Tuesday, 2 September 2008

New Car: 2009 KIA Soul (part 2)

Kia has released more information on the forthcoming Soul hatchback, including more official pictures and the engine line-up.

The Korean automaker describes its new model as an ‘urban crossover’ but leaving the marketing hype aside, the Soul is essentially a tall 5-door supermini/pseudo-4x4 that manages to stand out thanks to its contemporary design that takes styling cues from crossover models.

The Soul’s overall length is 4,105mm - 5mm shorter than the Nissan Qashqai with a 2,550mm wheelbase, while the overall height is 1,610mm. Kia says that the base of the windscreen is 135mm higher than a typical compact car while the ground clearance is raised by 45mm. Despite its compact dimensions, the Korean automaker says that the Soul will ‘accommodate five large adults in genuine comfort’ thanks to its generous headroom (1020/1005mm front/rear), legroom (1070/990mm front/rear) and shoulder room (1403/1400mm front/rear). This interior and exterior design is the key selling point for the Soul, which Kia hopes will attract a younger audience to the brand.

Gregory Guillaume, Chief Designer, Kia Motors Europe said, “Drivers and passengers will be treated to a very unique experience when sitting inside the Soul for the first time. The tall doors and high-mounted seats make for easy access, while the ‘laid-back’ dashboard design, triple dial instrument cluster and thick-rimmed steering wheel create a combination of spaciousness for passengers and tailored fit for the driver, generating a very special ambiance.”

Engine wise, the 2.0 litre petrol Beta engine will be the most powerful engine in the Soul. It will produce 142PS at 6,000rpm and 186Nm (137-lbs/ft) of torque at 4,600rpm. This engine can be mated with a 5-speed manual transmission or a 4-speed automatic. A smaller, 1.6 litre petrol engine generating 126PS at 6,300rpm and 156Nm (115-lbs/ft) of torque at 4,200rpm will be offered in most countries, while consumers in Europe and some other markets will also be able to order a 1.6 litre turbo-diesel engine delivering 126PS at 4,000rpm and 255Nm (188-lbs/ft) of torque at 2,000rpm. Kia notes that some markets will get a 115PS version of the diesel engine

The newcomer will debut on the 2nd October 2008 at the Paris motorshow. The Kia Soul's destined for the U.S, European and other markets will be manufactured at the Kia Gwangju facility in Korea starting in November 2008. The Soul will arrive in Spring 2009 with prices starting around £11,000 for the entry-level model.

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