Koup d’etat

Kia con­trived this smart coupe from its staid Cer­ato sedan

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Used Car - GRA­HAM SMITH gra­ham.smith@cars­guide.com.au

NEW

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.

NOW

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.

SMITHY SAYS

It’s smart, stylish and re­li­able, there are lots of rea­sons to rec­om­mend the Koup.

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