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2012 Kia Forte Koup (EX, SX) review

The new 2012 Kia Forte Koup coupe

Since its arrival in 2009, Kia Motors America's (KMA) first two-door coupe has been a successful player in the brand's lineup contributing to extraordinary Forte sales and attracting new customers to the Kia brand.
2012 Kia Forte Koup photo2012 Kia Forte Koup photo
The stylish Forte Koup is a seamless blend of world-class design, fun-to-drive performance, fuel efficiency and a long list of standard safety and technology features. The Koup's outstanding driving dynamics and performance-inspired styling also provide the basis for Kia's second-year U.S. motorsports program, which campaigns two Forte Koups in GRAND-AM's Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge (CTSCC) in the Street Tuner (ST) class.
2012 Kia Forte Koup photo2012 Kia Forte Koup photo
Plethora of Standard Technology and Connectivity Features
All Forte Koup models surround occupants with the latest in must-have technology with Bluetooth®1 wireless connectivity and steering wheel-mounted controls that enable voice-activated hands-free operation for compatible cell phones. For listening convenience, USB and auxiliary input jacks offer full iPod®2 and MP3 controllability via the audio head unit or the standard steering wheel-mounted audio controls. A six-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system outfitted with SiriusXM™ Satellite Radio capability with three months complimentary service3 also comes standard on all models, while speaker lights that can either pulse to the beat of the music or simply add mood lighting enhance the personal-lounge feeling of the interior.
2012 Kia Forte Koup photo2012 Kia Forte Koup photo
Striking Design
Forte Koup's fluid lines and balanced proportions offer a refined and athletic stance with swept-back wrap-around headlamps, aggressive air intakes and a low, sleek profile. Koup offers a muscular yet sophisticated design, and even from behind, the two-door coupe exudes attitude with slim, wrapped tail lamps, dual exhaust outlets and a rear diffuser.
Standard exterior features are plentiful throughout the Forte Koup EX, including power heated outside mirrors with LED integrated turn signal indicators, dual chrome exhaust outlets, body-color bumpers and 16-inch alloy wheels outfitted with 205/55R16 tires and five-spoke alloy wheels. The SX trim offers an even more sporty profile with 17-inch alloy wheels paired with 215/45R17-sized premium tires, grey-colored 10-spoke alloy wheels, LED taillights, and gloss-black front fascia accents. Buyers can choose from an exciting array of exterior colors, including Titanium, Corsa Blue and Racing Red.
2012 Kia Forte Koup photo2012 Kia Forte Koup photo
Refined and Lively Ride
Riding on the same 104.3-inch wheelbase as its sedan and hatchback siblings, Forte Koup provides comfortable seating for up to five passengers with an overall length of 176.4 inches, an overall width of 69.5 inches and overall height of 55.1 inches, making it 2.4 inches lower, 2.0 inches shorter and 0.4 inches narrower than the sedan. Koup is equipped with a front lip spoiler, under floor airflow deflectors ahead of all four wheels, an engine bay cover, and a lowered stance which contributes to a highly competitive coefficient of drag (Cd) of 0.31 and an aerodynamic lift coefficient (Ci) of just 0.21, enhancing stability and providing a smoother ride at higher speeds.
The two-door's high torsional stiffness gives Forte Koup responsive handling, a smoother ride and improved refinement over the competition. Tuned in the U.S. to appeal to more spirited driving preferences, the Koup is built on a lightweight, hydro-formed subframe, featuring a front suspension that employs MacPherson struts similar to the sedan and hatchback, while high-speed stability has been enhanced by lowering the ride height and widening the wheel track. The SX trim comes also with sport-tuned suspension designed to provide a firmer ride with reduced body roll and improved handling.
2012 Kia Forte Koup photo2012 Kia Forte Koup photo
An engine-speed-sensitive, power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering system and smart front suspension design add the finishing touches to the robust, finely tuned steering and suspension package and provides a highly competitive turning circle of just 33.9 feet.
Additional refinements are utilized throughout the vehicle to help ensure a comfortable ride while significantly reducing noise, vibration and harshness (NVH). Additionally, all-new noise-inhibiting materials are used in the engine bay bulkhead and rear parcel shelf, including the injection of sound-dampening foam into hollow sections of the bodyshell at strategic noise-transference points, as well as improved door and window seals.
2012 Kia Forte Koup photo2012 Kia Forte Koup photo
Refined Performance
