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2017 Kia Forte Review

The 2017 Kia Forte ranks in the top third of its class, thanks to its comfortable interior, user-friendly tech features, great safety and predicted reliability ratings, and refined engine options.

Pros & Cons

  • Roomy, upscale interior
  • Simple-to-use infotainment system
  • Refined engine options
  • Firm ride on rough pavement

New for 2017

  • Forte Koup discontinued
  • Refreshed exterior styling
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto now available
  • New active safety features available
  • More efficient base engine

Rankings & Awards

The 2017 Kia Forte's #3 ranking is based on its score within the 2017 Compact Cars category. It was a finalist for our 2017 Best Compact Car for the Money award. Currently the Kia Forte has a score of 8.5 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 40 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.




Critics' Rating: 8.7
Performance: 7.5
Interior: 8.5
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.9
Safety: 9.3
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2017 Kia Forte Overview

Is the 2017 Kia Forte a Good Used Car?

The 2017 Forte is a fine option if you’re shopping for a used compact car. The Forte is available in both sedan and hatchback body styles, and it impresses with handsome cabin materials, roomy seating space, easy-to-use tech features, and zippy performance from its range of four-cylinder engine options. The Forte also rates well for predicted reliability and crash safety, making it a very practical option in this class. That said, the Kia isn’t a standout in any one area. Before you buy, consider top-rated alternatives like the 2017 Honda Civic, which offers a smoother ride and higher fuel economy.

Why You Can Trust Us

We’ve researched 40 Kia Forte reviews, as well as hard data points like reliability scores and cost of ownership estimates, to help you make the best car-buying decision possible.

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our team has decades of experience in the auto industry. Though we’re passionate about cars, we’re even more committed to providing helpful consumer advice. To maintain objectivity, we don’t accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies.

How Much Is the 2017 Kia Forte?

You can expect to pay between $11,800 and $16,000 for a used 2017 Forte. These figures are based on 1,600 listings for the 2017 Kia Forte on our site. The average price is $13,900. Prices will vary depending on the vehicle's condition, mileage, features, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2017 Kia Forte Cost to Own?

The Forte’s five-year costs for gas, insurance, repairs, and maintenance are projected to be $22,100 – or around $4,400 per year. That’s about average for the compact car class.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Forte?

The 2018 Forte sedan starts at $16,800 and the Forte5 hatchback starts at $18,300. You can save thousands of dollars by shopping for a used Forte, especially if you want a base model with few options. You won’t miss out on any features by sticking with a used model, either. There were no major updates for the 2018 model year.

Read about the new Kia Forte »

For a less expensive new car in the Kia family, consider the 2018 Kia Rio, which starts at just $13,900. The subcompact Rio offers fewer active safety features and isn’t as roomy inside as the larger Forte, but its interior styling feels more modern and it returns comparable fuel economy (up to 29/37 mpg city/highway).

See the Best New Car Deals »

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Which Model Year of the Kia Forte Is Best?

The 2017 Kia Forte is part of a generation that spans the 2014 through 2018 model years. There have been few updates to the Forte during this generation, but the most substantial changes arrived in 2017. These include the discontinuation of the two-door Forte Koup model, refreshed exterior styling, the arrival of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a new base engine with 147 horsepower and improved fuel economy. A number of advanced safety features also became available for 2017, including forward collision warning, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, and adaptive pivoting headlights.

You can surely save money by shopping for used 2014, 2015, and 2016 models. However, you’ll want to opt for a 2017 or 2018 model to see the benefits of these updates.

Compare the 2015, 2016, and 2017 Forte »

How Reliable Is the 2017 Kia Forte?

The 2017 Forte has a predicted reliability rating of four out of five from J.D. Power, which is great for the auto industry.

Read more about Forte reliability »

2017 Kia Forte Recalls

As of this writing, there are no recalls for the 2017 Kia Forte sedan or hatchback.

See more information on Kia Forte safety recalls »

Which Used Kia Forte Model Is Right for Me?

The 2017 Forte is available in four trims: LX, S, EX, and SX. The base Kia Forte LX model comes standard with a USB port, Bluetooth, remote keyless entry, power windows, air conditioning, and cloth seats. The Forte S trim (sedan only) adds a 7-inch touch screen, a rearview camera, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, cruise control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and alloy wheels.

The Kia Forte EX trim adds leather upholstery, heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, proximity keyless entry with push-button start, a hands-free trunk opener, and fog lights. Last but not least, the Forte SX trim (hatchback only) has a turbocharged engine, a sport-tuned suspension, and larger front brakes. Available features include a navigation system, a sunroof, ventilated front seats, and a suite of active safety features.

See 2017 Kia Forte trims and specs »

What Does Kia's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Kia offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles five years old or less and with fewer than 60,000 miles. Eligibility is determined by the vehicle’s initial sale date. Kia’s certified pre-owned vehicles receive the balance of the original 10-year/100,000-mile new-car powertrain warranty as well as a one-year/12,000-mile comprehensive Platinum warranty on non-powertrain parts. Every CPO Kia must pass a 164-point inspection. Additional benefits like towing and roadside assistance may be available, so read the Kia warranty page carefully.

According to our analysis, Kia has one of the best CPO programs among affordable car manufacturers.

