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Mezzo Forte: 2012 Kia Forte Koup

Over the past few years, Kia has crept their way into the aftermarket conversation. With a reputation for competitive stock parts, the aftermarket community is now including Kia as a respected competitor alongside Honda, Toyota/Scion, Subaru and Mitsubishi.

With that said, we’ve seen the parts, but haven’t seen too many Kias at meets, shows and the track. Sometimes it takes a bit for a car to get over the proverbial tuner hump – whether it’s media exposure or someone ballsy enough to go at it without a concept reference.

We thought it was pertinent to display the possibilities of the 2012 Kia Forte Koup and the guys at Kia Canada agreed by providing this fine piece of machinery. You’ll remember the Forte was introduced in 2008, replacing the Cerato. What’s best about the Koup is that it was originally introduced as a concept car. It’s exciting to know we can take this build to the limit, with the second generation right around the corner.

Mezzo Forte: 2012 Kia Forte Koup

Mezzo Forte: 2012 Kia Forte Koup Mezzo Forte: 2012 Kia Forte Koup Mezzo Forte: 2012 Kia Forte Koup

First things first, this baby needed some speed and a horsepower boost - the guys at International Automotive and Custom (IAC) came to mind. What transpired was a full exhaust overhaul, replacing the stock exhaust with a Gibson dual-top cat-back system for that sexy purr we all try to obtain. To maximize every bit of horsepower, TurboKits supplied a new air intake and DeatschWerks fuel injectors for more boost. We decided to keep the exhaust to a simple bolt-on install, just to keep the engine under warranty. We also left the engine internals alone, which any intelligent tuner knows isn’t always the best idea to mess with. IAC topped off the engine bay by fitting a carbon-fibre Seibon hood, while Lucas Oil supplied all the fluids.

Next up was a suspension upgrade and some new shoes, installed by Johnston Research and Performance (JRP). Despite the Koup having a well-tuned suspension already, a new HSD Coilover setup provides better cornering and handling, while giving the impression that the car was lowered. To accent the new, lowered-like appearance, Konig Backbone rims in a matte black, Sailun Strezzo 225/40 ZR18 tires and McGard wheel locks completed the wheel install. The finishing touch on the exterior was a Korean-inspired wrap job by the guys at The design was custom created by their team of professionals.

Mezzo Forte: 2012 Kia Forte Koup Mezzo Forte: 2012 Kia Forte Koup

In the trunk, the guys from Gemsen provided a full Kicker audio system, with 20 Hertz providing some flare for the custom install. Sound deadening material was used in the trunk and doors to alleviate any unwanted vibrations. The install included 2 subs, an amp, and a full set of internal component speakers, all powered by a new Kinetik battery. Once the Kickers were snug and tested, we knew this car had come a long way – we’d be lying if we said we weren’t jealous of its future owner.

Dubbed, ‘Project Forte,’ this install is in the books. If you take anything away from this feature, it’s that there are endless possibilities for Kia’s line-up.  The North American versions of the Koup are packed with internal options and, with some relatively easy exterior modifications, you’ll be getting the looks on the street this car deserves.

Mezzo Forte: 2012 Kia Forte Koup


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