Mike Stevens | Apr 10, 2009

Kia is out to prove to the world it is serious in its intentions to deliver world class cars with distinctive style. Already, vehicles like the SOUL, Cerato/Forte/Spectra and European cee’d point the way.

For the 2009 New York Auto Show, Kia has pulled the covers off a production version of its KOUP concept. The production version, dubbed the Forte Koup for the US market (though we'll see it in Australia as the Cerato Koup), comes just 12 months after the concept's introduction at last year's New York Show.

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"On the heel of the introductions of the Soul and Forte sedan, Forte Koup represents the next exciting step in the transformation of Kia design and offers a blend of sporty and emotional appeal," said Michael Sprague, vice president, marketing, KMA.

"We believe our new design evolution coupled with standard Kia value and safety features will continue to attract customers to the Kia brand."

Thankfully, much of what made the concept such a looker is present in the production version. The already handsome Forte/Cerato/Spectra body benefits greatly from the smoothe two-door profile.

Up front, a deeper air intake and larger, squared-off fog lamp surrounds give the Forte Koup a more purposeful look than the sedan. At the rear is a set of slimline tail lamps, a black faux diffuser and twin chrome tailpipe finishers.

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Motivation is provided by a choice of petrol engines. The base model EX is powered by a 2.0 litre four-cylinder petrol engine developing 116kW (156hp) and 195kW (144lb-ft) of torque, driven through a five speed manual or four-speed auto.

The higher spec SX receives a 2.4 litre petrol engine which puts out a very agreeable 129kW (173hp) and 227 (168lb-ft) through a six-speed manual or five-speed auto.

For the US market, The Forte Koup is aimed squarely at the likes of the Honda Civic Coupe, Ford Focus Coupe and Chevrolet Cobalt coupe. While there are no pricing details available as yet, the Kia Forte Koup is likely to slot into a lower price point, which ought to put it in good standing against its competition.

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Competitors in Australia are more likely to come in the form of hatchback offerings, as the small car class is currently devoid of a handsome, well-proportioned Coupe.

The Kia Cerato Koup is expected to land in Australia later this year, and TMR will be there to get you all the details.

PRESS RELEASE:

NEW YORK, April 9, 2009 – With performance-inspired, aggressive and sleek styling, Kia Motors America (KMA) today globally debuted the 2010 Forte Koup production vehicle during a press conference at the 2009 New York International Auto Show (NYIAS). Joining the Forte family in the KMA lineup, the company's first-ever two-door coupe embodies the brand's current bold design direction first seen on the concept version of the Soul urban passenger vehicle in 2006.

"On the heel of the introductions of the Soul and Forte sedan, Forte Koup represents the next exciting step in the transformation of Kia design and offers a blend of sporty and emotional appeal," said Michael Sprague, vice president, marketing, KMA. "We believe our new design evolution coupled with standard Kia value and safety features will continue to attract customers to the Kia brand."

Curb Appeal

Based on the design styling of the KOUP concept vehicle shown during last year's show, Forte Koup's fluid lines and balanced proportions, meant to evoke an emotional driving experience, closely mirror the powerful design cues of the concept vehicle and offer the same aggressive stance with swept-back wrap-around headlamps, aggressive air intakes and a low, sleek profile. Available in two trim levels (EX and SX), Forte Koup offers a muscular yet sophisticated design. Even from behind, Forte Koup exudes attitude with slim, wrapped tail lights, duel exhaust outlets and a rear diffuser.

Athleticism and convenience are standard for the Forte Koup EX with body-color bumpers, power heated outside mirrors with integrated turn signals and 16-inch alloy wheels outfitted with P205/55R16 tires. The SX trim offers an even sportier profile with 17-inch alloy wheels paired with P215/45R17-sized premium tires.

Smooth and Sporty Ride

With a wheelbase of 104.3 inches, an overall length of 176.4 inches, an overall width of 69.5 inches and overall height of 55.1 inches, Forte Koup is slightly shorter in length and height than the Forte sedan, but still boasts comfortable seating for up to five passengers. Koup's lowered stance provides better aerodynamics for those looking for a more exciting ride.

The Kia-engineered body achieves high torsional stiffness giving Forte Koup better handling, smoother ride quality and greater refinement than its competitors, with a specially tuned suspension developed to optimize responsive handling on curvy roads. Additional refinements are fitted throughout to help ensure a comfortable ride with good noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) reduction qualities.

