Interview: Travis Rice – 2011 Kia Forte Koup SX 2.4 MT

by Oct 10, 2013All News, Interviews, Kia0 comments

Here we go with another splendid interview with your favorites Korean cars that you always seen on your favorite social medias. This time we are interviewing a great friend that I had the pleasure to meet on last year Streetkiaz National meet. Lets get started and meet Travis Rice.

Glad to have you here with us Travis, tell our readers some history about yourself.

Oh where to begin. The basics are I was born and raised in San Diego California. I am a Cali / sunshine boy at heart. I need the sun. Currently I am 29 years old, and living in Portland Oregon mainly as an automotive photographer. Just a happy go lucky kind of guy. Alls well that ends well. Live Laugh love. 

Tell us some of the cars you owned?

The very first car I owned was a 2001 Kia Rio, then a 2007 Rio and a 2012 Rio, and now my 2011 Kia Forte Koup SX. There have been a few random transition cars in between, but they didn’t last long with me. 

Have you modified any of those cars, tell us a little bit about them?

Absolutely. Every single one of them. You can say I have the car modding bug as It’s known by fellow car enthusiast. There is so much to say about the different levels of modifying my cars have gone through. You could say I’m pretty indecisive. 

When was the first time you heard or seen the Korean brand?

In February of 2001. I met someone who was driving a 01 Rio. I got to drive it pretty often and being a senior in high school, It felt pretty cool to be behind the wheel. To be honest, I wasn’t really impressed when I first saw it. I had never heard of Kia prior to that. Why do you like Kia? Kia has never done me wrong. I’ve been a loyal customer for over 13 years now and I don’t have any negatives to say about the brand. My car has never left me stranded or in a situation where I was hating my car as a object and or a brand. 

What do you think about Hyundai Motors?

To say the least, I’m very impressed. I consider it a pretty big feat to be able to grow at the rate that Hyundai Motors has and the vehicles they are producing now in my opinion are tough competition. 


Tell us your current modifications on your Koup.

The list is short but sweet, so I’ll start where the modifications started. First up was a canned tuned sponsored by KHARtunerz and kdmtuning. Next, was a set of coilovers so I could get the right stance I wanted. I chose Megan EZ streets. I decided next I wanted a new set of headlights but I was not ready to put in the time needed for a proper projector retrofit so I purchased the common smithclub led, halo, hid projector set. Next was a turbokits CAI and after that was a nameless performance exhaust and shortly after, I added their highflow cat and crinkle red strut bars. The latest mod is my 18 inch Niche wheels. 18×8.5 front, 18×9.5 rears. There will be more to come but that is all for now. 

What do you love about your Koup?

Two main things I love about my Koup is the interior and the outside. Its a great package. It looks great, drives great and is comfortable to be in for long periods. My main draw to a car is the interior. That’s where you spend all your time so it counts in my book. The Koup interior although small, is tight around the driver and it fits me quite well. Everything is within perfect reach and not over down or trying to be to futuristic or what not. Its a simplified sporty and I love it. As far as the outside, what’s not to love about a car that turns heads on a daily basis? 

We are always astonished with every new picture you take in which we are force to publish them because of the great quality. Tell us your experience into photography.

Its been an experience for sure. I strongly believe I wouldn’t be in the position I am now as a photographer had it not been for my years with kia. I’ve owned a Kia since 2001 but have only been a photographer since 2009. It was a “chance” type of moment for the lack of a better word. I expressed my desire to be an automotive photographer to one of my close friends and she stepped away long enough to get a bag and when she returned, she handed me a nikon d40 and lenses and said go make magic. As if she put the brush in Picasso hand, she put me on the path I am on now and I couldn’t be more grateful for the gift she gave me. The gift of opportunity. I used to hear the saying “doors can be opened but you must walk through it”, and I never thought much of it until recently. Its so true. With all that said, I look forward to the future. My photos and skills and shooting styles are always changing. I think that is an important thing as a photographer. Never be afraid to do something different. Take risks. They say the best photographer is one who can repeat his or her mistakes. Ill let you think about that one. If one should be interested in seeing some of my work it can be found at or my facebook page All pictures that are posted in both locations can be bought in an arrangment of sizes and finishes. Anyone can email me at for pricing as they are not displayed on any of my sites.

Come talk to the man himself. 🙂 

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What is the future you can imagine for Kia?

Honestly Its extremely hard for me to imagine what Kia will be in the future. I guess when I think about it, I think of people getting what they want. Another opinion of mine is that Kia listens to the people. From start to finish, from concepts to production. Through out all the stages, Kia is always listening and improving on what the people want. I see an Audi like sport coming to Kia. Not just because of Peter the main man, but because its how I envision Kia. A very clean cut type of style with sport handling. 

What do you think of the concept models released by Kia and which one is your favorite?: They are interesting. That’s the only word I can think of. My favorite is the Niro concept I believe its called. Why? The interior. It goes back to my love for interior first and the rest second. I would love love love to see Kia implementing a more concept feel to their production interiors. That would be amazing. 

What is the future you see on your Koup?

I actually don’t know if I see a future for my Koup. I know there are a few other things I want, like the RRM lightened pulley, the obx header and some interior red accents. Other then that, Im pretty happy with it. I don’t see my Koup as something worth putting a ton of money and effort into. Basically why fix what’s not broke? Right? I may end up with another set of wheels by next summer but that’s it. By the end of next year I plan on having a new vehicle. I’m thinking Soul with imported SUV package from Europe. I would LOVE to have that. 

Are you in a Car Club?

More like car families. I know that may sound silly or even stupid to a lot of people but that’s what they are too me. I think anyone can be in a car group but when you come across that special group of people you always want to have their back, and what not, its just that. Its special. Its a family. So with that said, I’m in two right now. I started and will always be a StreetKiaz member since 2001. I remember when it was just a small nothing but it has grown into something that is just incredible. Its huge! My latest family though, I gotta shout out to is the KHARtunerz. You guys and gals know how to hold it down and keep the game on lock and they always got your back. Its a select group of members and its a great one at that. I feel pretty blessed for the lack of a better word to be affiliated with both. They helped shape who I am today. 

Thank you Travis for accepting this interview and always delighting us with your pictures. We leave you with this space just for you for any last words you will like to add.

A space dedicated just for me and I have no clue what to say. I’m much better at answering questions. Thank you “The Korean Car Blog”. Thank you for everything. Everything from sharing my work, to providing the community with up to date info and spy shots and everything Kia and Hyundai. I enjoy every bit of it. I’m happy to say I’ve been along side of Kia/Hyundai through their journey to the top and it’s far from over. I can’t wait.

And this will conclude another premium interview with your favorite Korean cars here at your favorite blog. I hope this intreview help you know more about the people behind the screen and with awesome cars and skills. 

As always we are looking for new people to feature for their hard work and dedication, so if you are one of them or know someone who is, make sure to send us an email or message us in our social media accounts. This a small spoiler but we will have a great interview coming up soon, so be sure to check the blog and our social media accounts for more details!

Written by Erick Uceda

Blogger, Photographer, Car Enthusiast, HanFest - KDM Car Show, Streetkiaz Texas Chapter Leader, Husband and Father. Some of the activities I enjoy doing everyday.


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