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2010 Kia Forte Koup

$4,158 — $10,294 USED
Coupe
5 Seats
27-29 MPG
(Combined)
Key specs of the base trim
 — 
Compare 2 trims

Overview

Is this the car for you?

The Good

  • Base engine's performance
  • Interior quality
  • Backseat space
  • Gas mileage
  • Generous warranty

The Bad

  • Four-speed automatic too eager to upshift
  • Numb steering
  • Optional heated seats only have one setting
  • Optional leather steering wheel feels like vinyl
2010 Kia Forte Koup exterior side view

What to Know

about the 2010 Kia Forte Koup
  • New for 2010
  • Standard USB port
  • Standard Bluetooth cell phone connectivity
  • Standard stability system
  • Available Fuel Economy Package

Our Take

from the Cars.com expert editorial team

Cars.com's Dave Thomas takes a look at the 2010 Kia Forte Koup. It competes with the Honda Civic and Ford Focus.

by David Thomas - Kia introduced its new Forte sedan in 2009, re-establishing the company as a player in the compact-car segment with an affordable alternative to the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla.

The Koup aims to do the same versus other two-doors, but unlike its four-door counterpart, there isn't as much value in this new model. The Koup has a lot going for it, especially its attractive styling and gutsy engine in higher trim levels, but it doesn't beat the competition on price. Will buyers still take a chance on Kia?

Exterior
The best thing Kia has done with the Koup is embrace a design philosophy that isn't boring. Despite a hood and front end that resemble the Civic, the rest of the car's design looks familiar, yet daring. The grille and headlights are the same ones found on the sedan and are making their way across Kia's lineup. In profile, there are even elements that reminded me of Chevy's new Camaro.

The back really makes a statement, with dynamic taillights and a black lower air diffuser that create what could easily be the most aggressive look in the class.

Interior
The SX trim level I tested comes only with an all-black interior, which makes it seem more like a sports car, as well as hides some of the cheaper materials found inside. The EX comes only with a tan interior, called Stone.

Piano-black plastic runs down the center of the dash and over the stereo and climate controls, which definitely adds some flair.

Most of the controls and buttons show the ...

by David Thomas - Kia introduced its new Forte sedan in 2009, re-establishing the company as a player in the compact-car segment with an affordable alternative to the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla.

The Koup aims to do the same versus other two-doors, but unlike its four-door counterpart, there isn't as much value in this new model. The Koup has a lot going for it, especially its attractive styling and gutsy engine in higher trim levels, but it doesn't beat the competition on price. Will buyers still take a chance on Kia?

Exterior
The best thing Kia has done with the Koup is embrace a design philosophy that isn't boring. Despite a hood and front end that resemble the Civic, the rest of the car's design looks familiar, yet daring. The grille and headlights are the same ones found on the sedan and are making their way across Kia's lineup. In profile, there are even elements that reminded me of Chevy's new Camaro.

The back really makes a statement, with dynamic taillights and a black lower air diffuser that create what could easily be the most aggressive look in the class.

Interior
The SX trim level I tested comes only with an all-black interior, which makes it seem more like a sports car, as well as hides some of the cheaper materials found inside. The EX comes only with a tan interior, called Stone.

Piano-black plastic runs down the center of the dash and over the stereo and climate controls, which definitely adds some flair.

Most of the controls and buttons show the strides Kia has made in refinement.

My SX model had upgraded leather seats, which were comfortable despite being a bit firm. Overall, the interior doesn't feel roomy despite decent legroom and headroom specs and a height-adjustable seat. Nearly every editor who tested it complained about the cramped confines. At 5-foot-10, I didn't feel like I needed more space, but the cabin generally felt small. Taller editors did complain, however; if you're 6-foot or taller, this might be a make-or-break attribute.

Compared with the front, the backseat was surprisingly roomy for a coupe, and a few passengers commented positively on the headroom and legroom back there. I fit a convertible child-safety seat behind the driver's seat fairly easily, although getting my son in and out wasn't a snap. Families, of course, aren't the target market for this or any coupe.

