The improved crash structure paid big dividends for occupant safety.
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.
Gallery: 2017 Kia Forte IIHS Crash Test
Improved Kia Forte earns TOP SAFETY PICK+ award
ARLINGTON, Va. — Structural improvements to the 2017 Kia Forte have boosted its performance in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's small overlap front crash test. With an optional, superior-rated front crash prevention system and available good-rated headlights, the small car joins the ranks of TOP SAFETY PICK+ winners.
The 2017 Kia Forte has longer side-curtain airbags than earlier models. In addition, Fortes built after March have beefed-up structure at the door hinge pillar and the door sill.
Thanks to those changes, Fortes built after March earn a good rating in the small overlap test, which represents a crash in which the left front corner of a vehicle collides with another vehicle or with an object such as a tree or utility pole. In the test of the Forte, the driver's space was maintained well, with maximum intrusion of 3 inches at the footrest. The dummy's movement was well-controlled, and measures from the dummy indicated a low risk of injuries in a crash of this severity.
Earlier models earned a marginal rating, with intrusion reaching 8 inches at the lower hinge pillar. In addition, the dummy's head contacted the instrument panel, and the side curtain airbag failed to provide sufficient forward coverage.
To qualify for the 2017 TOP SAFETY PICK award, a vehicle must have good ratings in the small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests and an available front crash prevention rating that earns an advanced or superior rating. The "plus" is awarded to vehicles that meet those criteria and also have good or acceptable headlights.
The Forte's optional front crash prevention system, new for 2017, earns a superior rating. The vehicle avoided collisions in IIHS track tests at 12 and 25 mph. The system also includes a forward collision warning component that meets the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's criteria.
Fortes built after July 2016 equipped with the Premium Plus package on the EX trim line earn a good rating for headlights. Fortes without the Premium Plus package, as well as those with the package but built before August 2016, have poor-rated headlights.