2014 Kia Forte Koup SX Review

2014 Kia Forte Koup SX Review

Kia's Koup kould use fewer

By: David Merline

Web2Carz Contributing Writer

Published: December 19th, 2014

As a car from a relative upstart brand trying to compete with the Honda Civic, not to mention the Ford Focus and the Mazda3, the Kia Forte Koup has its work cut out for it. But Kia has been on a mission to carve out as much market share as it can, and with its increased quality and with an embarrassment of standard options, the Kia Forte Koup deserves serious consideration, even among such hallowed company.

  • Interior

    On the whole, Kia has benefited from the upscaling of the Hyundai/Kia brands, and indeed the interior of the Forte is replete with features, like a leather-wrapped steering wheel, push-button start, and touchscreen display, but the material quality does look and feel substantially cheaper than that in the Hyundai Elantra, for example.

    The SX trim adds further upmarket conveniences, like heated steering wheel, heated and cooled driver's seat, navigation, sunroof, and a sportier meter display. It's a strictly utilitarian-feeling cabin, however. Everything is ergonomically appropriate and suitably comfortable, but it's less sporty than the Civic's interior, more in line with the Golf's look-and-feel (only much less sparse and German).

  • On the Road

    While Kia has certainly learned a thing or two about designing and building cars, it still has some catching up to do when it comes to sportiness. To be fair, with competitors like Civic, Golf, Focus, and 3, Kia has an extremely high bar to hurdle, and while its cars are improving, they're not at "loaded with fun-to-drive" level quite yet.

    The Forte's steering is weighted more for comfort, and even a switch to Sport mode only stiffens things up a bit — there's still an inch or two too much float in the middle for our tastes. Throttle response is also slightly on the tardy side, but it's nothing the non-lead-foot will notice; power is more than adequate for most common driving situations.

    The Forte's 1.6-liter engine is aided by a turbocharger, and the six-speed manual helps keeps things on the right side of the boring/fun divide. Gas mileage is on par for the segment: 29 highway and 22 city.

    Sound isolation is decent and the base audio system is better than most competitors' &mdash driving the Forte Koup is an extremely pleasant - if not particularly sporty and engaging - experience.

  • Conclusion

    It's hard to beat Kia when it comes to value. Getting any car with this many options for $25,000 is a great thing. But if you're looking for a fun compact that's also affordable and practical, you'll have to settle for two out of three. Still, if price and utility are your primary concerns, there's no reason to consider anything else.

  • Specs & Prices

    Engine: 1.6-liter turbocharged inline-four

    Transmission: 6-speed manual

    Drivetrain Layout: front engine, front wheel drive

    Power Output: 201 hp / 195 lb-ft

    Fuel Economy (mpg): 22 city / 29 highway

    Price (base):$20,600

    Price (as tested): $25,285 (includes $800 delivery fee)

    Available Features: SX Premium Package: sunroof, leather seat trim, heated and cooled driver's seat, heated passenger seat, heated steering wheel, auto-dimming mirror
    SX Technology Package : HID headlights, navigation, SiriusXM, 4.2-inch meter cluster.

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