2013 Scion tC vs. 2013 Kia Forte Koup

By Teddy Field

Career and the opposite sex. Those are the two primary things on the mind of a man in his 20’s. He wants the most out of life, and he wants a car that can keep up with him. For that reason, sports coupes have always been popular with this demographic. They look good and they’re fun to drive. But they’re also practical and economical. So if you were 20-something, and had 20-something grand to spend, what might you buy? Let’s find out.

2013 Scion tC

Rarely takes risks with their car designs. Stodgy and boring are two descriptors that come to mind. But Toyota’s image in this country is one of stability and security. You don’t buy a Yoda for style, or excitement. You buy one for dependability and refinement. Enter the Scion brand.

2013 Scion tC

To appeal to a younger audience, Scion cars are meant to be a blank canvas. A platform from which today’s young person can express themselves. Wheels, exhaust, big speakers, whatever part you think will make your 2013 Scion tC more ‘you’, can be found in the Scion dealer’s accessory catalog. TRD (Toyota Racing Development) also makes a line of performance parts for the tC (superchargers, coilovers etc.). Or, you can pick from countless aftermarket parts. But either way, Scion’s are more or less the tattooed hipsters of the Toyota family.

In stock form, the 2013 Scion tC is still an impressive car. A full glass roof comes standard, along with sexy 18-inch wheels, projector headlights, a Pioneer audio system with Blueteeth/USB/iPod, and a 180-hp 2.5L 4-burner (lifted from the Camry). Buyers can choose a 6-speed automatic, or a slick 6-sp manual. And the beefy front & rear stabilizer bars will keep the whole package glued to the road (without shattering your spine).

2013 Scion tC
On the road, the sport seats, thick-rimmed steering wheel, and aggressive suspension tune do a good job of conveying a sense of sportiness to the driver. The smooth Camry engine is a willing participant to back road shenanigans. However, the numb electric power steering will leave most enthusiastic drivers wanting more.

2013 Kia Forte Koup

The 2013 Kia Forte Koup doesn’t come with a glass roof, or a factory-designed supercharger, it’s still impressive. The grippy suspension on the 2013 Kia Forte Koup SX holds the road like a cat on a rug. Also available with a 6-speed manual or automatic (the sport flavored SX gets paddle shifters), the Korean sport coupe…excuse me; Koup, nearly matches the Yoda young-mobile on paper. The 2.4L direct injected-4 in the SX makes 173-hp (just 7-hp less than the 2013 Scion tC), and it gets 31 mpg on the highway (32 mpg with the manual), which is identical to the tC. Where things change is on the price point. The Toyota coupe starts around $20k, where a similarly equipped 2013 Kia Forte Koup SX starts at $18,800 and usually tops out at around $21k. A cheaper version is also available for those who require a bit less performance.

2013 Kia Forte Koup

A manual-equipped starting price of around $17,400, the 2013 Kia Forte Koup EX gets a 156-hp 2.0 4-pot, and a host of standard features like power folding side mirrors, Bluetooth audio, and speaker lights that can pulse to the beat of the music. While it’s not quite as athletic as the SX, the 2013 Kia Forte Koup EX would make an ideal first car for a teenager.

2013 Kia Forte Koup

Schreyer pened a sexy sport coupe, and Kia engineers made it drive as good as it looks. Who would’ve thought that was possible?

<strong>Car Comparison: 2013 Scion tC vs. 2013 Kia Forte Koup</strong>

SPECIFICATION2013 Scion tC2013 Kia Forte Koup
Fuel Economy23/31/26 2.5L / MT24/33/28 2.0L / MT
23/31/26 2.5L / AT25/34/29 2.0L / AT
 22/32/26 2.4L / MT
  23/31/26 2.4L / AT
Suburban Snob Factor8 / 10 Camrys8 / 10 Camrys
NHTSA RankingTop Safety Pick = YTop Safety Pick = N/A

(Note: All vehicles provided by manufacturers for comparison test purposes. Photos provided by Kia and Scion.)