A looker in the small coupe segment lacking refinement
WEST COAST EDITOR MARK VAUGHN: Very first off, I have to join the chorus praising Peter Schreyer’;s layout. This 2014 Kia Forte Koup SX is better-seeking than the Honda Civic and anything at all else in the class, especially when it was all nice and shiny at drop-off. Course, how numerous coupes are in this class? The Civic, Chevy Sonic and Scion tC — is that even a class? The rake of the windshield and the way the cab leans way forward looks like the Civic Coupe, which I feel also looks cool. Within Kia Koup ain’;t negative, either. A lot of plastic but what do you want in a $ 20K econothrasher? A suede headliner? And no CD player? I must be in the old geezer demographic to even observe that.
This was the SX trim level of the Koup, which implies it gets the 200-hp one.6-liter GDI turbo. Envision, acquiring gasoline direct injection in an economic system vehicle. A miracle! With a curb weight, or kurb excess weight as Kia would say, of 3,064 lbs, you’;d feel it’;d be fast. And you’;d be proper. Taking just one launch, I got -60 mpg in 6.9 seconds, which is rather fast for this kind of an affordable car. Even so, the engine sounded like it was going to detonate at that level of performance. It was loud and thrashy. It sounded cheap. I wish I hadn’;t loaned my dB meter to road test editor Wong so I could measure the noise in this sucker. At large freeway speeds it was really loud. I drove down to San Diego and back and not only was it loud, but the 6-speed automatic stored hunting for gears. Peak energy comes large up on the tach, at 6,000 rpm, and it appeared to be hunting for that sweet, loud spot. It seemed to make a lot more noise than forward progress when passing. Then, when leaving the driveway on a cold morning, the idle velocity was way substantial then it would go into gear, and a battle for alpha male dominance would ensue between the engine and the transmission. The brakes had to be referred to as in to settle factors. The brakes constantly won.
The front strut, rear torsion beam suspension was sprung as well stiffly for the higher-speed freeway working I was doing. The auto felt virtually bouncy — almost but not genuinely. It just felt as well stiff for 80-plus mph, which you should not be driving anyway. At decrease speeds it felt like, I’;m not kidding, a Toyota Prius. It was flat enough around the corners, but it did not inspire fantastic driving on great roads. I have seasoned greater electronic electrical power steering units, also.
All in all, I consider I would take the Civic coupe. Perhaps Honda could retain the services of Schreyer away from Kia and we would be set.
ASSOCIATE WEST COAST EDITOR BLAKE Z. RONG: Right after I spent a week gushing over how charming the Kia Soul was, driving the Kia Forte Koup SX was like switching from Charmin 4-ply to keep-brand toilet paper. The Forte Koup was uncharismatic and unresponsive a dull knife in a world the place we assume our knives to at least minimize a ham sandwich.
The Forte Koup is handsome enough, but it need to be stated that its distinguishing decrease bumper can make it appear like a mouth agape. Our Forte came with the 200-hp 4-cylinder with all the fancy bits: direct-injection, turbocharging, variable valve timing, dual-overhead cams. And however, something’;s sapping all the electrical power from this vehicle: possibly it’;s the unresponsive eco-minded throttle that wants a firm prodding from a standstill (but launches the auto forward in spurts, when the electrical power is on) or the 6-pace automated transmission that “felt like it was engineered in 1972,” according to Mark Vaughn. Or perhaps it truly is that the 200 horses have to shove all around 3,064 lbs — one,500 of which are seemingly concentrated in each door. Which is 200 far more than the Soul, by the way, which had forty less hp but felt like a lithe and delicate butterfly compared to this.
It is the tiny issues about this automobile that get to you. For one, the satellite radio. Its reception is terrible. If you miss the heady nostalgia of CD skipping, this automobile will reenact that every 5 minutes with “ACQUIRING SIGNAL,” the “PC Load Letter” of the automotive world. Each and every UVO system has a warning message of impending doom and disaster that you have to press (the button tucked away along the bottom edge, in a corner) to accept. (The Soul has this, too, if we’;re becoming fair.) The warnings in most new vehicles goes away soon after a while, or only come into play during navigation duties, but Kia’;s impenetrable message upon begin-up brings to mind the early days of in-car touchscreens.
When extracting rear passengers of sufficiently short stature, the front seats never lock in spot when moved: an annoyance if the seat moves backwards on a hill and an even greater annoyance every single time the driver has to reset his ideal seating position. Thick C-pillars not only minimize down on rear visibility, but add large visual bulk from the outdoors. The interior is filled with dark textures and dark scalloping.
Competitors is excellent and effectively, and a plethora of options — though dizzying — is greater than not. That mentioned, the only other compact coupes that comes to thoughts are the Hyundai Elantra and the Honda Civic, and I would have to give the nod to the latter. These compact coupes are a dying breed — no a lot more 2-door Nissan Sentra, no a lot more Chevy Cobalt, and there have not been 2-door Volkswagen Jettas and Toyota Corollas because the ’;80s. We cannot think about why. The revenue pitch looks to be: take pleasure in half the practicality and the very same boring driving dynamics as the sedan! Then, there is a giant arrow pointing to the other side of the Kia showroom, exactly where a Soul sits.
Did I mention that I liked the Kia Soul?
Base Price tag: $ 21,400
As-Examined Cost: $ 26,285
Drivetrain: 1.6-liter turbocharged I4 FWD, 6-speed automated
Output: 200 hp @ 6,000 rpm, 195 lb-ft @ one,750-4,500 rpm
Curb Weight: 3,064 lb
Fuel Economic system (EPA City/Highway/Combined): 22/29/25 mpg
AW Observed Fuel Economic climate: 26.9 mpg
Options: SX premium package such as sunroof, leather seats, heated front seats and steering wheel, ventilated driver’;s seat, car-dimming mirror ($ one,800) SX technology package which includes xenon headlights, dual-zone automatic climate management, navigation, HD and satellite radio, supervision meter cluster ($ 1,800) 6-velocity automated transmission ($ one,000) floor mats ($ 115) rear bumper appliqué ($ 75) cargo mat ($ 95)
Get more automobile information, critiques and view every day: Sign up to have the Autoweek Daily Drive delivered right to your inbox.