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Kia Cerato Koup turbo 2014 review

EXPERT RATING
7
Kicking the tyres is a metaphor for buying a new car. Seriously consider buying the new Kia Cerato Koup if you're in the market for a two-door coupe, but ditch the tyres.

Kicking the tyres is a metaphor for buying a new car. Seriously consider buying the new Kia Cerato Koup if you're in the market for a two-door coupe, but ditch the tyres. This fun-to-drive car is handicapped by rubber that isn't on a par with the performance potential of the chassis or suspension.

Value

The second-generation Koup was a stylish car with moderate performance. Kia addresses that this time around with a top-spec,1.6-litre turbo model. It adds $4000 to the $23,990 price of the already good, naturally aspirated 2.0-litre engine fitted with a solid six-speed manual gearbox.

Auto transmission adds $2200 on both cars. A "Touring Pack", reserved for turbo models, adds leather seats, dual-zone aircon and a 7-inch infotainment touchscreen upgrade with satnav.

Technology

Turbocharged engines are the next step in Kia's evolution and the 1.6-litre in the Koup is a willing mid-range performer. There's an appreciable accelerative kick at 3500rpm that makes it a fun car to push through the twisties, while peak torque kicks in at 1750rpm and hangs around until 4500rpm. Both transmissions are good.

The manual is a light and slick shifter with six smart ratios. In the auto, the wheel-mounted paddle-shifters respond snappily up or down left to its own devices, it is equally quick and smooth.

Design

A slimmer front grille and round foglights differentiate the Koup from the Cerato sedan and hatch front-on. The shoulder-line flares from front to rear to give it a wedge-shaped profile and the tail of the car is marked by a boot-mounted spoiler and black rear diffuser.

Black side mirror caps make the turbo easy to spot, along with 18-inch rims in place of 17s on the naturally aspirated car and a pair of exhausts. There are soft-touch plastics on the contact points inside and plenty of room for front and rear occupants. A 433-litre boot adds to the practicality.

Safety

The Koup is too new to have been crash-tested yet. Given it is based on the five-star Cerato, Kia is confident of a five-star rating. High-tensile steel is used extensively and helps contribute to a 37 per cent boost in torsional rigidity. Six airbags are standard fare and heavy braking now activates the hazard lights (which automatically disengage) to alert approaching cars.

Driving

A local suspension tune and the desire to give the Koup grand tourer-style ride and handling makes the compact Kia a refined ride over even the patchiest bitumen. The ride is firmer than a regular Cerato but that adds to the entertainment value when it's driven enthusiastically.

What detracts from the experience are the contact points. The Nexen rubber is good but not great, though consistent on wet or dry roads. Trouble is, this car deserves better the rest of the package encourages quick runs on winding roads.

Road noise on the lower-profile 18-inch rims is intrusive on coarse bitumen, even with the extra noise suppression fitted to the Koup. The 17s give nothing away in terms of grip and add to occupant comfort both through the seat of the pants and the ears.

Given the Pro-cee'd is intended to be the hot version of the family when it arrives next year, Carsguide may be overly critical. For most owners the Koup will be a competent, stylish car with enough go from either engine to deliver a fun drive without falling foul of speed-obsessed officialdom.

Verdict

The Koup is demonstrably a better car than the previous model in every area and is only marginally dearer. It looks like a sporty coupe without compromising passenger or load capacity and that will more than satisfy most owners. 

Pricing Guides

$12,990
Based on 148 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$9,990
Highest Price
$17,995

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
Koup Si 2.0L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $12,760 – 17,050 2014 Kia Cerato 2014 Koup Si Pricing and Specs
Koup SLS 2.0L, ULP, 6 SP MAN $12,430 – 16,610 2014 Kia Cerato 2014 Koup SLS Pricing and Specs
Koup Touring 1.6L, ULP, 6 SP MAN $13,888 – 15,977 2014 Kia Cerato 2014 Koup Touring Pricing and Specs
Koup Turbo 1.6L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $13,420 – 17,600 2014 Kia Cerato 2014 Koup Turbo Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7
Pricing Guide

$11,000

Lowest price, based on third party pricing data

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