In September, I zipped about for a few hours in a Kia Forte Koup that had just spent a grueling week racing the Targa Newfoundland Rally. This past week I sped about the GTA in another Forte Koup. The rally Forte was mostly stock, so the differences between these drives were barely noticeable.
Yes, it was modified to become race worthy: brakes, tires, seats, roll cage, a sunroof that was sealed shut, plus lots of sponsor logos.
But this week’s ride included the “R Package.”
Available through Kia dealers, it closely mimics racers’ experience: front skirts, side sills, rear lip spoiler, 18″ Europa wheels and Yokohoma S-drive tires.
It also included Eibach performance springs.
These were disciplined further by a performance strut bar keeping us level on dips and vacuuming us to the road in tight corners. Sure it’s a bit of spine massage on bumps but you’re a rocket.
Another extra with the R Package is the performance exhaust system.
Make that rock ‘n’ roll performance. With the more efficient release of exploding gases comes some extra noise the neighbours will love.
We dug the Forte Koup out after the first snowfall of the year in Grey County, Ontario.
The nanny controls are a button push away. Smiles!
After a simple experiment of 2km on hilly country roads, I can vouch for the effectiveness of the traction control system — and suggest snow tires.
One last point: beauty!
Even after two weeks and several articles about this car, there’s been no mention of its design.
In 2006, Kia wooed VW/Audi’s Peter Schreyer to lead their designers. Notice the Forte’s sexy downward nose, which carves the air. Admire its lovely rump, whose pedigree reaches back to Schreyer’s famous home run, the TT.
2011 Kia Forte Koup
MSRP (does not include R Package) from $20,300.