Kia Forte Koup — Attractive and fun to drive

By David Finkelstein

Competing with the likes of the Scion tC and perhaps the Honda Civic Coupe for 2015, Kia Motors America is offering their very attractive and sporty Forte Koup to young buyers seeking an impressive two door automobile blanketed with one of the best new-car warranties in the business.

This fun-to-drive Kia is the sister product to their award-winning Forte sedan. Created at Kia’s U.S. design studio's in Irvine, Calif., the Forte Koup’s sporty profile is enhanced by a swooping roofline and large alloy wheels that give it an athletic and aggressive stance. This formulation further enhances Kia's image as one of the design leaders worldwide.

For the '15 model year, the Forte Koup is offered in two distinctive trim levels — EX and SX. Additionally, two engine and transmission choices are also available, helping to broaden the range of potential buyers.

To help break it all down, their EX for example, comes equipped with a 2.0-liter gasoline direct injected, fuel stingy four-cylinder engine. It produces 173 horsepower. If more acceleration is on your radar coupled with a more sporty build combination, Kia makes available its SX trim package. SX comes standard with a fairly powerful 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that produces 201 horsepower and 195 lb.-ft. of torque.

And in the “plus column” this smooth operating turbo doesn't require the more costly premium grade/high octane fuel to meet one's performance objectives. Both the EX and SX come standard with a 6-speed manual transmission. The optional 6-speed automatic is available with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters helping to convey a true sports car driving experience.

The 2.0-liter engine with manual transmission shows 24-mpg city and 33-mpg highway. The turbo 1.6-liter powerplant EPA-rated at 22-mpg city/29 highway, again with the manual gear box. The fuel numbers increase slightly with this front-wheel-drive automobile when equipped with the automatic transmission.

Both engines and transmissions have a proven track record shared within the Kia family. Similar to the four door model, the Forte Koup offers an array of welcomed amenities and on-board rolling technology. For instance, the EX comes standard with Bluetooth wireless hands-free technology, SiriusXM  broadcast Satellite Radio, leather-wrapped steering wheel with integrated ergonomically placed audio and cruise control buttons and electronic power steering.

The steering column also has the tilt and telescoping feature. Additionally, they also include power windows and bright LED positioning headlights with attractively designed fog lights. The Koup SX offers standard UVO telematics convenient eServices with Rear Camera Display plus large dual chrome exhaust outlet tips and LED taillights.

The Forte Koup SX also features an aggressive front fascia design with larger bumper and grille openings, well thought out black gloss grille inserts, large front brakes and alloy sport pedals. The lower front fascia and rear valance also include carbon fiber-look trim. Both EX and SX trim levels offer optional HID headlights, an user friendly navigation system with premium HD Radio, sunroof, heated steering wheel, power lumbar seat control, heated front seats and ventilated driver’s seat, leather-trimmed seating surfaces, SmartKey with push-button start, electric chromatic rearview mirror and dual-zone automatic interior climate control.

Under the heading of tire and wheel combinations, Kia Motors includes standard on the SX version, 205/55R tires mounted on 16-inch wheels. The turbo model has a more performance oriented type 225/40R 18-inch tire and wheel package. Four wheel disc brakes are also featured on all models. Clearly, some other new models out there are still just offering disc brakes in the front and drum brakes in the rear as a cost savings move,  however four wheel disc braking systems operate more efficiently with anti-lock braking systems and automatic traction controls.

Under most driving conditions, disc/drum braking systems work just fine but for that elevated braking performance edge, four wheel disc brakes at all of four corners is far superior. This Koup is manufactured on a unibody construction platform for added weight savings. The chassis and suspension include the traditional McPherson Strut type front end combined with coil springs and the rear setup is a torsional beam axle setup.

This equates to a fairly nimble ride and more than acceptable steering dynamics. The vehicles wheelbase is set to just over 106-inches placing the Forte in the sub compact segment.

The dash layout is easily self explanatory to interrupt within minutes of getting positioned behind the wheel.

And about that warranty I mentioned early on, the powertrain coverage is for 10-years or 100,000 miles, the base warranty is for 5-years or 60,000 miles which also includes free roadside assistance in the unlikely event of a motoring issue. At road test, driving the SX with the manual gear box including a number of option packages, the MSRP came out to be $25,335 including the $825 shipping and destination charges.