KIA’S pussycat Koup is set to acquire some claws in the form of a forced-induction flagship edition.
Under consideration for Australia, but not before the next-generation version arrives late in the fourth quarter of this year, the Cerato with two doors and a slammed roofline is poised to be the Korean company’s answer to the likes of the Hyundai Veloster SR Turbo and Toyota 86.
The engine in question is the same 1.6-litre direct-injection turbo-petrol four-pot that underpins the upcoming Pro_Cee’d GT hot hatch (as well as the aforementioned Hyundai).
That means power and torque outputs of 150kW and 264Nm respectively, respectably greater than the 129kW/209Nm 2.0-litre naturally aspirated engine earmarked for the lower-echelon models, and a massive leap up from the 115kW/194Nm currently available in the outgoing Koup 2.0-litre.
Drive is delivered to the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox or a six-speed automatic with paddle shifters.
Other go-faster gear includes a ‘sports’ chassis setting, bringing a lower ride height and modified springs and dampers to the table, as well as 18-inch alloys, a deeper front bumper with larger air intakes, and a smattering of black trim.
However, as with all Koups, the newcomer forsakes its European Cee’d cousin’s multi-link rear end for a simpler (if more space efficient) torsion beam arrangement, while MacPherson struts feature up front.
Designed in California and built alongside the Cerato sedan and hatch in Korea, the second-generation Kia two-door offers a gently evolutionary change over its 2009-era predecessor, adopting larger headlights and smoother surfaces.
The company says improved materials are fitted inside for a more premium experience, enhanced by a long list of standard equipment on all versions – including alloy wheels, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, steering-wheel mounted controls, and cruise control.
Though sales have never been high in Australia (less than 2700 have found homes here in three and a half years), the Koup has carved a niche out for itself in many other markets including North America, prompting Kia not to stray too far from the original and successful concept.
Making its global debut at the New York International Auto Show this week, the Koup completes the triumvirate of small-car offerings based on the YD Cerato.