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This car will create a balegan in your household

  • Koup HOME
No respectable Jewish driveway should be without one, but, be warned, untold trouble will brew in the family. Why? Because there’ll always be more than one shouting “Shotgun!” for the privilege of using it! Jewish Report’s team test drove KIA’s new KOUP. It’s fast (very), seriously safe, an unbelievably fun-filled drive and it has every mod con. It does have its issues, though, so don’t let bobba go shopping in it! Why not? Read on to find out…
by ANT KATZ | Aug 17, 2014

I’ve started this review off with a peppy, company-made video to save me having to go through much of the essential jargon it covers in an audiovisual I could never match. Also, because from here on in, for those who haven’t read my vehicle reviews before, I always call a spade a spade, I never fail to point out what I don’t like and I refuse to be the manufacturer’s (or in this case, importers’) salesman. I include a feminine perspective, a younger perspective, and, if it's sporty (and this one really is), I get driven by a "Mystery Speedster" until the hair stands up on the back of my head and wish I hadn’t.

koup-ex-meanWhat follows, is what we all thought of KIA’s new KOUP which, we all thought, must be their boldest car to date.

It creates - defines, even - a category of its own (not falling into any conventional description) and is by far the most fun drive I have had in some long time. This not-so-pocket rocket is the car that dad will insist on using for work, golf and holidays.

Mom will want to us it for lift-schemes because of easy access and a massive boot, but will insist when she goes shopping because it’s so easy to park. The teens will fight to go out jolling in it.

It’s an almost-full-size car that looks tamer than it is. It sticks to the road, has three optional driving modes, is seriously accessorised and has every mod-con you could imagine. The sporty two-door Kia Turbo uses the same souped-up petrol 1.6 Turbo GDi as parent company Hyundai’s Veloster – our test vehicle was coupled to a six-gear manual gearbox – but there is also an auto option – and, although not low-priced by KIA standards, it has a great price tag if one takes into account all the full-spec features it offers.

 

Don’t test-drive if you’re not serious

The Cerato Koup from KIA boasts youthful exuberance with dynamic performance and a class-leading level of high-tech features? Don’t test-drive this baby if you are not a seriously interested potential buyer. Because you would be surprised how easily you could become one! If you do want a test drive, CLICK HERE and you’ll be behind the drivers’ seat before you can say “Bob’s your zaider!”

It is sleek and sporty, a remarkable performer that touches the core of individuality through its driver, which explains why it is not only the flagship model in the Cerato range but looks set to shake up the entire *coupé segment. Bold and athletic front styling cues create an aggressive, sporty stance, while the sleek and dynamic side and rear views embody a poised and powerful profile. The balance is the thrill.

koup-auto-manualBut, more important than its dynamic styling is the great drive. This car comes standard with all the bells and whistles of fast car and all the safety features to make sure that if you do overstep the boundaries, it will be able to keep you on the road.

 

Driving around the shtetl was no way to test this baby – nor are my rudimentary race-driving skills up to the task – so I enlisted the help of my Mystery Speedster (one who probably is known to 50 per cent of those reading this). He wanted to take it on a track. No way – too much red tape. So we did a twisting section of highway with me agreeing to pick up any speeding tickets.

 

The Mystery Speedster

The car is very fast, accelerates like a mamba and brakes just as well. Despite the fact that I was sweating from fear throughout, the racing-style seats kept me completely still. The speedster loved it! This car’s got to have 18-inch wheels he said as it stuck to the road around a tight bend. (I checked afterwards, they come standard with 18” alloy wheels with and 225/4OR18 tyres).

He found the drive exhilarating. “It would have been much more fun on the track,” he said. Fun? To me this was sheer terror. Any more fun and my heart would have stopped. “Hold tight,” he warned as he decided to stand on the brakes at 180. The car stopped quickly enough – but most staggering of all was that it never moved an inch left or right. I was amazed. The Speedster had only good things to say about this car – except that he found very little, if any change when engaging the three optional driving modes: Normal, Sport or Comfort.

He rated it high on road-holding and safety features. “Would you buy one?” I asked. No, he said emphatically, “my wife and I would argue about who would drive it.”

He liked the very smooth keyless entry and start/stop button, too, and, like everyone, couldn’t stop parking just to see the large, real-time wide-angle TV and the lasers beeping.

 

Afterwards I tried the optional driving modes in suburban driving, and I must admit that I didn’t notice any difference either. It is possible that we just expected more. When I switched to “Sport” I was half-expecting transformer-like action: the car dropping down, the seats readjusting and the engine’s purr turning to a roar at idle.

Even before they invented auto retracting side mirrors, I used to often do mine manually in parking lots to make sure I wasn’t going to be paying for a pricey replacement knocked off by another parker, a supermarket trolley or a kid on a skateboard.

