Kia's Forte Koup - Kia-speak for coupe - offers the virtues and value of the Forte Sedan but in a sleeker package with look-at-me styling.
As a whole, two-door compact coupes are becoming increasingly rare. With the demise of the Scion brand and its tC coupe, the only real player in the segment is the Civic, and if you're willing to stretch into three-door hatchbacks, the Volkswagen Golf three-door and Beetle. Buyers might also consider the smaller, asymmetrical Hyundai Veloster subcompact, or the sportier rear-wheel-drive Subaru BRZ/Toyota 86 twins which are genuine sports cars.
In contrast to Honda, which continues to expand the Civic Coupe range for 2017, Kia is paring back its offerings with the Koup. There are now only three configurations available, down from six. Trim lines now include EX MT, EX AT Sunroof, and SX Luxury.
Unlike the Forte5 and the Forte Sedan, which got facelifts for model year 2017, the Forte Koup stays the course without any mechanical or visual changes - perhaps a sign that this may be the final generation of Koup. Nonetheless, the Koup is an attractive little car with its sharp lines, 3D-effect LED tail lights, and standard 17-inch alloy wheels. 18-inch painted wheels come standard on the SX Luxury.
EX trims are powered by a naturally aspirated 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine that makes 173 hp and 154 lb-ft of torque. It's a decent little engine that provides more standard horsepower than the Civic Coupe, and is on par with the Beetle and Golf. A six-speed manual is standard on the base model; the EX AT Sunroof uses a six-speed automatic.
The SX Luxury trim level uses a smaller 1.6-litre engine that benefits from a turbocharger. Horsepower is a respectable 201 hp, with 195 lb-ft of torque. Its acceleration won't set your hair on fire, and it definitely won't threaten the likes of the Focus ST or VW GTI, but it's enough to give the Forte a zippy feel. This year, the only transmission available is a six-speed automatic with paddles for manual shifting.
The Forte Koup drives similarly to the Sedan, meaning safe if not thrilling handling with driver-selectable steering that shades in weight for a sportier feel. The SX receives upgraded brakes and sport-tuned suspension for a more engaging driving experience.
Koup buyers are certain to appreciate the high level of standard equipment with each trim. The basics are covered on the EX, plus a few unexpected additions like a wiper de-icer, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, USB and Bluetooth, a touchscreen stereo with UVO voice control, a reverse camera, and heated front seats. The EX AT Sunroof adds both an automatic transmission and a sunroof.
SX buyers come with a significant amount of kit that turns the Forte Koup into a junior luxury car. Feature include a heated steering wheel, heated front seats, navigation, high-resolution instrument cluster display, HID headlamps with LED daytime running lights, and dual-zone climate control.
The Forte Koup starts at $21,595 and tops out at $29,095 for the SX.
This vehicle has not yet been reviewed