Thursday, December 22, 2016

2017 Kia Forte feels fine, with a braking bonus

A menu of Mark Glover’s AutoGlo car reviews can be seen on the Business page of The Sacramento Bee’s website

Sacramento, California – Thankfully, it’s not often that you experience the real-life engagement of a motor vehicle’s emergency safety system during a test drive.

But it happened to me in my recent week with the refreshed-for-2017 Kia Forte EX sedan. Let me explain.

My dressed-up compact came with an “Autonomous Emergency Braking” system, which will automatically take over the hard-braking duties if sensors determine the car to be an eye-blink away from serious trouble.  Yeah, you know what’s coming, right?

On a recent commute home to the Sacramento suburbs, driving a route I’ve driven hundreds of times, I encountered a perfect storm for a chain-collision crash while at the wheel of the Forte.

Rolling in the center lane of a three-lane highway in heavy traffic, the truck in front of me suddenly went into a full panic stop at around 60 miles per hour.  Naturally, I did the same. In a fraction of a second, I determined that we would not collide, so I took my foot off the brake, but the Forte’s AEB system took over and sent the brake pedal flat to the floor.

My instant reaction was panic, as I was certain that the car behind me would crunch my rear bumper hard.  I immediately pumped the accelerator, hoping to avoid this.

Amazingly, everything straightened out and no contact occurred.  Given all the evidence, I came to the conclusion that one of two things happened: For one, the driver behind me deserved a medal for reacting so quickly to avoid crashing into me.  Or two, the Forte’s AEB system saved my bacon.

I’m inclined to believe it was the latter.

So, if you are searching for a compact that just might bail you out of a hot spot during a dicey urban commute, put the Forte at the top of your list.

Oh, by the way, there’s much more to like about the latest Forte beyond that.

Sleek, sporty styling draws approving nods from folks viewing the Forte’s profile, and an upgrade in engines for 2017 bolsters the saucy look.  My ride had a 2-liter, four-cylinder power plant rated at 164 horsepower.  This was more than enough to move the Forte around with authority.

I found the Forte quite agile in quick slalom moves, and the steering balance was just about perfect, which is saying something for a compact sedan.

Fuel mileage ratings on the tester were a sublime 25 miles per gallon in the city and 33 mpg on the highway.  The starting price on an EX is $21,200, with plentiful options available.

On the motion picture scale, this 2017 Forte deserves four stars … and my thanks for almost certainly braking me out of harm’s way.

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