LISTEN 17:06

Kia unveiled the Koup concept in 2008 at the New York Auto Show. Only one year later, at the same show, the Korean automaker brought out the Forte Koup, a model that kept quite faithful to the original concept. The Forte Coupe will be offered in EX and SX versions, with prices starting at $16,595 and $17,695, respectively.

The idea for the car is simple: a sleeker two door coupe version of the Forte sedan, this also means that the engine lineup will carry over from the sedan. The Koup will be available with either a 2.0 Liter four cylinder making 156 HP and a larger 2.4 Liter four banger putting out 173 HP. In either case, both engines are mated to either a six speed manual or a five speed automatic transmission. With standard equipment including: air conditioning, a driver’s seat height adjuster, adjustable rear seat headrests, tilt steering column, rear defroster, center console with dual cup holders, map lamps and variable intermittent wipers.

Press release after the jump.

  • 2010 Kia Forte Koup
  • Year:
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • 0-60 time:
    8.3 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    130 mph
  • Price:
  • body style:

Press release

With performance-inspired, aggressive and sleek styling, Kia Motors America (KMA) today globally debuted the 2010 Forte Koup production vehicle during a press conference at the 2009 New York International Auto Show (NYIAS). Joining the Forte family in the KMA lineup, the company’s first-ever two-door coupe embodies the brand’s current bold design direction first seen on the concept version of the Soul urban passenger vehicle in 2006.

2010 Kia Forte Koup
- image 294925

“On the heel of the introductions of the Soul and Forte sedan, Forte Koup represents the next exciting step in the transformation of Kia design and offers a blend of sporty and emotional appeal,” said Michael Sprague, vice president, marketing, KMA. “We believe our new design evolution coupled with standard Kia value and safety features will continue to attract customers to the Kia brand.”

Curb Appeal

2.0-liter, inline four-cylinder 156 hp @ 6200 rpm and 144 lbs-ft @ 4300 rpm; 2.4-liter, inline four-cylinder 173hp @ 6000 rpm and 168lbs-ft @ 4000rpm

Based on the design styling of the KOUP concept vehicle shown during last year’s show, Forte Koup’s fluid lines and balanced proportions, meant to evoke an emotional driving experience, closely mirror the powerful design cues of the concept vehicle and offer the same aggressive stance with swept-back wrap-around headlamps, aggressive air intakes and a low, sleek profile. Available in two trim levels (EX and SX), Forte Koup offers a muscular yet sophisticated design. Even from behind, Forte Koup exudes attitude with slim, wrapped tail lights, duel exhaust outlets and a rear diffuser.

Athleticism and convenience are standard for the Forte Koup EX with body-color bumpers, power heated outside mirrors with integrated turn signals and 16-inch alloy wheels outfitted with P205/55R16 tires. The SX trim offers an even sportier profile with 17-inch alloy wheels paired with P215/45R17-sized premium tires.

Smooth and Sporty Ride

2010 Kia Forte Koup High Resolution Exterior
- image 346264

With a wheelbase of 104.3 inches, an overall length of 176.4 inches, an overall width of 69.5 inches and overall height of 55.1 inches, Forte Koup is slightly shorter in length and height than the Forte sedan, but still boasts comfortable seating for up to five passengers. Koup’s lowered stance provides better aerodynamics for those looking for a more exciting ride.

The Kia-engineered body achieves high torsional stiffness giving Forte Koup better handling, smoother ride quality and greater refinement than its competitors, with a specially tuned suspension developed to optimize responsive handling on curvy roads. Additional refinements are fitted throughout to help ensure a comfortable ride with good noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) reduction qualities.

Built on a front-wheel-drive unibody frame, Forte Koup utilizes the same platform as the sedan, with an independent front suspension with MacPherson struts and stabilizer bar and a torsion beam rear suspension with struts and coil springs. This combination helps provide the optimal balance of handling and comfort. An engine-speed-sensitive, power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering system adds the finishing touch for precise handling to help provide the most advantageous amount of assist for varying road conditions. The SX trim also comes with a sport-tuned suspension providing for a firmer ride with reduced body roll and improved handling.