See the best CPO programs »

How Safe Is the Forte?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the Kia Forte a 2017 Top Safety Pick+. It received an Acceptable rating for passenger-side small overlap front crash safety, but the top Good rating in all other areas tested. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the Forte a perfect five-star rating in overall and side impact testing, as well as four stars for front and rollover crash safety.

The 2017 Forte is available with a rearview camera, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and adaptive headlights that pivot to illuminate turns. Only the S and EX sedan trims are available with lane departure warning, lane keep assist, and forward collision warning with brake assist.

See Forte safety scores »

2017 Kia Forte Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2017 Kia Forte or 2017 Toyota Corolla?

The 2017 Toyota Corolla has its fair share of compromises. It offers tepid acceleration and uninspired handling, and it lacks popular features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Forte is a better car to drive overall, and a better option for many shoppers. Still, the Corolla is worth considering. It comes standard with a huge suite of advanced safety features, including forward collision warning and lane departure warning. It also rates highly for crash safety and predicted reliability.

Which Is Better: 2017 Kia Forte or 2017 Chevrolet Cruze?

The 2017 Chevy Cruze is another fine option in the compact car class. Both the Cruze and the Forte rate well for safety and reliability. Each has a welcoming and comfortable interior, user-friendly tech features, and support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The major differences come down to performance. The Forte feels more energetic when getting up to speed, but the Cruze offers a more comfortable ride and superior fuel economy with its available diesel engine.

Which Is Better: 2017 Kia Forte or 2017 Hyundai Elantra?

The 2017 Hyundai Elantra is the Kia Forte’s corporate cousin (Kia is a subsidiary of Hyundai). These compact cars share some common engines, safety features, and user-friendly infotainment systems with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Both also have great safety and predicted reliability ratings. The Elantra is a more tempting option, though. It was fully redesigned for 2017, boasting a smoother ride and sharper styling inside and out.

Compare the Forte, Corolla, and Cruze »

2017 Forte Performance                                     

How Does the 2017 Kia Forte Drive?

The 2017 Forte has three engine options: a 147-horsepower engine (LX and S models), a 164-horsepower engine (LX and EX models), and a turbocharged 201-horsepower engine (SX only). A six-speed manual transmission and front-wheel drive are standard. A six-speed automatic and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic are available, depending on which trim level and engine you get. Most drivers will be perfectly happy with the Forte’s 147- and 164-horsepower four-cylinder engines. Each zips the car around town confidently and offers decent passing power at higher speeds, thanks in part to the Forte’s refined transmissions. If you’re looking for high performance, however, opt for the SX model. This turbocharged engine is quite responsive and it accelerates the Forte5 with authority.

The Forte benefits from quick and well-weighted steering, and it feels stable when rounding tight turns. Its brakes slow the car down assertively as well. On the other hand, the Forte’s ride quality isn’t as comfortable as other cars in this class. Its suspension tends to jitter and bounce on rough pavement, rather than soak up the bumps and dips.

Does the 2017 Kia Forte Get Good Gas Mileage?

The Forte gets average fuel economy for a compact car. Its 147-horsepower engine earns an EPA-rated 29 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway. The 164-horsepower engine returns a decent 25/33 mpg city/highway, while the SX’s turbo engine manages a lower 25/30 mpg.

Read more about Forte performance »

2017 Forte Interior

How Many People Does the 2017 Forte Seat?

The 2017 Forte is available in two body styles: a four-door sedan and a five-door hatchback (Forte5). Each has five seats and offers generous head- and legroom in both rows. The Forte’s front seats are comfortable, supportive, and nicely contoured. The rear seats are similarly comfy and they can accommodate two adults with room to spare. Cloth upholstery is standard; heated, ventilated, and leather seats are available. The Forte’s cabin is nicely styled, and its soft-touch plastics and padded surfaces feel high-quality. The dashboard in top trim levels wouldn’t look out of place in a much more expensive vehicle.

How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2017 Kia Forte?

The Forte has two full sets of LATCH connectors for securing child seats. The top tether anchors are easy to find, but the lower anchors are buried deep in the seat cushions and can be tough to access.

2017 Kia Forte Features                                                                                                       

The 2017 Forte comes standard with a USB port and Bluetooth. Available features include a 7-inch touch screen, a navigation system, and a rearview camera. It’s worth upgrading to a model with the touch screen. It’s very user-friendly, thanks to its simple menus and large on-screen buttons. It also supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which integrate your phone’s apps and functions with the car’s infotainment center. No matter which setup you opt for, you should find the conventional buttons and knobs of the basic audio and climate controls easy to use while driving.

See 2017 Kia Forte specs »

Read more about Forte interior »

2017 Kia Forte Dimensions

Kia Forte Cargo Space

The Forte sedan has a roomy 14.9 cubic feet of trunk space. Its rear seats can fold in a 60/40 split to fit larger items. The Forte5 hatchback has 23.2 cubic feet of cargo space behind its rear seats, and 56.4 cubic feet with those seats folded, which is great for the compact car class.

2017 Forte Length and Weight

The Forte sedan is 15 feet long and has a curb weight of between 2,811 and 3,029 pounds. The Forte5 hatchback is 14.3 feet long, and its curb weight ranges between 2,928 and 3,123 pounds.

Where Was the 2017 Kia Forte Built?

The 2017 Forte was built in South Korea and Mexico.


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