The 2017 Kia Forte has earned a Top Safety Pick+ award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The refreshed model features an improved crash structure around the doors and longer side-curtain airbags than earlier examples.
The refreshed Forte receives a Good rating in the challenging small-overlap front crash test, which is a major improvement over the Marginal score for the 2015 model. The collision resulted in a maximum intrusion of 3 inches (76 millimeters) at the footrest, versus 8 inches (203 mm) previously. The airbags controlled the movement of the dummy, and sensors showed a low risk of injuries.
The Forte is available with an optional front crash prevention system that includes autonomous emergency braking, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, blind spot detection, and rear-cross traffic alert. IIHS gives this system a Superior rating, and it's able to avoid collisions from 12 and 25 miles per hour (19 to 40 kilometers per hour).
Fortes with the optional Premium Plus package with production dates after July 2016 come with steering-adaptive HID headlights with automatic high beams, and the IIHS gives these units a Good rating. However, all other headlights available on the Forte receive a Poor score – the worst grade possible.
The refreshed model also benefits from a new, base powertrain because a 2.0-liter four-cylinder running on the Atkinson cycle replaces the previous 1.8-liter mill. The new engine produces 147 horsepower (110 kilowatts) and 132 pound-feet (179 Newton-meters) of torque. Customers can choose between a six-speed manual and a six-speed automatic.
The Forte was Kia's bestselling vehicle in the United States in June with 11,387 deliveries, which narrowly beat the Optima's 11,252 units for the month. Through the first six months of the year, Kia has moved 58,746 examples of the Forte in the U.S., which puts it just behind the Optima's 59,717 deliveries over the same period.