It’s pretty much shaping up to be bumper Kia model year, with no less than six model introductions for 2011. First up to arrive was the new Sorento SUV, and now Naza Kia Malaysia has officially unveiled the Forte Koup and the updated Forte 6-Speed sedan.

The two new offerings – which were introduced today at the new 12,000 sq ft Naza Kia 3S Centre in Glenmarie – will be joined later in the year by the new Optima sedan and the Sportage SUV. The sixth model wasn’t specifically mentioned, so bets are on whether it’s the Soul – a refreshed version is due out in mid-year – or the new Picanto, which was just introduced in Geneva.

For now though, the two Fortes hold court, with the Koup leading in things. Kia’s first-ever two door C-segment coupe – which Paul previewed two years ago – certainly has some very fluid lines and nicely balanced proportions, and the result is a car that’s easy on the eye. At RM115,800 on-the-road with insurance, it’s certainly excellent value if you’re eyeing a coupe that won’t break your wallet.

The front features the familiar family face, with black high-gloss accents in the form of the radiator grille, bumper moulding and fog lamp housing helping to snazz up things. At the back, there’s a two-tone bumper, as well as rear LED combination lamps and twin exhaust tailpipes. A point to note is that the fully-imported Koup comes wearing a Kia badge outright, as it rightly should.

It’s powered by a Theta II 2.0 litre four-cylinder CVVT block, with 156 PS at 6,200 rpm and 194 Nm at 4,300 rpm, mated to a six-speed auto transmission. Among the performance specs is a 0-100 kph sprint time of 10.5 secs.

The vehicle, which sits on the same platform as the sedan, features a front McPherson strut and a coupled torsion beam axle rear suspension, though some tweaking on things has been done to offer improved response and stability compared to the sedan. It has a wider wheel track and sits 10mm lower than the sedan, and a larger diameter stabiliser bar, shock absorbers with retuned inner valves and a revised steering-gear ratio help things along here.

Features and equipment include bucket type leather seats, alloy pedals, automatic air-conditioning, an out-sliding powered sunroof, 60:40 split folding rear seats, cruise control and a six-CD changer, six speaker audio system that has a rather unique feature – the outer frame of the speaker grilles are lit by LEDS, which you can enable at the touch of a button. Speaking of frames, there are none for the door windows.

What else? Well, there are the paddle shifters, electric folding side view mirrors, USB and iPod connections, Bluetooth connectability, engine start/stop button and the usual Supervision cluster, in keeping with the Forte kit theme. Oh, and the car sits on 215/45 series tyres wrapped around a black/silver high-gloss 17-inch wheel.

Five external and two interior colour themes are available for the Koup, and these are Racing Red, Clear White, Ebony Black, which come with a two-tone red and black interior, as well as Sweet Orange and Santorini Blue, which come with a single-tone black interior.

Meanwhile, the Forte 6-Speed sedan jumps in looking to continue on the success of the earlier one, which was launched in November 2009. The enhanced Forte 6-Speed comes, as its name suggests, with a six-speed auto box with Shiftronic functionality as well as steering mounted paddle shifters, replacing the four-speeder of old.

Other new features include LED turn signals on the side mirrors, which are now electronically foldable, a new stylish grille design, a rear view camera and mobile phone Bluetooth functionality, operable through the steering controls.

There’s also mention about improvements in the NVH levels, through the addition of sound-deadening material, foam-pads and thinsulators in some areas (A/B/C pillar trim, firewall, trunk mat and cowl-top cover, among others)


The old four-speed shifter, and the one on the new six-speeder.

The six-speed transmission, integrated LED turn signals, new grille design are available on all three models, the 1.6 EX and SX as well as the 2.0 SX. As for the steering-mounted paddle shifters, rear view camera, electronically foldable mirrors and Bluetooth functionality, those are only be available in the 1.6 SX and 2.0 SX variants.

The 1.6 EX does get 16-inch alloys (with 205/55 profile rubbers), replacing the steel 15-inchers found on the previous incarnation. The SX models continue on with the same 17-inch, 215/45 wheel/tyre configuration.


Previous side mirror, and the new LED-equipped one.

Six colour choices are available, these being Clear White, Bright Silver, Titanium Silver, Metal Bronze, Spicy Red and Ebony Black. No changes to the interior trim, by the looks of it.

As for pricing, there’s an increase, but nothing radical given that you finally get a six-shooter – the OTR with insurance price of the 1.6 EX is RM78,800, while the 1.6 SX and 2.0 SX go for RM85,800 and 97,800 respectively.

Naza Kia Malaysia is targeting to sell between 800 and 900 units of the new Forte 6-Speed a month, and as for the Forte Koup, the company is hoping to move 30 units of the two-door vehicle per month.

Live photo gallery from the launch after the jump.

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