Details of the new additions to Kia Australia’s showroom in 2014.
Kia Soul (February)
The second-generation Kia Soul retains the funky, youthful styling of the original yet promises a more mature, rounded package when it launches in February. Slightly longer and wider than its predecessor, the new Soul sits on a new platform based on that of the Cee’d small car, and claims a stiffer body shell and revised suspension for improved ride and handling, and an overhauled cabin with increased cabin and cargo space and better soundproofing. Kia will offer the Soul with a 103kW/167Nm 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, while a 1.6-litre diesel is also expected to join the local line-up. Specifications will be confirmed at launch, though features available overseas include LED daytime running lights, xenon headlights, keyless entry with push-button start, climate control, leather upholstery, heated and ventilated seats, panoramic sunroof, eight-inch touchscreen with internet-linked apps, and three-mode FlexSteer steering system.
Kia Proceed GT (March)
Australia will become the first market outside Europe to launch Kia’s first ever hot-hatch, the all-new Proceed GT, when it lands on our shores in March. Designed and engineered in Europe and built in Slovakia, the three-door Proceed GT will join the Veloster SR Turbo from sister company Hyundai as a circa-$35K rival to the likes of the Volkswagen Golf GTI and Ford Focus ST. It shares its turbocharged 150kW/265Nm 1.6-litre engine with the sporty Veloster, accelerating from 0-100km/h in 7.7 seconds when teamed with a six-speed manual. Kia Australia is developing a unique suspension tune for the Proceed GT said to be optimised for local road conditions. Distinguishing the GT from the standard Proceed (a compact hatchback sold in Europe but overlooked our market) are new front intakes, four-point LED daytime running lights, 18-inch alloy wheels, red brake calipers, and dual exhaust outlets, as well as Recaro sports seats, alloy pedals and a seven-inch “racecar-inspired” central display.
Australia’s top-selling people-mover for the past seven years, the Kia Grand Carnival, will look to extend its dominance when the all-new model arrives at the end of 2014. The third-generation Grand Carnival isn’t expected to break cover officially until April’s New York motor show, though our spy photographers have already given us a good look at what to expect from the new eight-seater. The new model gets a shorter front overhang and a fresh face with sleeker horizontal headlights and a broad grille with thin slats, while the bonnet is flatter and the windscreen more heavily raked – like the Kia KV7 concept – creating a more car-like appearance. Horizontal tail-lights appear to span the rear quarter panels and tailgate, seemingly drawing inspiration from the smaller Rondo MPV. One of the spied prototypes was equipped with a 2.2-litre engine and an automatic transmission, suggesting the four-cylinder R-Line diesel engine will carry over from the current second-gen model. The new model will also feature safer lap-sash belts in all seating positions as Kia targets the maximum five-star crash test rating.