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Kia Koup Cerato 2010 review

The verdict on the Kia Koup is less than special...
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  • funky styling
  • perky engine
  • affordable two-door
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  • steering tug
  • front suspension fights you
  • difficult rear access

The world has been looking desperately for something to take the place of the Celica and Integra. The benchmark Japanese coupes were killed when customers drifted away to something different in the 1990s, even if upmarket brands have continued to find strong support for selfish two-doors and cars for people who want more than transport.

So now we have the Kia Koup. It's very different to the efforts of its sister Korean company, Hyundai, with everything from the nasty little S Coupe through to the impressive V8-powered Genesis that is only built with left-hand drive.

The Koup is based on the Cerato, which makes it simple and cheap to create. It also has styling that is more chunky and Gen-Y friendly than the last of the Celica and Integra crew. It should be a huge hit but, so far at least, it is not doing particularly well in Australia. That mostly comes down to the way it drives, but more of that in a minute.

2010 Kia Cerato

Explore the 2010 Kia Cerato range

The two-door Koup arrived last September and is basically a cut-down and funked-up version of the four-door Cerato. That means it gets the Cerato's 2-litre petrol engine, but the body basics are very different and it is 60 millimetres lower, 50 shorter and 10 narrower, but still has the same wheelbase. The suspension alone drops it by 10 millimetres and it rolls on 17-inch alloys.

The design comes from a 2007 Kia concept car and the translation, like the boxy little Soul, is pretty faithful to the show car. The interior is obviously less radical, and the materials are cheaper, but it still show's Kia's commitment to doing cars that have some emotion. Kia claims the Koup is fun to drive and has a refined ride, but we're not talking about a BMW or a Porsche.


The Koup is a major disappointment. The engine is perky enough and the gearbox is slick with good ratios, but the chassis is  . . . pedestrian. Kia needs to know that it's not nearly good enough to stick a coupe body over a midfield small car and expect it to win buyers. The Celica was never a great driving car, and the Integra relied heavily on great engines, but by comparison to the Koup the Toyota is a grand prix car.

The Koup has steering and front suspension that fights you all the time, even without pushing hard on the accelerator. It is always tugging and fighting, even in the mildest curves, and you need to hang on tight if you try to go moderately quickly on a twisty road. If it rains . . . Well, then things get nasty and you have to slow down.

Don't get me wrong, because I wanted to like the Koup. I've been missing affordable two-door driving in Australia and the Kia has the right price and a good look, both inside and out. The dash, in particular, will appeal to younger buyers and the sound system is good. The seats are ok, visibility is good and safety should be fine for the class and price.

But you can see and feel the Korean quality in the Koup, from rattly doors with window glass that clunks and jerks, to the cheap finishing in the boot. It's also tough to get in and out of the back seat, and the big rear glass really needs a wiper for wet weather. So, bottom line, the Kia Koup is nothing special. Pity.

She says - Ali Bryant

I don't think there is anything special about the Koup. It does the job, but it doesn't deliver on how it looks. I'm not sure about the massive doors - they clunk and bang and might get droopy over time. The steering is the big letdown, especially driving on a wet road. That was terrible and not sporty at all. It also tugs a lot in corners when you want to put your foot down.

Really, it was just standard stuff. A standard car. The boot's fine, the seats are fine, and the sound system is good. Thinking about the Celica, it looks sportier but inside it's just a regular car. But it does have that five-year warranty, which is important to a lot of people.

The bottom line

Funky looks but an old-school drive.

Pricing Guides

Based on 61 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
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Range and Specs

Koup 2.0L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $7,495 – 8,880 2010 Kia Cerato 2010 Koup Pricing and Specs
Si 2.0L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $4,950 – 12,999 2010 Kia Cerato 2010 Si Pricing and Specs
SLi 2.0L, ULP, 6 SP MAN $6,988 – 11,990 2010 Kia Cerato 2010 SLi Pricing and Specs
Limited Edition 2.0L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $4,400 – 6,490 2010 Kia Cerato 2010 Limited Edition Pricing and Specs
Pricing Guide


Lowest price, based on 20 car listings in the last 6 months

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