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2011 Kia Forte Koup SX Review

Cool Budget Coupe

A three-quarter front view of a blue 2011 Kia Forte SX Koup

In short: A sporty, well-equipped coupe.

Although Kia was once known for its bare-bones compact commuters, perceptions of the Korean badge are quickly changing in the 21st century — especially with cool, well-equipped cars like the Forte Koup SX. Still reasonably priced at under $20,000, this flashy yet affordable coupe features the type of tricked-out interior usually found inside pricier models. Music lovers will appreciate the full, crisp sound of the CD/MP3 six-speaker audio system (iPod owners can also plug in via an auxiliary input jack), while the business set will enjoy the convenience of a standard Bluetooth system that automatically downloads cell phone contact lists.

Of course, the real draw of the coupe for car fans is the enhanced performance that it ideally delivers, and the Kia Forte Koup doesn't disappoint on that front, either. Boasting a sportier suspension than the Forte sedan, the Koup exhibits some of the best handling in its class, although ride comfort is sacrificed as a result. Nonetheless, countryside joyrides are a treat, with the capable coupe providing a sure-footed feel on meandering back roads. And should your daytime ride turn into an overnight adventure, have no worries — the surprisingly spacious 12.6-cubic-foot trunk has plenty of room for luggage. However, those who require even more cargo room would do well to look into the Kia Forte Koup 5-Door, an equally fun hatchback edition of this stylish small car.

Warranty/Service: Ten-year/100,000-mile powertrain limited warranty; five-year/60,000-mile basic limited warranty; five-year/60,000-mile roadside assistance

Base Price: $19,395 / As Tested: $23,640

Technical Specifications

Vehicle type: front engine, front-wheel drive, 5-passenger, 5-door hatchback

Engine: 2.4-liter DOHC CVVT 4-cylinder engine
Horsepower: 173 hp @ 6,000 rpm
Torque: 168 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic with paddle shifters

Curb weight:
2,891 lbs
Wheelbase: 104.3 in
Length/Width/Height: 176.4/69.5/55.1 in
Turning circle: 35.4 ft

front vented disc brakes; rear solid disc brakes; 4-sensor, 4-channel ABS with brake assist; electronic brake-force distribution
Suspension: independent MacPherson strut front; torsion beam rear; coil springs; shock absorbers

Traction: electronic stability control; traction control system

EPA City:
23 mpg
EPA Highway: 31 mpg

dual front advanced airbags; front seat-mounted side airbags; full-length side curtain airbags

Top Speed: 127 mph
0-60 mph: 8.4 seconds

Likes: solid value; technology

Dislikes: what's not to like?


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Photography: AlphaMedia

PNW052511 (Updated: 10/25/11 NW)