$23,390 – $29,455
Good: Fantastic design – decent amounts of interior space – low price. Thank you Kia for bringing back an inexpensive sports coupe to Australia; it’s been gone for too long!
Not so Good: Firm ride. Non-sports car-like engine – with an auto that dulls the performance further.
Design and Engineering
Good: Excellent design – muscular, sexy, aggressive (plus a slightly chopped roof look). Whilst based on the Cerato small family sedan, the Koup receives revised steering & suspension and the exterior design differs from all angles. We quite the little touches such as the aggressive bumper with large sections of black mesh at the front and the twin exhaust pipes at the rear – and the alloy wheels have a cool, retro appearance.
Not so good : Design-wise not much to complain about (maybe a touch ‘bulldog-looking’ to some eyes). This is an aggressively low-priced entry-level coupe so of course it doesn’t have the chassis, suspension or brake capabilities of true sports coupes (which cost about twice the price of Kia’s Koup).
Interior and Styling
Good : Sporty touches include the red stitching on the supportive charcoal-coloured front seats that are set nice & low, plus shiny alloy pedals. Also, just like in the upper-spec Cerato sedan, the Koup has funky red back-lighting in the instrument cluster. Yes, it’s coupe so rear seat space shouldn’t be a high priority – but you can still fit a couple of adults in the back (reasonably comfortably). The rear seats also fold down (easily too, with boot latches) to create a space that will swallow a road or mountain bike.
Not so good : Front seatbelts are tough to reach thanks to the wide front doors and seating position. Seats could be a tad lower to the ground for that extra sporty look & feel.
Good : For the Koup’s asking price the performance is entirely reasonable; considering the vehicle’s size Kia has done a good job keeping the weight low (which of course always helps with performance). We would have like a bit more power, however for the target market, design is probably more important than extra oomph (and you can only provide so much when you’re charging so little!).
Not so good : Certainly sporty in looks, less so in nature. The naturally-aspirated 4-cylinder Petrol engine isn’t exactly brimming with torque. At high revs the engine also gets loud (doesn’t necessarily go quicker – it just gets louder). The auto gearbox further dulls the performance – so if you can change gears we say go for the manual.
Ride and Handling
Good : Handling improvements over the sedan are evident; the steering feels solid and offers decent levels of feedback.
Not so good : The revised suspension compared to the Cerato sedan is significantly firmer – around town it can feel overly stiff and on twisty country roads it could be more settled.
Buying and Owning
Good : At under 1,300kg the Koup is no heavyweight – so don’t expect it be to taxing on items like tyres. Ownership should be an inexpensive proposition, considering Kia’s excellent 5-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty.
Not so good : The Kia badge – the general consensus is that it’s an inferior company; but don’t let that affect your purchase, it’s an improving brand on its way up.