Performance
Generally, when you get an economy car you don't expect much in the driving-thrills department, but the upgraded 173-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder in the SX is quite capable. A 156-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder is standard in the base EX, which I've tested in sedan form. Our test car had a six-speed manual transmission that was terrific when accelerating quickly through the gears. I took a curving highway onramp with conviction, and the Kia showed no signs of cut-rate handling. The steering was one of the car's better attributes, and for the most part it was a joy to drive. The ride was somewhat rough, but that was likely due to the sporting nature of the trim level's more taught suspension setup and larger 17-inch wheels.

The only car in this class I can compare the Koup to in terms of overall acceleration and handling is the Mazda3, which comes as a four-door hatchback and sedan. The Civic coupe just isn't as performance-oriented, unless you get the more expensive Si model.

There was one big problem with this setup, however: I kept stalling the darn engine. First gear didn't engage until high in the release of the clutch, and during my entire week with the car I never got used to it. It was very hard to start in 2nd gear, too, or even to slowly ease a roll into 2nd in bumper-to-bumper traffic without stalling.

At least two of our other editors also admitted to stalling the Koup, and one who didn't thanked me for the warning.

Mileage is rated at 25/34 mpg city/highway for the EX with either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic transmission, 22/32 mpg for the SX with a six-speed manual and 23/31 mpg for the SX with a five-speed automatic. That makes it competitive with the Civic and Ford Focus two-doors.

I put nearly 300 miles on my test car in mostly heavy traffic and returned an average of 26 mpg calculated from a gas fill-up.

Features
The Forte Koup starts at $16,595, which puts it within hundreds of dollars of its competition. Kia does, however, offer a lot of standard features at that price, including 16-inch alloy wheels, a six-speaker stereo, a USB interface and iPod connectivity, cruise control and, surprisingly, Bluetooth for hands-free calling.

Moving up to the higher-powered SX costs an additional $1,100, starting at $17,695 and adding the more powerful engine, 17-inch wheels, a trip computer, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, fog lights and a sport-tuned suspension.

Leather seats are optional on either trim for $1,000, as is a power moonroof for $700. My SX had those two options and rang in at $20,090. Not a cheap ride by any means.

Safety
The Forte Koup does not come up short in the safety department. It features all the standard airbags, along with seat-mounted side airbags and active head restraints for front passengers. Stability control is also standard. At this time, the Forte Koup has not been crash-tested by either the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Forte Koup in the Market
It's strange to type a sentence extolling the looks and performance of a Kia — rather than praising it as a value statement — but that seems to be the best way to sum up the Forte Koup. The price is within spitting distance of the competition, but it's just not priced so low that the MSRP alone will bring people into the showroom. Maybe that's why Kia made it look so good.

Send David an email 


Consumer Reviews

What drivers are saying

4.7
21 reviews — Read All reviews
Exterior Styling
(4.9)
Performance
(4.4)
Interior Design
(4.7)
Comfort
(4.4)
Reliability
(4.8)
Value For The Money
(4.9)

Read reviews that mention:

(5.0)

Great car

by Dirtmod from Franklin Pa on June 2, 2018

Met all of my needs. Great gas mileage. Great small car. Car is a smooth driving car great price and good speed. Has low miles and great on gas for highway Read full review

(5.0)

Most reliable fast car I?ve ever had

by Sport fan from Indianapolis, Indiana on December 11, 2017

I like how I can drive fast in this car at the same time I save lot of money on gas and parts I have no issue with finding parts for it And they way the car looks I?ve always get good complements Read full review

Safety

Recalls and crash tests

Recalls

The 2010 Kia Forte Koup currently has 1 recall


Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2010 Kia Forte Koup has not been tested.

Warranty

New car and certified pre-owned programs by Kia

New Car Program Benefits

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    60 months / 60,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    120 months / 100,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    60 months / 60,000 miles

Certified Pre-Owned Program Benefits

Latest 2010 Forte Koup Stories

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Forte Koup received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker