The Kia Koup will be available with a 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine for the first time. With 150kW of power at 6000rpm, and 264Nm of torque from 1750-4500rpm, the turbo is the most powerful Koup ever.
It isn’t, however, a certainty to arrive in Australia since Kia has committed to making the European-designed Pro_Cee'd GT hatchback – which uses the same turbo engine – its ‘halo’ model locally from later this year. The company is currently assessing whether the Koup turbo can co-exist with the Pro_Cee'd GT – both would be expected to be priced in the low-$30,000 bracket, to rival the Hyundai Veloster SR Turbo.
The model that will arrive on our shores from the third quarter of this year is the regular Koup, set to replace the outgoing sub-$25,000 model. Featuring a 2.0-litre direct injected four cylinder engine producing 129kW at 6500rpm and 209Nm at 4700rpm, the Koup gets a big lift over the outgoing car’s 115kW and 194Nm.
A six-speed manual or auto is available in both 2.0-litre and 1.6-litre turbo models, with the latter flagship scoring paddleshifters.
Sharing its pointy nose with the hatch, the Koup is less two-door sedan than before, now resembling a stubby liftback with a pert rear-end.
All US-spec models score a FlexSteer steering system that alters weighting between three modes – Comfort, Normal, and Sport. All Koup models also run a strut-front, torsion-beam rear suspension set-up.
Kia has aimed for an increased use of “premium materials and soft-touch points” inside and “class exclusive” features.
While both Koup base (EX) and turbo (SX) get a colour touchscreen with reversing camera and a leather-wrapped steering wheel, the turbo uniquely scores 18-inch alloy wheels (up from 16-inch), dual chrome-tipped exhausts, LED tail lights, larger bumper and grille openings, a black gloss grille insert, larger front brakes, alloy sports pedals, and front and rear seats with carbonfibre-look inserts.
Optional equipment extends to HID headlights, satellite navigation, sunroof, 10-way electrically adjustable and ventilated driver’s seat, heated front seats, leather trim, push button start, and dual-zone climate control.
Kia Australia has indicated that several features optional in the US could be standard on local models, as the local arm usually includes standard equipment not found on overseas models. That is particularly given that the $31,990 Veloster SR Turbo includes some equipment (leather, sat-nav, sunroof) that are options on the US-spec Koup.
Although the Koup 2.0-litre is expected in Oz later this year, the 1.6-litre turbo would arrive in 2014 if given the go-ahead.
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