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    New Contribution By Sarah Lee Mycarlady
    Message :I drove and reviewed both the Kia Koup and the sedan. I think they are both very strong contenders in an overcrowded market. I would put the Kia up against the Corolla and Mazda3 all day long and the Scion TC in the Coupe category.  
    The 2010 Kia Forte has its high-beams on the Ford Focus, Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, Mazda 3 and Nissan Sentra.
     All these sedans offer reasonable size, adequate horsepower, okay fuel economy and decent warranties… for around $18k. HOWEVER, when compared to the new FORTE, LOOK OUT.  Stylish exterior, 20% roomier inside, comfortable headroom, comparable horsepower and fuel economy but add the 5yr./60k standard and 10yr./100k power-train warranty and the 0% financing or killer lease options and the needle clearly moves to the 2010 KIA FORTE. The Forte KOUP is the sexy, smart two-door version destined to blow by the Eclipse, TC and Civic.
    The biggest problem with the KIA FORTE is the LACK OF INVENTORY.  Consider the severely discounted dollar and it’s no wonder KIA corporate is watching the importation of their latest winner. Like the KIA SOUL, the arrival for a hot car couldn’t come at a worse time, as the dealer invoice costs the manufacturers’ American division more per car than the U.S. built competition. (KIA is building a US plant in Atlanta to remedy the situation.)   The dollar disparity isn’t passed on to the American consumer, and it is surprising that they continue to offer the 0% interest and low incentive lease rates, but muscling the domestic and low-end import market-share is something KIA and HYUNDAI (it’s big brother) have been doing successfully for several years.
    KIA FORTE KOUP take on TC, Si and Mazda 3 …
    I drove the Kia Forte Koup SX first and let me say it is fun, fast and full of value.  The styling is smart and sassy with rake and beltlines from the sport scar class of the more expensive, middle-age models. The 17” performance tires offer some road noise that even the super stereo could not overcome; however that and the slightly obtrusive C pillar blind spot were my only negatives.
    The turning radius is tight with NO under or over-steer, as all my quick lane changes delivered precise movements. The pick-up on this 2.4L 170 hp model was very fast, even from a standstill.  A moderate hard shift let me know the car had the guts when I asked for 80 from 65 with a little pressure to the pedal. IMHO, I wouldn’t opt for the Base EX 2.0l 156hp for the minor dollar difference.
    The car is reasonably low to the ground but not nearly to the back-breaking stance of the Miata, Corvette Z06 or Crossfire SRT , all of which I have owned and reluctantly given up for aforementioned reasons. Inside the car the seat is soft, yet bolstered enough to hold me in place when taking the turns, which the sport-tuned suspension handled cleanly. Everything along the dash is neat, well organized and ergonomically efficient,  including door release handles, radio, cruise and Blue-tooth controls on the steering wheel, Auto-Shifter and cup holders. Lots of cup holders for a 4-seater, and there is room for a 5’6’ person in the backseat.  The air-conditioner blows ice cubes, which is crucial in Vegas/Phoenix 110 degree summers and something lacking in all the domestic 4 cyl. and hybrid Honda Civic.
    I like the clever MOOD/MUSIC feature carried over from the KIA SOUL, adding a KOOL touch by matching the RED gauges to the floor panel speaker RED lighting , thumping the beat to the stereo bass. The polished aluminum and lacquer touches accent the red stitching of the seats and leather-wrapped steering wheel, bringing the look together nicely on any of the exterior colors; Blue, Black, White, Silver, Red and Dark Grey.
    All in all, this is a young persons car, the parentals will approve of. It has the necessary safety features; (anti-locks, dual side airbags, blue-tooth and reinforced safety bars through-out), a well-heeled warranty and respectable price.   Prices start at $17k but the SX model I drove was a tad under $20k, packed with features and a 10year/100k power-train warranty. The Kia Forte Koup marks another huge benchmark for the relatively young company and will clearly leave the Toyota Corolla, SCION TC, Mazda 3 and Honda Civic Si looking at twin-tailpipes. Watching the extraordinary success of the Kia Soul and now Kia Forte Koup, I hope KIA can keep enough production on the lots to fulfill the appetite of the still spending Millennial’s.
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