The bright red Kia Forte Koup is new for 2014 – and just started arriving in dealers this week.
What is so new about this Forte? Well, it now brings all the latest style and tech from its Forte5 and Forte sedan siblings – just in a far cooler profile. Along with its standard LED accents up front, the $2,000 turbo SX trim option brings LED lights for the lower fogs and brake lights as well.
The opening price for the Forte Koup is $18,600 with a six-speed manual and the base 2.4-liter engine making 173 horsepower. From $20,600, the SX turbo brings 201 horsepower from its 1.6-liter engine.
The real competitive advantage of the turbo option is quickness from a stop. Its 195 pound-feet of torque are available from just 1750 RPM, versus 154 pound-feet at 4750 RPM for the naturally-aspirated engine.
As always, turbo’s also make it really easy to reflash the ECU programming (once off warranty) to give an extra thirty horsepower in about 30 minutes of DIY work.
The six-speed manual is standard on the SX Turbo as well, and is highly recommended versus the optional six-speed automatic.
The auto is well-behaved and smooth, but dramatically slows the Forte’s sprint times. From a recent MotorTrend track test, the Forte Koup scored a 6.8-second sprint with the new turbo and a manual.
From the Forte5’s similar powertrain – expect the automatic Koup to add *at least* a second to that turbo sprint time.
But the best feature of any sports car is firmly grounded in the Forte Koup. It looks cool.
A frameless window effect is created with flush seams between the door and rear quarter windows, but still keeps a pillar in the door frame for highway refinement. Frameless windows are fun, but they have downsides:
– they clank around in the door when slammed if they are left down
– their seals lose effectiveness over time, leading to loud wind whistles and sometimes even water ingress
No problems with that on the Forte Koup – but the long glass look really helps with its street cred. Especially when tinted a bit like Kia has done for its press photo car.
Overall, this is a very competitive package, but not quite as quick as sports fans might have hoped. Even the new Civic Si Coupe, MotorTrend reported, can screech off a 6.1-second blast to 60 mph.
But in terms of macho appeal, the Forte Koup’s enhanced stance hits the mark for cool dude style.
Model Comparison: 2014 Kia Forte Koup EX versus SX – Exterior
BONUS: this *exclusive* rendering did not turn out very well, but shows a speculative preview of Kia’s upcoming 2+2 sports car via a chopped and re-imagined Forte Koup.
The concept is set to debut at Detroit in January, and promises genuine driver thrills.
Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.
He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.
Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.