The 2009 Kia SOUL urban crossover made its world debut in 2008 at the Paris Auto Show. Sales will begin in early of 2009 and Kia hopes to sell around 136,000 examples annually. Customers will have to choose from 15 different versions and 11 exterior colors and four interior color-schemes, plus a wide range of option packs, optional extras and accessories.
The 4.1-metre long Kia Soul urban crossover has an unusually long (2550 mm) wheelbase, but the key dimensions behind the Soul’s striking appearance are vertical measurements. Overall height is 1610 mm, the base of the windscreen is 135 mm higher than a typical compact car, the ‘hip point’ is 120 mm higher and the ground clearance is raised by 45 mm to 165 mm.
The SOUL will be offered with a choice of 126 hp diesel and 126 hp gasoline engines. In Europe the most popular choice will be a 1.6-litre CRDi 16-valve diesel engine that delivers 126 hp and a peak torque of 255 NM. The gasoline one, a 1.6-litre Gamma, will deliver 126 hp at 6,300 rpm and 156 Nm of torque at 4,200 rpm. Standard transmission for Kia Soul will be an upgraded five-speed manual with improved shift quality and lower weight, the 1.6-litre diesel will be available with an automatic transmission as an extra-cost option.
Benefiting from a modest kerb weight, the Kia Soul accelerates briskly, delivering acceleration times (to 100 kph) from 10.4 to 11.3 seconds and going on to reach top speeds in excess of 175 kph (109 mph). Fuel consumption figures range over a 5.1 to 6.6 liters/100 km span, while CO2 figures vary between 137 and 159 g/km.
Full details after the jump.
The eagerly awaited World Premiere of the all-new Kia Soul urban crossover at the Paris International Motor Show on 2 October marks a revolutionary expansion of the Kia product line-up.
A bold statement of Kia’s determination as one of the world’s top automotive companies, Kia Soul is destined to appeal to a whole new group of European and global consumers. It will achieve thousands of ‘conquest’ sales for the Kia brand — appealing especially to the young and the young-at-heart.
“The innovative Kia Soul defies categorisation and encourages customers to build an emotional bond with this rebellious new car. Soul presents consumers with such a broad selection of styling, comfort and equipment choices, that it redefines the concept of freedom. It’s a brand new urban car packed full of liberating ideas — a car that challenges consumers to ‘free your mind’, a car that will encourage them to rethink everything they know about Kia,” enthuses Panu Vainamo, General Manager Marketing, Kia Motors Europe.
Kia Soul is a five-door hatchback with front-wheel drive, a high roofline and an unusually long wheelbase. Soul will offer cavernous passenger space that matches or even outperforms many vehicles with much larger exterior dimensions. Luggage capacity is also generous — 340 litres with the rear seats upright, the same as the Kia cee’d hatchback.
“Highly competitive levels of specification and state-of-the-art active and passive safety equipment will ensure that consumers convert their initial emotional attraction to Soul into a purchase decision without worrying that their heart might be unwisely overruling their head,” adds Vainamo.
When Soul goes on sale in Europe in late 2008/early 2009, customers will be able to choose from a line-up of up to 15* Soul cars, with five equipment levels, two engines (with manual or automatic transmissions), and a range of option packs — depending on individual markets.
Distinctive styling like no Kia before!
Kia Motors Corporation Chief Design Officer, Peter Schreyer, has overseen the transformation of Kia Soul from 2006 concept fantasy to its 2008 production reality. “The new Kia 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.
“Conceived in the USA, developed in Korea and fine-tuned in Europe, I strongly believe that the production Kia Soul urban crossover is a completely resolved design that has successfully achieved its own distinctive style.
“The visual themes and core proportions of the original Detroit Show concept car have been largely retained, while a range of subtle styling and innovative equipment choices have been skilfully created to enable Soul to be tailored to the specific requirements of consumers in different global markets — with cars sourced from a single factory,” adds Schreyer.
Embracing the ‘freedom’ to customise
Kia expects many Soul owners to embrace the ‘freedom’ of this latest model by ordering the top grade model and by specifying one of the many factory fitted ‘option packs’ exclusively available for this version — to fully immerse themselves in the spirit of their new car. As with other members of the Kia family, the Kia Soul will also be available with a range of dealer-fit customizing components to suit particular family and leisure activities.
Producing a new global model
Kia Motors Corporation is planning to manufacture up to 136,000 examples of the Kia Soul annually at its Gwangju facility in Korea. The plant has been extensively refurbished for its new role, enhancing vehicle quality and greatly increasing the flexibility of the production processes to accommodate the multiple derivatives that are core to the new Kia Soul philosophy.
Overall sales volumes are expected to be split 36,000 to the domestic Korean market, 50,000 units to North America, 30,000 to Europe and 20,000 to other ‘General’ markets worldwide. A dedicated version of Kia Soul for the Chinese market will be produced locally in China at the rate of 40,000 units annually, starting during 2009.
2. STYLING & STRUCTURE
Creating a car with ‘irresistible’ customer appeal
When the first SOUL concept car debuted at the 2006 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, it overturned conventions about what a compact urban car should be and how it should look.
“Reaction from the media and public to the Detroit showcar and to the three SOUL concept cars subsequently created in Europe and unveiled at the Geneva Show in March 2008, has been overwhelmingly positive,” comments Mr Hyoung-Keun Lee, Senior Executive Vice President and COO, International Business Division, Kia Motors Corporation.
“Acknowledging that reaction, our all-new Kia Soul urban crossover production model is closely related, both physically and emotionally, to those earlier concepts. Soul is poised to defy convention, rebuff categorisation and offer buyers a ‘world of possibilities’ for acquiring a car they can truly bond with — a car in which they can choose a specification that expresses their own individuality. This new Kia will reach out to new consumer groups and attract the young-at-heart to our brand — many of them for the first time,” added Mr Lee.
