Kia has just unveiled the new Kia Soul Flex at the Brazilian Motor Show earlier today. The new car is the first Korean car to offer flexible fuel compatibility, and can run on any mixture of petrol and ethanol, or 100 percent of either ethanol or petrol.
It's not just a first for a Korean car, it can also be viewed as one of the first main stream production cars to be capable of running on 100 percent ethanol. Normally, and up until now, flexi-fuel cars have be only able to run on a maximum of 85 percent ethanol.
The main positive of being able to run on 100 percent ethanol is cost. The price of ethanol is considerably less than that of conventional petrol and in markets such as Brazil - where this car is targeted (the second largest ethanol producer/market in the world) - the Kia Soul Flex is sure to be a competitive option. Costs of ethanol are said to be 40 percent cheaper than that of petrol in Brazil.
Kia says the Soul Flex offers 94kW of power and 161Nm of torque, three more kilowatts and five more Newton metres than the standard Kia Soul, so there's been no compromises. Kia says it also offers a 44 percent improvement in fuel efficiency over the standard (petrol) Soul. Certain changes had to be made to the 1.6-lite engine though, it was given a higher compression ratio, revised fuel injection system as well as a different catalyst setup.
The car will go on sale in Brazil early next year and it will be subjected to two percent less tax than all conventional petrol models, as with other flexi fuel cars sold in the market. So it's cheaper again.