Attractive design inside and out; ride and handling; respectable fuel-efficiency; standard tech-savvy features
The Koup is offered in two different trims, EX and SX. The EX is powered by a 156-horsepower, 2.0L 4-cylinder engine, while the SX gets a 173-horsepower, 2.4L four. Both engines get continuously variable valve timing to help optimize performance and fuel economy. A 6-speed manual and a 6-speed automatic transmission are available for 2011.
The Forte Koup rides on struts and coil springs in front and a torsion-beam setup in back, with stabilizer bars front and back. Engine-speed-sensitive power rack-and-pinion steering works well in feeling tight and responsive in corners yet requires little effort for parking situations. On SX models, the suspension gets a firmer tuning for improved handling and an upgrade to 17-inch ten-spoke alloy wheels, but in either case the Koup rides quite well.
The Koup has details and styling cues that help it bear a strong likeness to that of the Forte sedan, but with a lower roofline and overall length that's two inches shorter, the Koup's profile is quite different than the sedan's, especially from the side. The back seat is adult-sized, though entry is a little tight; it's split 60/40 and the seatbacks can be folded forward, almost flat, to extend the cargo floor for large items.
On the SX, the interior is dressed up with a sportier look and feel, including red contrast stitching, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, metal pedals and trim, telescopic steering and speaker lights that flash to the beat of music as it's played.
Kia equipped the Forte Koup to appeal to young and tech-savvy shoppers, so Bluetooth connectivity is standard, as are voice-activated functions and steering-wheel controls. A USB input, auxiliary input, iPod interface and Sirius satellite radio are also included with a 6-speaker sound system. Several other premium features like heated mirrors, keyless entry and cruise control are also included with the base EX. The SX models, in addition to all the performance upgrades and appearance extras, get fog lamps, upgraded sport seats with active headrests and a trip computer. In addition to the expected side and side-curtain airbags, electronic stability control is standard even on the base EX, as are anti-lock brakes.
Among the top options offered on the Koup are a sunroof and a Leather Package that brings leather upholstery, heated front seats and on the EX, an upgrade to the leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter.
The Kia Forte Koup was an all-new model for 2010, so for 2011 it returns with few changes. All models have been given new 6-speed manual and automatic transmissions in place of last year's units. Exterior styling has been revised on all models and push-button start and paddle shifters have been added to the list of features.
The Forte Koup is one of the best-looking, most-affordable small coupes inside and out, with a design that doesn't look merely like a sedan derivative. It's more powerful than base versions of the Honda Civic coupe, Ford Focus coupe and Chevrolet Cobalt coupe according to Kia, and it has more interior volume than the Civic coupe, Cobalt coupe or Scion tC. Fuel economy is another good reason to consider the Forte Koup, along with its very strong list of standard features--especially for those who appreciate tech extras. For its price, well under $20,000 even when you add a few options, the Forte Koup is hard to beat.
Vehicle Price: 17,690.00
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