2015 Kia Forte Koup SX [REVIEW]

Here we have the 2015 Kia Forte Koup, which competes primarily with the Honda Civic Coupe and Scion tC. The Civic Coupe has been the mainstay of the segment since it was introduced in the early 1990s and since then several competitors have come and gone. How does the Kia Forte Koup stack up against the Civic and tC? Read on to find out.

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The small coupe segment continues to shrink as more buyers choose more practical sedans and even compact SUVs. But there are a few options left on the market if you want something a bit sportier. Here we have the 2015 Kia Forte Koup, which competes primarily with the Honda Civic Coupe and Scion tC. The Civic Coupe has been the mainstay of the segment since it was introduced in the early 1990s and since then several competitors have come and gone. How does the Kia Forte Koup stack up against the Civic and tC? Read on to find out.
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Kia has made waves the past few years with its new design language that has moved it far from the boring recycled designs of the 1990s and early 2000s. Today nearly every model that Kia releases stands out. Thats the same story here with the Kia Forte Koup. The last generation Forte Koup was sporty, but the new Forte Koup has a higher level of sophistication and style. It’s curvaceous lines, aggressive front fascia and sporty wheels make the Forte Koup look a bit classier than the current Civic and Scion tC.

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Inside the styling is clean, but not quite as stylish as the exterior. I was actually a bit let down by the interior mainly due to its somewhat drab feeling. The hard black plastic isn’t very inspiring and its overall design could be better. The good thing is that the rear seat can fit two adults rather easily, but then again I couldn’t really find a perfect driving position. The relationship between the driver’s seat and steering wheel never felt quite right. I also wished that the seat had more side bolsters and a sportier feel to go with the turbocharged engine under the hood.

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Speaking about what’s under the hood. My tester was powered by a turbocharged 1.6L four-cylinder engine with 201 horsepower and 195 lb-ft. of torque. The base model is powered by a naturally-aspirated 2.0L four-cylinder that generates 166 or 173 horsepower depending on its emissions status. The 1.6L turbocharged engine is more powerful than what you’ll find under the hood of the tC and only a few horsepower shy of the performance oriented Civic Si.

How does it drive? The turbocharged engine picks up rather quickly with very little turbo lag and with 201 horsepower going only to the front wheels, there’s no torque steer either. The engine is sporty enough to satisfy some enthusiasts, but the exhaust note is pretty tame, which will leave Civic Si fans wanting a bit more. The Forte Koup’s 1.6L also only gives it a 0-60 mph time in just under seven seconds, which won’t keep up with a VW GTI. The SX also gets an upgraded suspensions with different springs and a fatter anti-roll bar that keeps most body motions under control. I did wish for a bit more feedback from the electric power steering, which has three settings: Comfort, Normal and Sport. Comfort was the worst mode, since it lacked any on-center feel. I kept the “FlexSteer” system mostly in Sport mode, but it still wasn’t as sporty as I had hoped.

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Related: All-New 2016 Kia Optima revealed ahead of its New York Auto Show debut

The 2015 Forte Koup SX is a great rival to something like the Scion tC, since it has more power, a more refined interior and its styling looks a bit classier. Will the Forte Koup SX win over Civic Si buyers? Probably not, but it is an improvement over the last Forte Koup. If Kia continues on the path that it’s set, the next Forte Koup could one day take on the Civic Si and maybe even the VW GTI. For now, the Forte Koup is a sporty coupe that will easily satisfy most coupe buyers with its turbocharged engine, feature rich interior and stylish exterior.

Pricing for the Forte Koup starts at $18,590, but if you want the turbocharged SX you’ll need to pay the entry price of $20,590. My fully equipped SX with the Premium and Tech packages was priced at $25,215.