The Koup is two-door coupe based on the Kia Cerato four-door sedan. The Koup was introduced to Australia in September 2009 and sold pretty well straight way. That was mainly because of its styling, though low prices certainly played their part.
Despite its sleek styling there a reasonable space inside the Koup. Not surprisingly, rear headroom is borderline and anyone over about 170 cm is likely to be cramped in the back. The very small rear-side windows won’t don’t give passengers much of a view and kids may have trouble seeing out all.
Then again, this Koup is a coupe and is really intended to provide room for two not four.
The gen-two Kia Koup came to Australia in November 2013. It’s larger in all exterior dimensions, both length and wheelbase increased by 50 mm, height up by 10 mm and width by 15 mm. This makes it a better bet if you’re looking at a Koup as a small family car.
In its early days Kia’s build quality wasn’t particularly good but improvements were rapid and by the time of the Koup the Korean brand was improving at a rapid rate. Indeed, the company has topped the JD Power initial quality survey in the USA.
Initially, performance was nothing to get excited about, and Koup was bought as a cruiser, not a bruiser. However, when gen-two arrived it offered the option of a high-tech 1.6-litre turbo-petrol engine, with 150 kW of power, and 265 Nm of torque with a nice spread that began at a lowish 1750 rpm and was carried through to 4500 revs.
Most Kia Koup engines on the used-car scene are the naturally-aspirated 2.0-litre unit that is carried over from the first-generation Koup. It was been upgraded to 129 kW of power (from 115 kW) and 209 Nm of torque (from 194 Nm) and will suit those looking for a sporty cruiser that shares the same stylish looks but don’t want to pay extra for performance.
Transmission options on all Koups are six-speed manual and six-speed auto, the latter with steering wheel mounted paddle shifters fitted to the Koup Turbo.
Boot capacity space is pretty good for the class, though the use of a full-size spare wheel steals a fair bit of depth. The rear-seat backrest has a 60/40 split.
Handling of the Kia Koup is benefits from Australian suspension input from local engineers as well some work done in Europe and Korea. Again, the second generation is the one to opt for.
Kia is now well established in Australia. Though most dealers are in metro areas there is an increasing number in major country centres. We have heard of no real complaints about spare parts pricing or availably.
Enquire about the cost of insurance on a Koup Turbo, particularly if you’re young and/or inexperienced as the premiums could make a big hole in your bank account.
As is often the way with trendy cars Koup sales slowed after a big spike at the start then slowed to a trickle.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Despite our previous comments about Kia’s rise and rise in build quality a full professional inspection of a Koup still makes a lot of sense.
Though it’s marketed as a sporty coupe, Koup is usually driven a cruisy manner. However, we’ve seen some Turbos being thrashed, so be wary.
Uneven tyre wear, especially on the front wheels is a sign of hard driving and/or a big thump against a kerb at some time in the past.
Make sure the engine starts almost immediately, even when cold, and settles into a steady idle within a few seconds.
Manual gearboxes that aren’t light in action could be due for an overhaul. Clutch problems can exacerbate this.
Interior squeaks and rattles are rare, but take the car onto a rough road and listen for things that don’t seem right.
Look for damage to the seats, floor and trim in general. Don’t forget to check the luggage area.
Budget on spending from $2000 to $4000 for a 2009 Kia Koup; $4000 to $7000 for a 2011 Si; $7000 to $11,000 for a 2013 SLS; $8000 to $12,000 for a 2014 SLS; $9000 to $14,000 for a 2015 Si; 11,000 to $17,000 for a 2015 Touring; $12,000 to $18,000 for a 2016 Turbo; and $13,000 to $19,000 for a 2016 Touring.
CAR BUYING TIP
If you like cars that handle well and give good feedback through the steering and to your body look for one that have Australian input during their development stages.
RECALLS: To browse recalls on all vehicles go to the ACCC at: www.productsafety.gov.au/products/transport/cars/