The front-wheel-drive Kia Forte Koup SX is powered by a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 173 hp and 168 pound-feet of torque. Our test car had the optional five-speed automatic transmission; a six-speed manual is standard (for 2011, a six-speed automatic transmission is available). At the test track, the Forte Koup SX hit 100 km/h in 8.4 seconds en route to a 16.3-second quarter-mile at 130km/h.
That's more than a second slower to 60 than the Civic Si and supercharged Scion tC, though these models come only with manual transmissions. The base Civic trails the Koup SX by a few ticks, while the base tC is comparable. Remarkably, the Forte Koup SX zipped through our slalom cones at 68.5 mph, which is 1.2 mph faster than the Forte SX sedan and just 0.3 mph behind the last Civic Si we tested. The tC, for the record, doesn't handle nearly as well.
In the real world, the 2.4-liter four supplies a forgettable soundtrack, but it feels capable, with a broad power band that belies its middling acceleration numbers. The transmission, moreover, is smooth and responsive, and its extraordinarily tall gearing (2,400 rpm at 120km/h) helps produce decent EPA fuel economy ratings of 23 mpg city/31 mpg highway and 26 mpg combined, according to the EPA.
The Forte Koup SX's gauges are always clear, and their red perimeter lighting adds visual flair without compromising functionality. The radio controls and three-knob climate-control system are idiot-proof, with the standard iPod connection drawing particular praise for its ease of use. The base stereo (there is no optional system as of this writing) is surprisingly pleasant, providing respectable clarity and full bass.
The standard Bluetooth system is greatly appreciated at this price point and even downloads your contacts list automatically, which is not a universal feature of these systems. However, it does so every time you start the car — and interrupts your song or radio program with an annoying beep and a loud "transfer complete!" announcement from a robotic female voice. Hopefully Kia will iron out this kink as the Forte's model cycle progresses.
On the highway, the 2010 Kia Forte Koup SX remains laudably quiet, and its almost Germanic high-speed composure lends peace of mind — until you hit a rough patch, that is, at which point sharp impacts are heard and felt. Be sure to drive the Koup SX over some broken pavement before signing on the dotted line. The leather-wrapped steering wheel isn't the nicest of its ilk, but at this price point we applaud Kia for trying. Like the sedan, the Koup lacks anything in the way of door armrest padding.
Price : RM 115,800
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