Auto Review: Kia Forte Koup
The 2011 Kia Forte Koup is the 2 –door version of the Kia Forte sedan. The SX model is powered by 2.4-litre, four-cylinder engines producing 173 horsepower and 168 pound-feet of torque. The base transmission is a five-speed manual unit, or a four-speed automatic as found on the entry levels EX. You can opt for a six-speed manual transmission that arrives as standard in the SX Koup or the five-speed automatic. The Koup SX is priced at $21,495, with the only option being the $1,200 five-speed automatic transmission.
For the money the Kia has quite an attractive interior, with piano-black trim and soft-touch dash panels. The seats are reasonably comfortable and although leg and shoulder room is adequate, there seems to be a lack of headroom that is not helped by the high seating position and lack of seat lowering ability. Even still, the rest is good; including rear seat comfort for two passengers. Cargo volume is 358 litres and the 60/40 rear seat folds down, but not completely flat mind you.
All base Koup EX models arrive with, as standard, voice-activated Bluetooth connectivity, heated seats, keyless entry, cruise, steering wheel-mounted audio controls and power windows/locks/mirrors. The uprated SX models weigh in with automatic climate control, metal style interior accents, leather seating surfaces and a leather-trimmed steering wheel and shifter. Also included is a trip computer and a power tilt-and-slide sunroof. In addition, the SX, as-standard, includes satellite radio for the audio system.
On the safety front the Koup arrives with six airbags (two front, two side and two side curtain) which are standard, as are anti-lock brakes and stability control.
The 2.4 liter four cylinder engine has power enough, while the shifter has a surprisingly long throw along with a light, well-modulated clutch. The result is that the Koup is easy to drive, with the manual transmission and generous torque range. Mid-torque is available around the 2,500-rpm numbers, equalling relaxed highways cruising and no need to constantly shift through the gears, hunting for the sweet spots.
Note that the torsion-beam (semi-independent) rear suspension does offer some thrills, especially with its tuned settings of “stiff is more” for the SX model, while its 45-series profile rubber and 17 inch alloys allow for quick breakaways. You can opt for the Koup EX’s softer suspension, which dampens the reflexes, but would have your rear passengers thanking you. Official Natural Resources Canada’s fuel consumption ratings for the Koup SX six-speed are 9.2/6.2 L/100 km (city/highway).
To sum up, the competition may offer a more dynamic driving experience perhaps, but the Koup has the edge looks-wise.
2010 Kia Forte Koup priced: $21,495 – $22,950