There are some decisions you make with your heart. Decisions like splashing out (without your better half’s knowledge) on that new living room-spanning ultra-HD LCD TV. Or walking into a showroom and deciding there and then you want that Ferrari, never mind that it’ll cost your children their university education.
The second-generation Kia Cerato Koup (the marque’s only two-door car), however, is not one of those “heart” choices. If you’re making the decision to buy it, you’ll probably only have done so after visiting countless showrooms, doing extensive research on the internet, and spending an inordinate amount of time consulting your meticulously compiled cost-benefit analysis spreadsheet.
Don’t put put off by its two-door bodystyle, because aside from a little awkwardness for rear seat passengers during ingress/egress, the Koup doesn’t lose too much in the practicality stakes (particularly in terms of legroom) over its saloon cousin, the Forte K3. Granted, the Koup’s rear bench is a little more claustrophobic (no thanks to the sloping roofline), but then it’s a comparatively small price to pay for those good looks.
And indeed, it’s a comparatively small price to pay for the Koup in general. Cycle & Carriage Kia wants just $130,999 for it, which is isn’t a lot of money, considering what sort of standard equipment the Koup has to offer (though admittedly, it’s $24,000 more expensive than the Forte K3, and priced identically to the mid-size Optima K5 saloon).
LED daytime running lights, LED tail-lights, 18-inch alloys, a sunroof, keyless entry and start, bum coolers for the driver’s seat, front and rear parking sensors, and a reverse camera all come included with the Koup’s asking price. All this is wrapped some rather impressive build quality, easily on par with, and in some cases, even exceeding the Koup’s Japanese competition.
Now, if that wasn’t enough, the Koup is packing a 1.6-litre turbocharged engine that develops a generous 204bhp, which makes the Koup one of the most powerful, most affordable cars on sale today. As you might expect, given those impressive headline figures, the Koup’s performance is brisk – it completes the century sprint in 7.4 seconds.So, if you’re the aforementioned sort that shops for cars based on head-over-heart decisions, you can stop reading this now and march straight down to the showroom to get yourself a shiny new Koup.
But if your car-buying involves using a bit of your “heart” as well, then you might find the Koup to be a little wanting. While it checks plenty of boxes on paper, driving it can be quite a different story, as despite its svelte looks, the Koup can struggle to live up to the promise of those sexy lines.
There’s the overly-tall driving position, the amount of pitch the car exhibits when thrown into corners a little too hard, the slurring shifts of the gearbox and how, in spite of its healthy performance figures, the Koup doesn’t feel all that quick out on the road.
Then there’s the issue of how Kia has specced some Nexen N’blue HD low-rolling-resistance tyres on the car, which makes the car feel like it’s constantly struggling for grip. This is an odd choice, to say the least, considering the Koup’s sporting pretensions. And to top it all off, the the tinny, buzzy exhaust note also won’t convince onlookers you’re driving a car with any performance potential.
However, these complaints might be a moot point, especially if you’re the sort that shuns such airy-fairy concepts like “dynamics” or “on-road poise”. No, the Koup appeals to the sort of buyer that embraces real, solid ideas, such as “bang-for-buck” and “equipment lists longer than your arm”. See what we said earlier about the Koup being a car that you buy with your head, not your heart?
TYPE inline-4, 16-valves, turbocharged
BORE X STROKE 77mm x 85mm
COMPRESSION RATIO 9.5:1
MAX POWER 204bhp at 6000rpm
MAX TORQUE 265Nm at 1750-4000rpm
POWER TO WEIGHT 156.1bhp per tonne
GEARBOX 6-speed automatic with manual select
DRIVEN WHEELS Front
0-100KM/H 7.4 seconds
TOP SPEED 222km/h
CONSUMPTION 12.7km/L (combined)
CO2 EMISSION 187g/km
FRONT MacPherson struts, coil springs
REAR Torsion beam, coil springs
FRONT / REAR Ventilated discs / Discs
TYPE Nexen N’blue HD
SIZE 225/40 R18
TRACTION CONTROL ABS with ESC
KERB WEIGHT 1307kg
TURNING CIRCLE 10.6m
PRICE INCL. COE $130,999 (no CEVS rebate/surcharge)
WARRANTY 5 years/unlimited km
+ Handsome exterior design, zippy turbocharged engine, packed with equipment
– Slushy gearbox, overly tall driving position, waxen-feeling tyres lack grip