundai Elantra GT

Curb weight (lbs.)

2871

2948

2940

2904

Length(in)

171.3

171.6

175.6

169.3

Width(in)

70.1

71.8

70.7

70.1

Height(in)

57.1

57.7

57.3

57.9

Ground clearance (in)

5.5

N/A

6.1

5.5

Wheelbase (in)

106.3

104.3

106.3

104.3

Track width (in) F/R

61.5/62.0

61.2/60.4

61.2/61.4

61.0/61.5

The heaviest vehicle in the segment is the Ford Focus at 2948 lbs while the longest vehicle in the segment is the Mazda 3 at 175.6 inches of length.

Exterior Features

Some key exterior features of the 2017 Kia Forte Hatchback are

  • LED DRL
  • LED tail light
  • Tiger nose grille
  • 17-inch alloy wheel

2017 Kia Forte Hatchback Safety

6.9/10

The Kia Forte hatchback has already been tested by all the major crash-testing agencies and has scored a minimum of 4 stars in all the sectors. There is absolutely no issue with the structural integrity of the vehicle. There’s also a lot of safety features in place to assure the safety of the occupants.

Safety Features

  • ANTI-LOCK BRAKING SYSTEM
  • SIX STANDARD AIRBAGS
  • TRACTION CONTROL
  • VEHICLE STABILITY MANAGEMENT
  • Dual advanced front airbags
  • Dual front side-mounted impact airbags
  • Dual side curtain airbags
  • 4-wheel anti-lock braking system (ABS)
  • Electronic stability control (ESC)
  • Vehicle stability management (VSM)
  • Hill-assist control (HAC)
  • Rearview camera Blind spot detection
  • Lane-keep assist system
  • Autonomous emergency braking system

2017 Kia Forte Hatchback Competition

Kia Forte Hatchback vs Mazda 3

Both the Mazda 3 and the Kia Forte hatchback offers a sporty and practical experience to their buyers. The Kia is definitely the more practical between the two with its bigger boot and more spacious cabin.

Although the Mazda 3 is a sporty vehicle to drive it cannot beat the Kia Forte in terms of utility. If you want a sporty vehicle, opt for the Mazda otherwise the Kia is a better choice

Kia Forte Hatchback vs Ford Focus SE

The Ford Focus has been one of the steady selling models for Ford for a long time and has garnered a fair amount of fan following. The car features a sporty design with its long headlights and tail lamps. The interior is made of soft touch materials that make the car look much more expensive than it actually is.

Where it lacks is the overall refinement especially in the base models. If you aim to spend a little more on the higher trim, opt for the Focus while the Forte is better on the base trims.

Kia Forte Hatchback vs Hyundai Elantra GT

The Hyundai Elantra has already captured the hearts of Americans which is reflected by the number of units it sells each month and also the 2014 North American Car of the year tag. The Kia Forte is a cousin of the Elantra GT and both even share the same engine.

Where the Kia lacks is the design on the inside as well as the outside but makes for it in utility. If exterior styling is of priority, the Elantra GT is the better vehicle.

2017 Kia Forte Hatchback Final Verdict

The 2017 Kia Forte Hatchback lands in a fiery segment with well-appointed rivals coming from all the sides. Kia has managed to load it with a fair amount of features but the boring dash and the lack of a decent audio system can possibly hurt its sales by a lot. The car is priced right and the overall package is value for money. But, there are definitely some cars in the segment that are a tad bit better equipped and can be had for a little more money.