Kia has an image problem. Well, not really. The South Korean automaker is often found in the shadow of Hyundai, the automotive giant which owns a significant chunk of the company. Kia is actually part of the Hyundai Kia Automotive Group, which is based in Seoul and the two automakers share several platforms for various models.
In North America, we’re familiar with the many different economically priced models including the Sorento, Optima, Rio, and Spectra, to name a few. Kia is also big on building concept cars, including the KOUP which made its debut at the 2008 New York International Auto Show.
The KOUP is an attractive sport coupe, reminding me of the Nissan SX cars and including expressive lines you see on today’s iteration of the muscle car. Clearly, if the KOUP comes out as shown (please, toss the name!) it could be a landmark model for Kia.
A 2.0-liter Theta II turbocharged engine producing 290 horsepower paired with a GDI (Gasoline Direct Injection) twin scroll turbocharger designed to deliver superior power and fuel efficiency. By means of injecting fuel directly into the cylinder under high pressure using the Kia GDI system, the intake charge is cooled and combustion behavior is improved. Improved combustion assures excellent fuel economy and low emissions. Lower grille openings enable additional air intake for extra power. Kia claims that the KOUP delivers torque of 289 lb-ft at a low 2,000 rpm sustained to 4,000 rpm.
Kia says this about the the car: utilizing a FWD unibody frame, coil springs and stabilizer bars complement an independent front suspension featuring MacPherson struts and an independent dual link rear suspension to provide the optimal balance of ride comfort and engine responsiveness. An engine-speed-sensitive, power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering system adds the finishing touch for precise handling. Continuous Damping Control (CDC) for quick movements and sharp turns paired with a sport-tuned, four-wheel independent suspension and strut tower bar offer a tighter grip for more spirited driving.
Will the KOUP go into production? Time will tell, but if the car is produced it could significantly improve Kia’s budget image.
(Source: Kia Motors)