The new Kia Soul – an avant garde five-seat, five-door car – marks a new direction for Korea’s oldest auto company.
“It’s the first of a new generation of vehicles that clearly identifies the route that Kia Motors will be taking in the future, as a creator of distinctive cars that consumers aspire to own,” says Todd McDonald, General Manager of Kia Motors New Zealand Ltd.
Kia is re-inventing itself as a fun, youthful and bold brand, and the Soul is very much an embodiment of that new thinking.
“It’s different – a breakthrough design – and we believe it is going to inject some real pizzazz into the marketplace at a time when we could really do with some cheering up,” says McDonald.
With a hint of SUV, a touch of hatchback and a dash of wagon, the Soul has been described as an “urban crossover” – practical, economical, compact and the right size for city life.
Owners can even personalise their Kia Soul through a range of options and packs, including interior mood lighting that flashes to the pulse of the multi-media entertainment centre, eye shadows for the front lights, designer body decals and more.
With a 4104mm overall length and a long wheelbase of 2550mm, the Soul offers masses of passenger space and the luggage capacity of a small wagon.
The Soul will be available in three distinctly different models; the Soul entry level model, priced from $29,990; the mid-range Soul Plus, priced from $33,990 and the eye-catching Soul Burner (pictured) priced from $39,990. They all have the same body shape.
There are two engine options available, with the entry-level Soul gaining the 1.6-litre Gamma Euro 4, CVVT petrol engine, along with a 5-speed manual transmission as standard. The two other Soul models both feature a second generation CRDi diesel engine, which is matched to a 4-stage intelligent adaptive technology automatic transmission as standard.
The 16-valve DOHC CRDi engine is fitted with an electronically actuated variable geometry turbocharger that Kia says delivers an 11% increase in power, now up to 94kW @ 4000rpm and a 3% increase in torque, rising to 260Nm between 1900-2700rpm.
The Soul CRDi automatic returns a frugal 5.9L/100km combined fuel economy and low 156g/m CO2 emission levels, thanks in part to the particulate filter, which is standard equipment on the diesel models.
Safety in the new Soul means electronic stability programme (ESP) and six airbags (including side curtain and front side airbags) standard on every model. The car meets the 5-star Euro NCAP safety standard.
The Soul Burner features a rear-facing camera image displayed in the rear-view mirror when reverse is selected – other models have rear parking assist.
Inside the cabin, Soul comes with a choice of fabrics (including the Soul Glow luminescent cloth – edges glow in the dark!) and colour schemes.
The Soul’s ‘floating’ centre stack is designed around the multi-media entertainment system. All Soul models come with a CD player/radio, with MP3 compatibility, plus USB, AUX and iPOD connections, speed-rated volume control and Power Base technology. The Soul Burner system has the uprated 315W 8-speaker system incorporating a large diameter dash-top centre speaker, external amplifier and sub-woofer. All models have manual audio controls integrated into the steering wheel.
Sound Sensitive Mood Lighting (SSML) is standard with the Soul Burner, with adjustable LED lighting rings around the speakers in the doors. The red-orange speaker LEDs can be set to react to music volume, pulsing in time with its rhythms.
There are 14 individual storage zones around the cabin, including a hidden tray under the rear luggage floor in the Soul Plus and Soul Burner, featuring separate compartments.
Kia Motors NZ says the first shipments have already sold out and orders are now starting to be placed on subsequent Soul arrivals. Better join the queue.
Read our review of the Kia Soul here.
Check out the Kia Soul for sale on Auto Trader here.