2010 Kia Forte Koup SX
2010 Kia Forte Koup SX. Click image to enlarge

Related articles on Autos
First Drive: 2010 Kia Forte sedan

Manufacturer’s web site
Kia Canada

Join Autos’s Facebook group
Follow Autos on Twitter

Review and photos by Paul Williams

Find this vehicle in Autos’s Classified Ads

Photo Gallery:
2010 Kia Forte Koup

Montreal, Quebec – Since arriving in Canada over a decade ago, Kia has had something of an identity crisis. Overshadowed by minority owner Hyundai, Kia products were for the most part, functional but unexciting. That changed with the hiring of ex-Audi designer Peter Schreyer in 2006 and the introduction of the Kia Soul and Forte in 2009; events which signaled a new direction for the Korean company.

If the Soul got people’s attention with its head-turning looks, the 2010 Forte Koup is an admirable following act. Not as polarizing as the Soul, the Forte Koup is nonetheless noteworthy due to the crispness of its execution and very appealing lines.

2010 Kia Forte Koup EX
2010 Kia Forte Koup EX
2010 Kia Forte Koup EX. Click image to enlarge

The Forte Koup is the coupe version of the recently introduced Forte sedan. However, in terms of its exterior design, only the hood is common between the two models. Two trim levels are offered — $18,495 EX and $21,495 SX — and pursuing a “more for less” sales strategy, both are packed with desirable features. Safety equipment on both models is comprehensive, including six airbags, anti-lock brakes, impact sensing auto door unlock, traction control and electronic stability control. Front and rear disc brakes are standard, as are electronic brake force distribution, brake assist and a tire pressure monitoring system, front active head restraints and seatbelt pre-tensioners.

Powering the EX is a 2.0-litre inline four-cylinder, dual-overhead camshaft (DOHC) engine that makes 156-horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 144 pound-feet of torque at 4,300 rpm. A five-speed manual (5MT) or four-speed automatic (4AT) are the available transmission options. Suspension is the same as the Forte sedan: independent front, with MacPherson struts, coil springs and stabilizer bar, and rear torsion beam with struts, coil springs and stabilizer bar.

Comfort and convenience highlights include air conditioning, power group (windows, door locks, heated mirrors with integrated turn signals, keyless entry) tilt/telescoping steering column, tinted windows, windshield wiper de-icer, USB and auxiliary input jacks, six-way adjustable driver’s seat (manual), front heated seats, auto-off headlights, voice-activated Bluetooth connectivity, six-speaker audio and steering-wheel mounted audio and cruise controls. Standard wheels are 16-inch alloys with gloss grey finish.

The SX model receives a 2.4-litre DOHC engine that generates 173-hp at 6,000 rpm and 168 lb-ft torque at 4,000 rpm. Transmissions are six-speed manual (6MT) or optional five-speed automatic (5AT) and the suspension and exhaust are sport-tuned. Wheels are 17-inch alloys with gloss black accents.

2010 Kia Forte Koup EX
2010 Kia Forte Koup EX
2010 Kia Forte Koup EX. Click image to enlarge

Further differentiating the SX from the EX are standard leather upholstery, electronic climate control, trip computer, leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear shift knob, alloy pedals, foglights, power tilt and sliding sunroof, and Sirius satellite radio (with three-month trial).

Compared with the Forte sedan, the Koup at 4,480 millimetres is 50 mm shorter, explained by its shorter overhangs front and rear. And at 1,400 mm, it loses 60 mm in height compared with the sedan, which accounts for an almost 200-litre reduction in cabin volume (coupes typically have a lower roofline than sedans). However, rear-seat leg and headroom is more than expected, and entry and exit is accomplished without too much drama with the help of a front-seat that helpfully slides forward. The 358-litre trunk offers useful cargo space, and is almost as large (86 per cent) as the sedan.

On the road, the Koup SX with six-speed manual transmission offers a nimble and engaging driving experience. Handling is sharp, acceleration brisk, and braking is firm and effective. The 2.4-litre engine spins happily to 6,000 r.p.m., and sounds good when doing so. Gear changes are quick and precise; in short, the car is fun to drive. The clutch, however, takes some getting used to, as take-up (engagement point) is set quite high, which had several testers lurching along in first gear before mastering it . Kia put us on a short track to further demonstrate the Koup’s ability in a performance setting, where its behaviour was suitably responsive and predictable. In fact, it exceeds expectations in all areas of driving dynamics for a car at this price point.

Pages: 1 2 All

Connect with Autos.ca