Making their debut in Detroit, the 2017 Kia Forte Sedan and Forte5 Hatchback roll into showrooms later this year with a new look and upgraded features. The changes add tangible appeal that should make both of these front-drive compacts more competitive against their rivals.

Kia Forte Sedan

Now available in LX, EX and a sporty new S-spec version that sits between the two, the 2017 Kia Forte 4-door boasts revised front end styling, borrowing cues introduced on the 2016 Optima. Changes include an edgier fascia with a bolder “tiger nose” grille and new headlamps with available corner-following headlamps while redrawn taillamps with optional LEDs -- standard on the EX -- round out the restyle. The new Forte S adds enthusiast flair by complementing its sport-tuned suspension with 16-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, subtle rear spoiler and a chrome exhaust tip while the EX nets 17-inch alloys and Smart Key with perimeter approach lighting.

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Inside, the LX and S feature upgraded cloth seat coverings and enhanced trim as well as UVO3 telematics with a 7.0-inch touchscreen that includes Android Auto and Apple CarPlay (late availability) capability. The EX now comes with leather upholstery, heated front seats and a 10-way power driver seat with 2-position memory as well as dual-zone automatic climate control, rear air vents and push-button start with Smart Key while all Forte Sedans get new Drive Mode Select systems with Normal/Eco/Sport settings. The 2017 remake also adds optional Autonomous Emergency Braking, Front Collision Warning, Lane Change Warning, Lane Keep Assist, Blind Spot Detection, Lane Change Assist and Rear-Cross Traffic Alert.

The Forte LX and S models will be fitted with a new 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that uses efficiency-enhancing Atkinson Cycle technology in place of the current 1.8-liter four and offer the choice of 6-speed manual or automatic transmissions while the EX will retain the current 2.0-liter GDI 4-cylinder paired with a 6-speed automatic.

Kia Forte5 Hatchback

Enjoying the same exterior freshening as the sedan, the 2017 Kia Forte5 returns in LX, EX and SX trims, each gaining some new features and all now offering Blind Spot Detection with Lane Change Assist and Rear-Cross Traffic Alert as options. The biggest changes are found on the Forte5 EX, where formerly optional LED taillights, leather seats, heated front seats, push-button start with Smart Key and perimeter approach lighting become standard equipment along with UVO eServices that has a 7.0-inch display and the Android Auto/Apple CarPlay enhancements.

The Forte5 SX also gains all of the above and adds a new Orange Color Pack option that includes orange leather seat inserts and stitching. The carryover 2.0-liter GDI 4-cylinder engine in the 2017 LE and EX now comes with a standard 6-speed manual transmission and offers the existing 6-speed automatic as an option while the SX’s 1.6-liter turbocharged GDI 4-cylinder retains the base 6-speed manual and offers a new 7-speed dual-clutch automatic option.

The 2017 Kia Forte Sedan will arrive in showrooms during the first quarter and the Forte5 is due before mid-year. Pricing, specific power/torque figures and final packaging details will be released closer to their actual on-sale dates.

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