Feb 08, 2016
Reviewed By Chad Tyson
Price as Tested $26,435: 1.6-L 201-hp turbocharged 4-cylinder, 6-sp automatic with Sportmatic and paddle shifters, SX Premium and Technology Packages

Entry-level cars are a lot nicer now than when I was in high-school 15 years ago, but they’re a lot more expensive too. I know, I know; so many features come standard now. Kudos to whomever added heated seats to the SX Premium Package ($1,900). Always go for the heated seats. The rest of that package rounds things out nicely, with leather seat trim, power sunroof and even a ventilated driver’s seat.


The GDI (gas direct injection) engine sounds like a tiny diesel when cold. The acceleration is peppy, but nothing more — it’ll impress if you’re upgrading from a 1996 Buick. The 25 combined mpg rating from a turbocharged 1.6-liter is disappointing, but at least they aren’t up to any clean-diesel EPA tricks. Don’t bother with Eco mode, as it takes away all of the useful power with only a slight increase in fuel efficiency.

The auto-dimming mirror needs refinement, as I was blinded constantly before it registered the bright headlights behind me and dimmed the reflection. The rest of the interior is fabrics and plastics I don’t see holding up well after normal use five years from now. The usual contortion is needed to get into and out of the rear seats.

Paddle shifters are unnecessary, not fun and add cost. “Convenience with a sporty feel” indeed. Stop it.


It is more attractive than the regular Forte sedan, but is it worth $5,600 more than the base Forte? Add in the less-useful rear seats, and it’s a serious question. With alternatives available from nearly every major manufacturer at this level, the Kia stacks up pretty poorly. Ford’s Focus out-handles the Koup and at up to $5k less. Hyundai’s Elantra is even closer to its corporate cousin and still wipes the floor when it comes to comfort and sound deadening.

This second-level Kia (the Rio is their entry-level) is far superior to the Sephia that introduced the company to the States 20-some years ago. Still, drive as many similar cars as you can before you plunk down for the Koup.

Fun to Drive
2.0 rating
Fun to Look at
2.5 rating
Overall Experience
2.5 rating
EPA Mileage 22 city/30 highway/25 combined

For more about this car, please visit the manufacturer's website.