Lively Performance

2010 Kia Forte Koup High Resolution Drivetrain
- image 346285

More powerful than the Honda Civic Coupe, Ford Focus Coupe or Chevrolet Cobalt Coupe, Forte Koup EX is driven by a 2.0-liter DOHC four-cylinder engine, producing 156 horsepower and 144 pound-feet of torque that features Continuously Variable Valve Timing (CVVT) and multi-port electronic fuel injection, both of which provide for greater performance and fuel economy. The SX features an upgraded 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine, also with CVVT, which delivers 173 horsepower and 168 pound-feet of torque, more than the Scion tC. Expanding upon the dynamic look and feel, Forte Koup’s engine hums powerfully courtesy of the dual exhaust outlets outfitted on both EX and SX trims.

Like the Forte sedan, two transmission options are available for both 2010 Forte Koup models: a standard five-speed manual transmission or an optional electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission (EX models). The SX model features a standard six-speed manual transmission and an optional five-speed automatic transmission with Sportmatic®.

0 to 60 mph in 8.3–9.1 sec; top speed limited to 130 mph

Forte Koup fuel economy is not sacrificed for sportiness, as both engines deliver at least 31 miles per gallon (highway). The 2.0-liter engine offers 25/34 mpg (city/highway) when mated with either the five-speed manual transmission or the optional four-speed automatic. Those opting for the more powerful 2.4-liter engine also can expect an economical 22/32 mpg with the six-speed manual and 23/31 when paired with the five-speed automatic transmission.

Striking Interior

2010 Kia Forte Koup
- image 294954

With a surprisingly spacious interior for a two-door coupe, Forte Koup provides a comfortable 90.7 cubic feet of interior volume, larger than the 2009 Honda Civic Coupe, Scion tC or Chevrolet Cobalt Coupe. Driver and passengers have an impressive 38.7 inches of headroom and 43.6 inches of legroom in the front seats and 35.3 inches of headroom and 33.9 inches of legroom in the rear seats. Trips to the beach and weekend getaways will be a breeze with ample cargo space of 12.6 cubic feet, enough to accommodate luggage and belongings of all passengers.

Forte Koup continues the luxury treatment with a host of standard interior features, beginning with supportive, nicely appointed sport seats outfitted with more aggressive bolsters on the seat cushion and seat back for optimal comfort. Air conditioning, a driver’s seat height adjuster, adjustable rear seat headrests, tilt steering column, rear defroster, center console with dual cup holders, map lamps and variable intermittent wipers are also just some of the myriad amenities standard on every vehicle. Also standard on all models are power windows, power door locks with remote keyless entry and cruise control with steering wheel-mounted controls for added convenience.

Progressing to the SX trim offers additional standard touches such as: unique sport cloth seats with vibrant red stitching, a tilt and telescoping steering column, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, metal pedals and metal finish trim and a Supervision™ gauge cluster with trip computer further enhancing its energetic personality. Both EX and SX trims also offer an optional power moonroof.

2010 Kia Forte Koup High Resolution Interior
- image 346280

An optional Leather Package is available for both EX and SX trims. When combined with the EX trim the Leather Package adds leather seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob and heated seats. When paired with the SX trim it includes leather and heated seats in addition to the standard leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob.

Superior Sound

For inside entertainment while cruising down the road, Forte Koup comes with a standard six-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system outfitted with SIRIUS Satellite Radio capabilities with three months complimentary service¹. For added listening convenience steering wheel-mounted audio controls also come standard on all models, as well as USB and auxiliary input jacks in the center console with full iPod® and MP3 controllability via the audio head unit. Standard Bluetooth® connectivity enables hands-free operation for compatible cell phones.

Standard Kia Motors Safety

Forte Koup offers a class-leading level of standard safety equipment, with features such as dual front advanced airbags, front seat-mounted and side curtain airbags, four-wheel disc brakes with an antilock brake system (ABS), electronic stability control (ESC) and a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS).

