Kia contrived this smart coupe from its staid Cerato sedan
Once a thriving segment, the budget sports car market had shrunk almost to the point of extinction when Kia launched its smartly priced Cerato Koup in 2009.
In past years you could find budget-priced sports cars in the showrooms of most makers, but that’s no longer the case. The result was a hole in the market and Kia filled it with the twodoor Koup.
Based on the Cerato, the Koup was Kia’s first two-door coupe. The Koup was lower, shorter and lighter than the four-door Cerato sedan, but sat on the same wheelbase as the sedan, which contributed to its planted feeling on the road.
The Koup shared only a single body panel with the four door but it used the same mechanical package, in the form of a willing 2.0-litre fourcylinder engine linked to either a five-speed manual gearbox or a four-speed automatic with the final drive delivered through the front wheels.
An upgrade in 2010 brought the welcome introduction of a six-speed manual gearbox and a six-speed auto.
The Koup’s suspension was tweaked nicely for local conditions. With a heavier front stabiliser bar, stiffer shocks and faster steering ratio, it gobbled up curves with reassuring aplomb. Inside there was surprising room considering it was shorter and had a lower roofline. The sports pews were comfortable and supportive, and the rear seats were easily accessible through the wideopening doors.
There was even reasonable space in the boot, which was more useful with the 60-40 split-fold rear seat. The Koup added heaps of features lifted from the up-spec Cerato model. These included sports seats, parking sensors, climatecontrolled air, cruise, alloy pedals and trip computer. On top of those it also had 17-inch alloy wheels, sports exhaust, fog lights and alcantara-styled trim.
There once was a time when we would warn anyone thinking of buying a Kia — indeed any Korean brand — to carefully consider their decisions. There is no need for the same advice today.
Kia has come on leaps and bounds since it arrived on these shores in the 1990s. Its styling is now contemporary and appealing, its mechanical packages are robust and reliable, and its build quality is on the money.
All of that adds up to cars that not only look good when sitting in the showroom, but can also be relied upon once you’ve got them home. We don’t get much correspondence from Kia owners here at Carsguide, which tells us that Kia owners are generally happy with their cars.
The Koup’s engine and its gearboxes are well proven and give little trouble, providing of course that they are properly maintained. To check this, ask the vendor for a service record that shows the car you’re thinking of buying has been serviced by a credible mechanic.
We have seen odd reports of doors sagging, and others about the clutch being awkward to get right on manual cars, but overall the level of compliant is quite low. There have been no recalls on the Koup.
It’s smart, stylish and reliable, there are lots of reasons to recommend the Koup.