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Kia Koup gets all souped up

31.01.2014

KIA MIGHT previously have been renowned for its value offerings, but in recent years it has had a strong shift towards design appeal too.

There’s no denying the new breed of vehicles from the Korean manufacturer ooze sex appeal thanks to their striking lines and new family identity and the Cerato Koup is no different. One thing we can all agree on, however, is that Kia’s powertrains didn’t have enough power to offer customers a sporty drive.

Well, the wait is over with the introduction of the new two-door Koup.
Beautifully crafted and featuring enhanced engineering, it benefits from not only receiving a new engine, but the improved quality and upgraded equipment levels raise the bar for this sporty halo vehicle.

The major talking point surrounding the new Koup has to be its 1.6-litre Turbo GDi engine. Certain aspects, however, can’t be ignored. Out to make a statement, the new bolder look embodied in this third-generation Koup is one of aggressive sleekness.

The tiger-nose grille, which by now is a familiar trait across the Kia line-up, seems quite at home while the athletic stance is complemented by the slimmer front grille and lower, yet wider air intake. The round fog lamps seem a lot softer than those on the outgoing model, but the carbon-look bumper garnish and low profile give it plenty of street cred.

From the side profile you realise Kia’s new direction of distinct luxury - the frameless doors, flush side glazing, black-gloss door mirrors, door handles (with chrome inserts), added body coloured side-sill mouldings and sporty 18-inch alloy wheels.

The Koup is clearly growing up and compared to its predecessor, is 50mm longer (4 530mm), 15mm wider (1 780mm) and 20mm higher (1 420mm). The wheelbase has been extended by 50mm (to 2 700mm) and boot space increased to 433 litres.
The cabin isn’t a bad place to be as the Koreans are renowned for cramming in a lot of standard features, which offer a very driver-focused environment for obvious reasons.

The new 4.2-inch centre screen is a nice touch to bring the brand in line with its competitors while the USB and auxiliary inputs, along with cruise control and keyless entry all add to the appeal.

As a big fan of the previous-generation Koup, I was keen to see how responsive the new powertrain is and the driver feedback the overall product offered.
As the first Kia to use a turbocharged engine, there’s obviously been a lot of hype surrounding its arrival.

This 1.6-litre Gamma T-GDi engine, which features cast aluminium cylinder blocks, produces 152kW of power and 265Nm of torque. 
It’s fairly responsive out the blocks and isn’t shy to rev freely. Mated to either a six-speed manual or automatic (which we unfortunately didn’t get to drive) transmission, the Koup taps into your inner child and lets you play.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s by no means a boy racer, but doing the 0-100km/h shuffle in 7.4 seconds (7.7 seconds for the auto), it deserves some respect. Its top speed is pegged at 222km/h.

As with other models in the Kia range, the Koup also has the option to change your steering feedback to offer a more sporty drive, which loosens up the steering a bit. Because admittedly, the car does feel rather controlled.

The fuel consumption figures are pegged at a claimed 7.2 litres/100km for the manual and 7.9 litres/100km for the automatic with a corresponding CO2 emissions rating of 170g/km and 187g/km in auto guise.

Many safety features make a welcome appearance and the car boasts Isofix child seat anchors, ESC, HAC (Hill-start Assist Control), VSM (Vehicle Stability Management), front and rear parking sensors and six airbags.

The Kia Cerato comes with a standard 5-year/150 000km warranty and 5-year/90 000km service plan. Pricing starts at R334 995.

Article written by Stuart Moir
31.01.2014
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