The Koup is powered by a 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine, producing 156horsepower and 144 pound-feet of torque4 that features Dual Continuously Variable Valve Timing (CVVT) and multi-port electronic fuel injection, both of which allow for greater performance and fuel economy. The SX features an upgraded 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine, also with CVVT, which delivers 173 horsepower and 168 pound-feet of torque5. Expanding upon the dynamic look and feel, Forte Koup benefits from a dual-outlet exhaust outfitted on both trims.
Two transmission options are available for 2012 Forte Koup models: an efficient standard six-speed manual transmission or an optional electronically controlled six-speed automatic transmission with overdrive.
Fuel economy is not sacrificed for performance with the Forte Koup as both engines deliver at least 31 miles per gallon (highway). The 2.0-liter engine offers 24/33 mpg6 (city/highway) when paired with the six-speed manual transmission and 25/34 mpg6 (city/highway) when matted with optional six-speed automatic. Those opting for the more powerful 2.4-liter engine can expect an economical 22/32 mpg6 (city/highway) with the six-speed manual and 23/31 mpg6 (city/highway) with the six-speed automatic transmission.
2012 Kia Forte Koup photo2012 Kia Forte Koup photo
Impressive Interior
Forte Koup provides a spacious 90.7 cubic feet of interior volume, a surprisingly roomy interior for a two-door coupe. Driver and passengers have an impressive 38.7 inches of headroom and 43.6 inches of legroom in the front seats and 35.3 inches of headroom and 33.9 inches of legroom in the rear seats. Trips to the beach and weekend getaways are a breeze with ample cargo space of 12.6 cubic feet, enough to accommodate luggage, while 60/40-split folding rear seats that fold nearly flat extend the available amount of cargo space even further to 53.4 cubic feet.
2012 Kia Forte Koup photo2012 Kia Forte Koup photo
Forte Koup continues the comfort treatment with a host of standard interior features, beginning with supportive, nicely appointed sport seats outfitted with more aggressive bolsters on the seat cushion and seat back for optimal comfort and support. Additional standard equipment on all Forte Koup models includes air conditioning, power windows, power door locks with remote keyless entry, cruise control with steering wheel-mounted controls, a driver's seat height adjuster, adjustable rear seat headrests, a tilt and telescopic steering column (now standard for 2012), rear defroster, center console with dual cup holders and storage area, dual map lamps with ceiling-mounted, drop-down sunglasses holder and variable intermittent windshield wipers.
Progressing to the SX trim offers additional standard touches such as: paddle shifters, auto headlamps, unique cloth seats with vibrant red stitching, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, metal pedals and metal finish trim. Both EX and SX trims also offer a host of options, including a navigation system, automatic climate control, push button start with smart key, and power sunroof with tilt.
2012 Kia Forte Koup photo2012 Kia Forte Koup photo
An optional Leather Package is available on the SX trim that includes leather and heated seats in addition to the standard leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob.
A Supervision™ gauge cluster with trip computer, optional on EX models (new for 2012) and standard on SX models, further enhances Koup's energetic personality with its red-hued glow and message display shown at the bottom of the cluster. This display includes information such as outside temperature, distance to empty, engine coolant temperature, elapsed time, door-open alerts, fuel consumption, average and instantaneous miles-per-gallon readings.
Standard Kia Safety Features
Forte Koup offers the same impressive list of standard safety equipment as its sedan and hatchback siblings, with features such as front active headrests, dual advanced front airbags, front seat-mounted and side curtain airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, side impact door beams, front and rear crumple zones, four-wheel disc brakes with an Antilock Brake System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BAS), Electronic Stability Control (ESC), a Traction Control System (TCS), and a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS).
2012 Kia Forte Koup photo2012 Kia Forte Koup photo
Industry-Leading Warranty
The 2012 Forte Koup is covered by Kia's comprehensive warranty program7, which offers consumer protection at an exceptional value. Included in this program are a 10-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty, a five-year/60,000-mile limited basic warranty and a five-year/100,000-mile anti-perforation warranty. A five-year/60,000-mile roadside assistance plan also is part of the comprehensive vehicle coverage.


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