Built on a front-wheel-drive unibody frame, Forte Koup utilizes the same platform as the sedan, with an independent front suspension with MacPherson struts and stabilizer bar and a torsion beam rear suspension with struts and coil springs. This combination helps provide the optimal balance of handling and comfort. An engine-speed-sensitive, power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering system adds the finishing touch for precise handling to help provide the most advantageous amount of assist for varying road conditions. The SX trim also comes with a sport-tuned suspension providing for a firmer ride with reduced body roll and improved handling.

Lively Performance

More powerful than the Honda Civic Coupe, Ford Focus Coupe or Chevrolet Cobalt Coupe, Forte Koup EX is driven by a 2.0-liter DOHC four-cylinder engine, producing 156 horsepower and 144 pound-feet of torque that features Continuously Variable Valve Timing (CVVT) and multi-port electronic fuel injection, both of which provide for greater performance and fuel economy. The SX features an upgraded 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine, also with CVVT, which delivers 173 horsepower and 168 pound-feet of torque, more than the Scion tC. Expanding upon the dynamic look and feel, Forte Koup's engine hums powerfully courtesy of the dual exhaust outlets outfitted on both EX and SX trims.

Like the Forte sedan, two transmission options are available for both 2010 Forte Koup models: a standard five-speed manual transmission or an optional electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission (EX models). The SX model features a standard six-speed manual transmission and an optional five-speed automatic transmission with Sportmatic®.

Forte Koup fuel economy is not sacrificed for sportiness, as both engines deliver at least 31 miles per gallon (highway). The 2.0-liter engine offers 25/34 mpg (city/highway) when mated with either the five-speed manual transmission or the optional four-speed automatic. Those opting for the more powerful 2.4-liter engine also can expect an economical 22/32 mpg with the six-speed manual and 23/31 when paired with the five-speed automatic transmission.

Striking Interior

With a surprisingly spacious interior for a two-door coupe, Forte Koup provides a comfortable 90.7 cubic feet of interior volume, larger than the 2009 Honda Civic Coupe, Scion tC or Chevrolet Cobalt Coupe. Driver and passengers have an impressive 38.7 inches of headroom and 43.6 inches of legroom in the front seats and 35.3 inches of headroom and 33.9 inches of legroom in the rear seats. Trips to the beach and weekend getaways will be a breeze with ample cargo space of 12.6 cubic feet, enough to accommodate luggage and belongings of all passengers.

Forte Koup continues the luxury treatment with a host of standard interior features, beginning with supportive, nicely appointed sport seats outfitted with more aggressive bolsters on the seat cushion and seat back for optimal comfort. Air conditioning, a driver's seat height adjuster, adjustable rear seat headrests, tilt steering column, rear defroster, center console with dual cup holders, map lamps and variable intermittent wipers are also just some of the myriad amenities standard on every vehicle. Also standard on all models are power windows, power door locks with remote keyless entry and cruise control with steering wheel-mounted controls for added convenience.

Progressing to the SX trim offers additional standard touches such as: unique sport cloth seats with vibrant red stitching, a tilt and telescoping steering column, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, metal pedals and metal finish trim and a Supervision™ gauge cluster with trip computer further enhancing its energetic personality. Both EX and SX trims also offer an optional power moonroof.

An optional Leather Package is available for both EX and SX trims. When combined with the EX trim the Leather Package adds leather seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob and heated seats. When paired with the SX trim it includes leather and heated seats in addition to the standard leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob.

Superior Sound

For inside entertainment while cruising down the road, Forte Koup comes with a standard six-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system outfitted with SIRIUS Satellite Radio capabilities with three months complimentary service¹. For added listening convenience steering wheel-mounted audio controls also come standard on all models, as well as USB and auxiliary input jacks in the center console with full iPod® and MP3 controllability via the audio head unit. Standard Bluetooth® connectivity enables hands-free operation for compatible cell phones.

Standard Kia Motors Safety

Forte Koup offers a class-leading level of standard safety equipment, with features such as dual front advanced airbags, front seat-mounted and side curtain airbags, four-wheel disc brakes with an antilock brake system (ABS), electronic stability control (ESC) and a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS).

Industry-Leading Warranty

Like all Kia models, Forte Koup is covered by a comprehensive warranty program, which offers unprecedented consumer protection. Included in this program are a 10-year or 100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty, a five-year or 60,000-mile limited basic warranty, and a five-year or 100,000-mile anti-perforation warranty. A five-year/60,000-mile roadside assistance plan is also part of the comprehensive coverage program.

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