2010 Kia Forte Koup
- image 294934



  • Body configuration Two-door Coupe
  • Body type Steel unibody
  • Drivetrain layout Front engine, front drive
  • Passenger capacity 5
Type 2.0-liter, inline four-cylinder, aluminum block and head 2.4-liter, inline four-cylinder, aluminum block and head
Valve gear DOHC, four valves/cylinder w/ CVVT DOHC, four valves/cylinder w/ CVVT
Horsepower (hp @ rpm) 156 @ 6200 (SULEV: 154 @ 6200) 173 @ 6000 (SULEV: 165 @ 6000)
Torque (lb.-ft @ rpm) 144 @ 4300 (SULEV: 139 @ 4600) 168 @ 4000 (SULEV: 161 @ 4000)
Bore x stroke (mm) 86.0 x 86.0 88.0 x 97.0
Displacement (cc) 1998 2359
Compression ratio 10.5:1 10.5:1
Emissions rating 50-state: LEV-II (ULEV) Tier-2 (Bin 4) CAL: LEV-II (SULEV PZEV)
Fuel tank capacity (gal.) 13.7 13.7
Engine oil capacity (qt.) 4.1 4.5
2010 Kia Forte Koup
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  • EX: Five-speed manual (standard); Electronically controlled four-speed automatic (optional)
  • SX: Six-speed manual (standard); Electronically controlled five-speed automatic w/ Sportmatic (optional)


Gear ratios (:1) M/T A/T
1st 3.308 2.919
2nd 1.962 1.551
3rd 1.189 1.000
4th 0.905 0.713
5th 0.702
Reverse 3.583 2.480
Final drive 4.188 3.681
Clutch type Single dry plate w/ hydraulic control Torque converter


Gear ratios (:1) M/T A/T
1st 3.267 3.939
2nd 1.931 2.093
3rd 1.636 1.349
4th 1.216 0.962
5th 1.027 0.713
6th 0.829
Reverse 3.588 3.347
Final drive 4.063 (1, 2, R); 2.955 (3, 4, 5, 6) 3.099
Clutch type Dual mass flywheel w/ hydraulic control Torque converter
2010 Kia Forte Koup High Resolution Exterior
- image 346252


  • Front Independent, MacPherson struts, coil springs, stabilizer bar
  • Rear Torsion beam w/ struts, coil springs, stabilizer bar


  • Exterior:   
  • Overall length 176.4
  • Overall width 69.5
  • Overall height 55.1
  • Wheelbase 104.3
  • Track, front/rear 61.4 / 61.6
  • Ground Clearance 5.5
  • Interior:
  • Headroom, front/rear 38.7 / 35.3
  • Shoulder room, front/rear 55.7 / 52.4
  • Legroom, front/rear 43.6 / 33.9
  • Front hip room, front/rear 53.3 / 51.6
  • Interior volume (cu. ft.) 90.7
  • Cargo volume (cu. ft.) 12.6


2010 Kia Forte Koup High Resolution Exterior
- image 346270

Prices and options

Trim Specification Price
EX 2.0L I4 M/T $16,595
EX 2.0L I4 A/T $17,595
SX 2.4L I4 M/T $17,695
SX 2.4L I4 A/T $18,695
2010 Kia Forte Koup High Resolution Exterior
- image 346258


Leather Package $1,000
Convenience Package $1,500
Fuel Economy Package $600
Moonroof + 16" alloy $900
Moonroof $700
Cargo Net $40
Cargo Net Floor Mats $95
EC Mirror w/Compass $180
EC Mirror w/Compass & Homelink $250
Wheel Locks $45
2010 Kia Forte Koup High Resolution Exterior
- image 346253

Competitors and press reviews

"The engine is decently peppy but doesn’t beg to be driven hard. You’ll find yourself reaching for the shift lever well before redline at 6,500 rpm. The drive-by-wire throttle calibration could use a rethink. There’s so much manipulation going on that it’s impossible to smoothly creep forward in Seoul’s plentiful stop-and-go traffic. Driveline lash from the soft engine mounts is likely what this throttle mapping is attempting to offset." (InsideLine)

2010 Kia Forte Koup High Resolution Exterior
- image 346265

"Steering is slightly quicker, with a thicker torsion bar and "enhanced steering hydraulic rigidity," which must mean it feels heavier. It’s certainly precise, with very good feedback and none of the on-center vagueness that Mike Floyd described the sedan as having in his review of the sedan. Its anti-sway bars also are slightly larger in diameter." (MotorTrend)

"The Koup is calibrated to impart a sense of sportiness. With the manual transmission, the hydraulic clutch engages within a relatively narrow portion of pedal travel, and the shifter action is positive, verging on notchy. Similarly, throttle response on both manual and automatic versions feels surprisingly eager off the line, becoming a bit more numb in the midrange only to sharpen up again in the upper registers. The engine’s responsiveness (and relatively short first gears in both transmissions) produces acceleration that can become almost abrupt if driver inputs aren’t smooth, but—at least in the preproduction versions we tested—the tuning choice suggests that Kia is serious about sportiness. " (PopularMechanics)

2010 Kia Forte Koup
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Honda Civic Coupe

The 2010 Honda Civic Coupe is offered with a choice of four cylinder engine ranging from a 140-hp, 1.8-liter i-VTEC engine (Civic DX, DX-VP, LX, EX and EX-L), with either a 5-speed manual or an available 5-speed automatic transmission, to a 197-hp, 2.0-liter i-VTEC engine (Civic Si) with a 6-speed manual transmission. Price start at $15,455 and go up to $24,255.

