Road Test: 2017 Kia Forte5 SX

The Kia Forte5 is part of a unique class of cars. It’s classified a compact yet has more room than many larger cars. With a Euro-inspired hatchback design, we like the design more than the sedan.

The tiger-nose grille connects the cool design of the HID and LED headlights that sweep around the front fenders. The red trim in the lower fascia really wows and takes the Forte5 to the next level. LED illumination in the door handles and rear lights give off a premium look.

Forte5 handles similar to the Forte sedan we drove a while back, meaning secure and confident, with good feedback and confident brakes.

Under the hood, the Forte5 SX has a peppy 1.6-liter turbo GDI engine mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. Power is rated at 201 HP and 195 lb-ft of torque, more than plenty to move this hatch even with a full cabin and cargo area.

The EPA rates the Forte5 at 25 mpg city, 30 mpg highway, 27 mpg combined.

The value quotient is strong in Forte5. Our SX tester came with leather, heated and ventilated front seats, a power memory driver’s seat, navigation, rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot monitor, and push-button start.

The cabin is quiet and comfortable, with well bolstered seats front and back. The seating positions all provide clear visibility around, and we like the contrasting orange leather with the black.

We love that Kia’s UVO infotainment system offers Android Auto and Apple CarPlay standard, utilizing a 7″ touchscreen that makes driving safer overall. Both platforms allow drivers to stay connected by replicating some smartphone apps and functionality on the screen. It enables text messages to be sent and heard, music to be accessed, driving directions to be looked up while behind the wheel. In fact, Waze and Google Maps are coming to CarPlay this fall.

All the crash prevention tech is optional, so we didn’t have the chance to evaluate how it performs.

Summary Scorecard (1-10)
Ride and Handling 10
Braking 10
Powertrain and Fuel Economy 10
Noise 9
Headlights 9
Interior Fit and Finish 10
Seating 10
Visibility 10
Gauges and Controls 10
Infotainment 10
Crash-Avoidance 10
Total Score  98

Make: Kia
Model: Forte5
Trim Level: SX
Engine: 1.6L Turbo
Transmission: 7-Speed Automatic
Options: Premium Tech Pkg

Base Price: $23,800
As-Tested Price: $28,420

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