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Kia Cerato Koup 2012 Review

IF it worries you, cover up the badge. That's our advice. If there are any lingering doubts about the badge, its build quality or credibility, fear not: Kia's Cerato Koup is very good. Drop the preconceptions and you'll be in for a nice surprise, because Kia has joined Hyundai, LG and Samsung in the global Korean offensive of top quality products, with its recent additions and updates of the Sorento, Sportage, Soul and Koup.

VALUE

Pricing is sharp and starts at $24,990 drive-away. For that price you get remote locking, electric windows and cruise and stereo controls on the steering wheel, map lights, a very legible Mazda3-like instrument cluster, plus trip computer, and extra niceties like a 60/40 split-fold seat with boot releases, sun-visor extensions, speed-sensing door locks and a smart USB iPod input.

Some cars twice its price don't have all this gear. Bluetooth (coming) and satnav (buy a $150 TomTom) are the only major emissions. The overload of standard equipment is Kia's way of saying we may not have the badge, but we can give you the gear.

SAFETY

Standard safety features include six airbags, Electronic Stability Program (ESP) and there are even reverse parking sensors.

DESIGN

The Koup is stylish, well equipped and keenly priced and more impressively, has minimal flaws. The Koup's chiseled, chunky styling looks right out of Europe. With its blacked-out nose, faux diffuser and 17-inch alloys, it's a striking car, especially in this Sweet Orange, a new for 2011 colour that glows in the sun.

And for that, we are impressed, considering there's also something lacking in some Euros: storage space. The Koup is full of handy pockets and holders and holes, in its surprisingly spacious cabin.

TECHNOLOGY

No, it won't win a world rally championship, or hose down a HSV at the drags, but nor was it designed to: the Koup is a budget conscious, practical, stylish city car with an emphasis on comfort with just enough sports. The engine is a 2.0-litre four-cylinder with figures of 115kW/194Nm, and 0-100km/h in 8.9 seconds, about the same as a Suzuki Swift Sport.

DRIVE

The five-speed manual is faster, but we actually prefer the somewhat antiquated four-speed auto though it's a little slower, it feels more responsive around town and at part throttle, where it spends most of its life. The power steering is on the heavy side, and the big heavy doors also mean it's a fairly long reach to the front seat belts.

We're also keen to see if the fuel consumption improves, as we've recorded 10.7 litres/100km from our $2000 option auto version, versus the 7.8 litres/100km claim. If those aren't major issues, then the Kia Koup is an impressive budget sports coupe that's comfortable, well equipped and looks good and deserves consideration.

Of course with all the ups, there are a couple of downs, and the biggest is ride quality: its overly harsh damping can loosen a few fillings, and it seems to struggle most with suburban speed-humps and corrugations with just 1500km on the clock, and possibly tight suspension, well see if that softens over time.

VERDICT

With Kia's five year unlimited kilometre warranty, it adds up to a compelling case. If you value price and equipment over a badge, then Kia's Koup is quite the budget sports coupe.

KIA CERATO KOUP

Price: from $24,990
Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder
Outputs: 115kW/194 Nm
Safety: six airbags, Electronic Stability Program ESP
Transmission: Five-speed manual, four-speed automatic
Warranty: five year unlimited kilometres

 

Pricing Guides

$9,990
Based on 106 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$6,499
Highest Price
$13,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
Koup Si 2.0L, ULP, 6 SP MAN $10,990 – 12,714 2012 Kia Cerato 2012 Koup Si Pricing and Specs
Koup SLS 2.0L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $13,880 – 13,990 2012 Kia Cerato 2012 Koup SLS Pricing and Specs
Extra L.E 2.0L, ULP, 6 SP MAN $6,950 – 9,888 2012 Kia Cerato 2012 Extra L.E Pricing and Specs
S 2.0L, ULP, 6 SP MAN $9,888 – 9,990 2012 Kia Cerato 2012 S Pricing and Specs
Pricing Guide

$9,990

Lowest price, based on 6 car listings in the last 6 months

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