Ford Focus coupe

The Focus Coupe is equipped with either a 2.0-liter, Duratec 20 dual-overhead-cam (DOHC), inline 4-cylinder engine that delivers 143 hp or a super-clean, 130-hp Duratec 20E engine. Prices start at $17.895 for the SE version and at $19.505 for the SES version.

Scion tC Sports Coupe

The Scion tC is powered by a stout 2.4 Liter double overhead cam Toyota built engine with VVT-i that delivers a sporty 161 HP and returns a pocket book friendly 29 MPG on the highway and 21 MPG in the city. Prices start at $17,770.

Chevrolet Cobalt Coupe

The 2010 Cobalt is offered in four trim levels: XFE, LS, LT and turbocharged SS models. The XFE, LS and LT are powered by a Ecotec 2.2L VVT I4 engine with an output of 155 hp at 600 rpm and a peak torque of 150 lbs-ft at 4900 rpm. The SS version gets a 2.0L DOHC I-4 engine with a total output of 260 hp at 5300 rpm and a peak torque of 260 lbs-ft at 2000 rpm. Prices range from $14,990 to $24,535.

2010 Kia Forte Koup
- image 294934


The 2010 Forte Koup is a car developed primarily for the North American market. It features a sportier and cooler design than both the Civic Coupe or Scion tC (that are considered to be its greatest opponents), and considering it comes with lots of standard equipment is cheaper than any of it.

The interior offers enough space for both driver and passengers. It’s true you will still find hard plastic on some parts, but you have to consider this is a under $20K car. The dashboard is simple, with the controls paced logically. The Forte Koup is not a sports car, but Kia wanted sporty. The ride is precise, but with aggressive throttle tip-in. But as long as you will not push the engine to its limits, you will shortly enjoy driving the coupe.

Alina Moore
Alina Moore
Alina Joined the team in the early 2000s as one of the outlets very first experts, and she’s been with ever since. Over the years, she’s served various roles, but today she’s is relied on heavily to verify automotive facts, assist with formatting, and discover new and engaging topics.  Read full bio
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What do you think?
Show Comments


  (349) posted on 10.19.2012

I can’t stand even the interior. It looks very cheap. I would never drive it or get in...

  (397) posted on 10.19.2012

I actually like this car; simple lines, 3 doors, good price... all i want and all i need

  (377) posted on 10.19.2012

Let me tell you, the Koup and Civic do look alike in pictures, but put them side by side and they look nothing alike.

  (349) posted on 10.19.2012

great! another clone of the Civic. I do not think it’s normal. they need to work on design

  (346) posted on 10.19.2012

i can not stand hyundai/kia. they just cant come up with their own design...this looks exactly like a civic

  (780) posted on 02.8.2010

Not bad for a four cylinder car considering that it only tags at more or less $17 grand. I’m not really feeling the interior that much as it seems like an imitation of something like Mazda lines. Although this car has more controls that can be confusing at times.

  (14) posted on 02.8.2010

The rear looks like a lexus though O_O

Nice car though.

  (1332) posted on 02.8.2010

kia motors are getting better and better. they’re becoming very competitive unlike before. well i really want to get my hand on the Forte Koup.

  (814) posted on 01.20.2010

Any resemblance to the Civic Type R is simply coincidental. The Forte Koup’s fascia was built upon the Forte sedan’s theme and began before the Civic Type R was ever debuted.

  (807) posted on 01.11.2010

I am interested in a Hatchback version (possibly next year) of this, but I have been reading a lot complaints about grabby clutch and abrupt throttle tip making for ungraceful launches.

  (17) posted on 04.10.2009

Is it just me or has Kia copied the Honda Civic Coupe. This vehicle looks very similar to the Civic Coupe. Kia, can you ever design your own vehicles instead of copying other company designs.

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