This week we’re looking at the 2011 Kia Forte Koup as seen by staff associate Vince Bodiford. Vince says Kia spells “coupe” differently to make a statement – it’s their way of saying that the Koup is different and apart from other coupes. It’s youthful and hip and cool – so cool it’s been named by Kelly Blue Book as among the coolest new cars under $18K – joining the ranks of the Scion tC, Kia Soul and Nissan Cube. Today’s twenty-something demands cars that are akin to a fashion accessory, and the Koup fits the bill nicely.
The Koup has also earned other prestigious serious awards – including Car of the Year by NADA Guides. It’s also the platform for Kia’s first ever motorsports program, fielding two factory entries in the 2010 GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge.
Available in two trim levels (EX and SX), Forte Koup surrounds its occupants with the latest in must-have technology, with all models featuring Bluetooth®1 wireless technology connectivity and steering wheel-mounted controls that enable voice-activated hands-free operation for compatible cell phones.
Kia’s young target customer demands a pile of electronics, so also for convenience, steering wheel-mounted audio controls also come standard on all models, as do USB and auxiliary input jacks in the center console with full iPod®2 and MP3 controllability via the audio head unit or the steering wheel-mounted controls. A six-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system outfitted with SIRIUS Satellite Radio. Probably the coolest Kia signature feature is speaker lights that can either pulse to the beat of the music or simply add mood lighting.
With a surprisingly spacious interior for a two-door car, Koup provides comfortable interior volume. Trips to the beach and weekend getaways are a breeze with ample cargo space of 12.6 cubic feet, enough to accommodate luggage and belongings, while 60/40-split folding rear seats that fold nearly flat extend the available amount of cargo space even further. Overall, inside it’s comfortable and full of features.
Fun to drive, the Koup offers taut, responsive handling, and a smoother-than-expected ride quality. We tested the SX, which comes with a sport-tuned suspension set to provide a firmer ride with reduced body roll and improved handling. Overall the car brakes, steers and handles nicely, but you do feel its lightness.
It’s powered by a 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder fuel-injected engine, making up to 173-bhp and 118 lb-ft of torque – with four choices of automatic and manual transmissions. The power package is finished off nicely with a dual-outlet exhaust outfitted on both trims. It’s a nice power-to-weight ratio that gets the job done and provides a sense of performance.
Fuel economy is not sacrificed for performance as both engines deliver at least 31 miles per gallon, with 25 to 34 mpg (city/highway) attainable. Forte Koup pricing starts at $17,200 and comes with Kia’s limited 10-year, 100,000 mile warranty. For more information, see your local Kia dealer, or visit Kia.com.
Kia Motors is in the midst of a dramatic, design-led transformation. The vehicle line includes the Sorento CUV, Sportage compact CUV, Optima midsize sedan, Soul urban passenger vehicle, Forte compact sedan, Forte 5-door compact hatchback, Forte Koup two-door coupe, Rio sub-compact sedan, Rio5 sub-compact hatchback and Sedona minivan.
Kia Forte Koup $18,000, Chevrolet Cobalt $15,000, Chevrolet Cruze $17,000, Ford Focus $17,000, Honda Civic $16,000, Honda CR-Z $20,000, Hyundai Elantra $16,000, Mazda 3 $16,000, Nissan Sentra $16,000, Scion tC $18,000, Subaru Impreza $17,000, Suzuki SX4 Sport $14,000, Toyota Corolla $16,000, Volkswagen Golf $18,000.
2.4 liter 4-cylinder engine, 6-speed auto trans, 17” alloy wheels, 4-wheel ABS disc brakes with brake assist, traction control & stability control, front side and side curtain airbags, LATCH child system, tire pressure monitoring, air conditioning, power windows, locks and mirrors, keyless entry, audio with 6 speakers, SIRIUS satellite radio with 3 months service, USB & Aux input jacks, multi adjustable driver’s seat, 60/40 split folding rear seat, cruise control, Bluetooth wireless tech., tilt & telescopic column, leather wrapped steering wheel & shift knob, steering wheel paddle shifters, metal finish accents & metal pedals, trip computer, fog lights, tinted solar glass.
$3.69/ Gal avg. November 11, 2011
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23 City and 31 Highway MPG
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