By Cars.com EditorsDecember 10, 2009
About the video
Cars.com's Dave Thomas takes a look at the 2010 Kia Forte Koup. It competes with the Honda Civic and Ford Focus.
<v Presenter>Cars.com auto review. (upbeat rock music) Hi, I'm Dave Thomas of cars.com. And this is a 2010 KIA Forte Koup, spelled with a K for no apparent reason.
But what KIA's doing here is adding a lot of style to the compact Koup segment, which they're not really known for. What KIA is known for, is adding a lot of value to no matter what car they build. But you know what? We're gonna see if it adds up here. For $16,600, the Forte Koup starting price packs a lot of style. Now, some people say it looks like a Honda Civic, and that's mainly because of this line right here in the hood, which is very much like a Honda Civic, so they're not wrong. But when you do get is KIA's new corporate grill, which is pretty stylist for KIA, and some really dynamic headlights, fog lights, this piano black trim, very cool. They're packing a lot of stuff you see on concept cars in a production car. Now, this is a more expensive trim, the SX trim, it's another $1000 and you get 17 inch wheels, which has these black insets, really cool looking. It's a very sharp looking Koup. Now, not only is he exterior good-looking, but the interior is a big step up from past KIAs. Now, that piano black we saw on the outside continues on the inside here in the center of the dash, right around the stereo controls and all the buttons and knobs are really nice quality. And when people point to old, cheap cars and they think of KIA, they kind of mentioned flimsy dials, not the case here. Real nice upgrades. I know what the Koup looks like, but how does it drive? Well, it depends on what model you get. The base model is 156 horsepower. It's much more concerned with efficiency. It gets twenty-five miles per gallon city, 34 miles per gallon highway, which is quite good, it's right up there with the Civic. Now, if you move up to this SX trim, it's more of a performance trim. You get 17 more horsepower but you lose two to three miles per gallon, which you kind of expect depending on the transmission, of course. Now, the six speed we have here it's a lot of fun to drive. Handles really well, takes corners really well, when you're moving through the gears to accelerate, it's a lot of fun. Now, one problem with six speed transmission, it's a little strange. In day-to-day driving and bumper to bumper traffic I've actually stalled this car number of times. I hate to admit it, but during my commute, I stalled it a few times, kind of tricky. The point of engagement on the clutch is tricky. So I've driven performance cars, like a ZO6 Corvette or an STI or an Evo, I don't stall in bumper to bumper traffic, so it's a little tricky in this car. Now, there is a lot of competition out there for the Forte Koup. On the low end of things, is a Ford focus and on the higher end, you have the Scion TC and the Honda Civic Coupe. And price-wise, they're very similar to this KIA, so it's important to kind of price shop these three cars together. Now, all of them have some similar standard features like cruise control steering wheel with audio controls, That's why you're paying extra for them. Now, what the forte Koup has extra, which they don't standard, is named the stability control, which is a huge safety feature. And also some entertainment features, like standard USB integration for your iPod and it's not something kind of nifty, these light up speakers, which mimic either the music you have going, or they have a mood setting, or you can just leave them on all time. So if you price this against its competition, sometimes it comes out only hundreds of dollars difference, so make sure you make your decision on all those other features we've talked about today. <v Presenter>For more car related news go to cars.com, or our blog kickingtires.net.