The Kia Soul goes on sale from today and with a starting price of just $20,990 it’s bound to strike the right cord with both young and not-so-young buyers.
The Soul rises through three grades to a top of the range price of $30,890 for the Soul 3. A package that includes a reversing camera, coolly displayed in the rear-view mirror, and a sunroof, costs an additional $2000.
The reversing camera is an Australian first in that it displays in the rear-vision mirror when reverse gear is engaged.
Soul presents consumers with such a broad selection of styling, comfort and equipment choices, that it redefines the concept of freedom and individuality and creates a new category for the young and young-at-heart.
The all-new Soul closely follows the concept first shown to the world in 2006. Kia Motors Corporation’s chief design officer, Peter Schreyer, has overseen the evolution of Kia Soul from 2006 concept fantasy to its 2009 production reality.
“Conceived in the US, developed in Korea and fine-tuned in Europe, the Soul will be a breakthrough vehicle for Kia on its journey to be seen as a design-led company and the maker of distinctive cars which consumers aspire to own,” Mr. Schreyer has said about the Soul.
“Kia Soul is all about creating a car that demonstrates our passion for automotive design, gets Kia talked about the media and the public, and generates an irresistible customer appeal.”
As Kia says the Soul is a brand new urban car packed full of liberating ideas – a car that challenges consumers to ‘free their minds’, to build an emotional bond with their new car and to rethink everything they know about Kia.
Soul is available with Kia's refined and ultra-reliable 91kW 1.6-litre petrol and 94kW turbo diesel engines. Both deliver excellent driveability and efficiency, and both are Euro-4 compliant.
The 1.6-litre U2-series CRDi engine was designed and engineered at Kia's 'centre of diesel excellence' in Russelsheim, just outside Frankfurt.
With 260Nm of torque peaking at just 1900rpm and peak power of 94kW at 4000rpm, the CRDi engine ensures excellent flexibility and open-road performance.
Under the official ADR81/02 combined consumption test, the Soul diesel can achieve up to 5.2 litres per 100kms (manual transmission) and 5.9L/100kms (automatic).
The new all-aluminium 1.6-litre Gamma series petrol engine, seen here in Australia for the first time, develops 91kW at 6300rpm, with a healthy 156 Nm of torque at 4200rpm.
The standard gearbox in Soul is a five-speed manual based on that used in the ground-breaking Kia cee'd but with revised ratios for the 1.6-litre petrol model.
The optional four-speed automatic gearbox is an 'intelligent' system governed by an electronic controller which monitors several parameters to ensure smooth shifting at all times, taking into account individual driving styles and adapting as it ‘learns’.
As Kia somewhat reasonably claims, lots of cars aspire to be 'fashionable' and 'different' with their exterior styling, but fail to carry that through to the interior – the area where owners actually spend time.
Kia has not fallen into the same trap with Soul, and from the colour schemes and trim a choice to the personalisation options, audio systems – and even safety features – Soul ensures that what is promised on the outside is delivered inside.
Owners can virtually create their own unique Soul through the accessories that are available either as factory-fit options or though the Kia dealer network.
Soul - petrol 0nly- $20,990 (manual); $22,990 (automatic)
Soul2 -$23,190 (petrol/manual); $25,190 (petrol/auto); $26,690 (diesel/manual); $28,690 (diesel/auto)
Soul3 - $27,390 (petrol/auto); $30,890 (diesel/auto)
CarAdvice is currently covering the launch of the Kia Soul and our First Steer impressions of the car on the road will be on the site tomorrow.