I especially liked the KIA keyless entry and welcome home lights and mirrors. When you have the small tab (okay, call it a key) in your position, it senses your imminent arrival, opens the side-mirrors and puts on some discreet lighting to allow you to find the door handle. This car never, ever, sees its key!

While I loved the newly-styled bucket seats up front, and I loved the digital and electronic everything on the dashboard, I was disappointed to find the ashtray was the standard KIA design. Not that I smoke in a car, but I do always keep change on the ashtray for tipping and the KIA ashtray does have a way of causing a few cuts and blood-blisters before one learns to keep one’s wits about.

Younger driver

It nipped my "Younger Driver" twice in one day, in fact. When they heard I wanted them to spend a day with a two-door car, they said it was a waste of time for a family of four.

They were surprised when I ignored them and turned up with it anyway. Once I had seen and experienced the KOUP, I knew it could work for them and really wanted their opinion. Here were some of his family’s key observations:

They loved the ease of access to the back seats – insisting it was easier to get a baby-seat in and out than in their standard four-door. Sounded odd, but it was true. The interior is an almost full-size replica of the Cerato sedan and with a single long door and an auto slide-forward and down motion one gets in a two-door for rear access, it opens up a cavernous amount of space.

They also liked the Isofix child-seat anchors, the humongous 433 litre boot space which could fit their two prams and shopping (and that still has a 60/40 fold-down option to increase the space).

For them, the keyless entry meant being able to access a car while carrying a sleeping baby. To me, it is just the coolest feature because it is so cool. They were also very impressed with the safety-met of the six-airbag system that includes rear curtain airbags – which neither of their cars have and that would keep their kids safe in the event of an accident.

REVIEW CONTINUES BELOW PICTUREkoup-cushion full

Would he buy one, I asked the Younger Driver? Sure, he said, but it was a bit above his budget.

 

koup connectivityThe ladies

Why I like to get everyone’s opinion when reviewing a car is that everyone has different needs. All the ladies who had a go with the KOUP liked the accessories and the spaces to put accessories. Like What? Well, among other things:

  • Being able to charge any devices, any time;
  • Being able to connect their music and phones to the car’s superb sound system;
  • Having all those extra cup-holders and storage places for make-up, etc; and
  • The most amazing lighted vanity mirrors on both sides.

Now, would any of you fellas have come up with these advantages?

The negative two ladies expressed: the “cheap, plastic-looking” finishes. Indeed? Those, ladies, were carbon look - and-feel-alike finishes. Plastic-looking indeed!

 

For myself

koup-spaceI hate to get into my car after someone else has driven it and have to start readjusting everything they have handled. Maybe that’s why I get so grumpy about anyone driving my car.

This car, however, remembers me and all my settings. That I really like.

It is a very comfortable drive. The leather-covered steering wheel has both height and telescopic adjustments, the lights take corners with me, the dual zone aircon is something I have missed since I had one some years back. Somehow, I always seem to have a different aircon need to my passengers and we always need to compromise. Dual-zone aircon is standard on high-end models today – a league I do not fall into – but I found it a treat in the week I spent with the KOUP – all the more so because it was winter.

The TV that comes on every time one selects Reverse is way more than a toy. It is fun, I must admit, but it has to be one of the most amazing inventions to save one those little dings. It also saves one having to crook one’s neck from hither to thither and back. Just look forward and drive backwards.

 

Back to bobba and the shopping…

koup-ex-softOkay, so why my warning about not letting bobba go shopping in this car? This is a very well- designed two-door, five-seat vehicle. To make that work, the two doors are, of necessity, pretty long – allowing ease of access from the back without the person in front having to get out.

That means that one has to take this into account when parking in tight spots like at shopping centres. For the front passengers to get out there needs to be quite some space for that door to swing. And, seriously, bobba will always want to park as close to the entrance as possible. So even if she allows herself enough room to get out when she arrives, she may find on her return that the new car next to her didn’t realise she needed the extra room and she is going to have to squirm to get in or jump over from the other side!

And who do you think will never hear the end of it after that? The "brainless idiot" who bought this incredible two-door vehicle, that’s who. For the rest of her life you will be cursed. Of course the rest of the family will never be able to thank you enough – but you will probably be keeping this one for your own use and telling them to take the Lexus!


The stats on the car are impressive, but there is no point in my giving the whole gantseh megillah here. You can find them all on the KIA WEBSITE and you can click here for a TEST DRIVE, but remember my earlier caveat – don’t drive it for fun, you’ll risk owning it for that!


FYI - * This car was obviously named with the US market in mind, where the term coupé is pronounced “coup” - or, in this case, KOUP. Also, in the US the name Cerato is replaced by Forte.

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