What a sporty coupe is all about
The all-new Kia Forte Koup is something quite different from your ordinary norm of two-door sport coupes. The Koup looks good with the so-called “Schreyer” styling to its European chic lines. It is sporty and an adequate get-go, has reasonable fuel economy and impressive cornering, making it practical for a coupe. The Koup has just enough sporty edge to make it stand out from a crowd and is priced right with plenty of features to sweeten Kia’s scheme of things that seems to always work out for their customers new and old.
Touches of carbon fiber look material set off interior and exterior styling, as does subtle use of LED lighting. It has an aggressive front fascia with larger bumper and grille openings, black gloss grille inserts and outside mirrors, larger front brakes, alloy sport pedals, Smart key and LED taillight technology. Huge 18-inch wheels with a particularly modern pattern suits the contours of the body, and there’s a full-sized spare in alloy as well.
Fairly a weighty coupe at 1,334 kilograms, it is bigger than you think as you get comfortable inside because it provides very generous rear seat room like its four-door brother. Access to the rear seats is commendably easy and a 60/40 folding rear seat provides additional luggage space when needed.
Our test unit packs a whole array of standard options that are normally a tick on a box for other manufacturers; this includes cruise control, paddle shift for the automatic transmission variant, premium leather seats, trip computer, Bluetooth phone and audio, alloy pedals, two 12V outlets, and numerous storage compartments. The audio/infotainment pod is comprehensive and includes SUNA satnav but the screen is a tad small. The other options available include power sunroof, Xenon HID headlights, Multimedia Interface (with navigation) and Enhanced LCD/TFT Supervision Cluster.
The Koup uses Kia’s latest direct injection 2.0-liter inline DOHC four-cylinder with 173 horsepower and 154 pound-feet of torque equipped with a six-speed automatic with paddle shifter. Also offered is FlexSteer that enhances the electric power steering system with three driver-selectable modes: Comfort, Normal and Sport. Fuel consumption figures for the 2.0-liter automatic are 7.4 liters per 100 kilometers for highway driving and 10.1 liters per 100 kilometers city driving.
It rides on a strut front and torsion beam rear suspension with good brake pedal feel.
Koup scores a five-star crash rating and offers driver’s assist features like hill start assist, front and rear parking sensors, reverse camera, automatic headlights, wipers and automatic door locks.
When you stop and lock the Koup, the power outside mirrors tuck in, a feature found on high-end luxury cars. But the really cool part is, when you approach the locked coupe, it senses the smart key and deploys the outside mirrors to their normal position and turns on a puddle light on the underside of the mirror.
Driving the koup
The Koup really comes into its own is on two-lane tight back roads through the hilly terrain of Carmona and Silang, Cavite, a shortcut to get to Tagaytay City and through the flowing curves of Nasugbu, Batangas. The front seats are well bolstered going down hill and through a bend or two, the Koup is very stable. With slightly larger brakes than the Forte Sedan and stiffer suspension, the Koup feels well planted, but because it’s a front-driver, you wonder if the rear might step out under very aggressive handling. But in everyday life, traction control and stability control rule out anything like that. Setting the steering for Sport tightens the steering wheel response and improves handling, rewarding its driver. The other two settings are Normal for everyday driving, while Comfort mode is for highway cruising.
There is a little torque steer to the left on hard acceleration but a deft hand on the wheels keeps that under control. In short, it’s fun to drive with all the neat features the Forte Koup has to offer. And after all, this is what a sporty coupe is all about.