The 4.1-metre long Kia Soul urban crossover has an unusually long (2550 mm) wheelbase, but the key dimensions behind the Soul’s striking appearance are vertical measurements. Overall height is 1610 mm, the base of the windscreen is 135 mm higher than a typical compact car, the ‘hip point’ is 120 mm higher and the ground clearance is raised by 45 mm to 165 mm.
“Kia Soul is all about creating a car that demonstrates our passion for automotive design, gets Kia talked about and generates an irresistible customer appeal that will translate into strong sales,” explains Peter Schreyer.
“At the front, the Soul’s high bonnet and rounded forms imply power and strength, while the bulging wheel arches and wide track give the car a broad stance that heightens its sense of stability. Large head lamps and a chrome grille give Soul a ‘friendly face’ and the prominent centre bumper, often finished in a contrasting colour, shouts ‘tough-not-rough’ style. The A-pillars are masked with a high-gloss Black moulding for a wrap-around look that is crucial to the Soul’s appearance,” he adds.
“The profile makes Kia Soul truly distinctive. The boldly protruding wheel arch forms, joined by the body side crease, visually lower the car (as well as highlighting its broad stance when seen from other angles). While the windscreen angle is quite normal, the header rail above the screen marks the ‘high point’ of the car and the roofline slopes gently down to the tailgate. The A-, B- and C- pillars are all finished in black to form a uniquely shaped glass-house, and the door tops do not intrude into the roof panel. The beltline, which rises from the front wheel arch to create a gentle wedge shape, is continued under and around the third side window that relieves the bulk of the D-pillar. A decorative air-vent in each front wing butts to the beltline and intensifies the image of quality,” continues Schreyer.
“At the rear, the view is dominated by the vertical combination rear lamps set into a body colour panel and featuring clear outer lenses. The regular outline of the rectangular tailgate hints at the Soul’s interior practicality, while the Kia badge which doubles as the tailgate handle adds a touch of fun and class. The body side and wheel arch crease line extends around the bumper and, echoing the ‘tough-not-rough’ style of the frontal theme, the centre rear bumper is prominent and often finished in a contrasting colour,” concludes Schreyer.
All-new platform promises a flexible future
The five-door, Kia Soul is built on an all-new platform which is an unusually accommodating design, allowing for a wide variation of wheelbase, track and wheel/tyre size. Soul marks the first use of this platform which is scheduled to also appear, in slightly different forms, in future Kia models.
Beneath its uniquely stylish exterior, Kia’s new Soul benefits from a bodyshell that has been engineered to achieve high torsional (twisting) stiffness, which delivers a host of benefits in terms of handling, ride quality, durability, refinement and safety.
The all-new bodyshell that Kia has engineered for Soul uses a higher percentage of high tensile-strength steel (70.3%) for structurally critical components (to save weight and to increase torsional stiffness), while more than 72.6% of the bodyshell is made from anti-corrosion steel.
Finite element analysis was performed to conduct simulated crash testing and to arrive at the optimal structural design. As the bodyshell design was developed several areas were strengthened including the dashboard bulkhead joint with the A-pillar, three of the floor cross members, the roof joints with the A- and D-pillars, and the four pressings that form the corners of the tailgate opening.
As a result, Kia’s engineers created a final Soul bodyshell that surpasses its design goals in terms of resistance to both twisting forces (torsional rigidity — 36.5 Hz) and longitudinal bending forces (flexural rigidity — 54.2 Hz).
A stiff bodyshell is an excellent base for creating a ‘refined’ vehicle with minimal vibrations and low interior noise levels. Additional measures taken by Kia to ensure that Soul has good NVH qualities include fitting eight items to reduce engine noise when idling, nine items to mute road noise when driving over harsh surfaces, an optimised exhaust silencer, a vibration-damper on the (longer) right-hand drive shaft, improved door and window seals, a sound-proofed windscreen header-rail and increased use of floor-pan sound insulating pads.
3. INTERIOR & AUDIO SENSATIONS
Space to feel free, plus a sensational sound system
Kia Motors’ senior executives and its many dealers are confident that when customers first experience the new Kia Soul urban crossover they are going to be deeply impressed by its style, colours, execution, quality, materials, fit and finish. They are equally confident that the spacious cabin will be the brand’s most exciting demonstration (so far...) of its growing ‘power to surprise’.
“First impressions will make a big impact and there will be several unique aspects to the experience of sitting in the Soul,” enthuses Gregory Guillaume, Chief Designer, Kia Motors Europe. “The tall doors and high-mounted seats make for easy access, while the ‘laid back’ dashboard, triple dial instrument cluster and thick-rimmed steering wheel create an unusual combination of spaciousness for passengers and cosiness for the driver to generate a very special ambience inside this new Kia.”
“The Kia Soul will give consumers the freedom to enjoy multiple choices and enable them to create their own interiors, their own atmosphere and achieve a degree of personalisation that is not often possible in high-volume cars,” concludes Guillaume.
Cool styling, glowing fabrics and numerous choices
The rebellious, individual, urban and practical design themes that characterise the exterior of Kia Soul are replicated throughout the interior.
Breaking away from traditional design parameters, the Soul interior design is strongly influenced by the car’s highly specified audio system — more than any previous Kia. The audio-led ‘floating’ centre stack design is a key visual feature of the interior, designed so that it appears to ‘float’ beside the driver. A visual feature first introduced on the Kia cee’d, this stack is both extended and ‘laid back’ over the dashboard in Soul, featuring a large top-centre speaker on some models. The stack, which houses the audio system, heating and ventilation controls, and a lidded storage area, is flanked by two large adjustable air vents.
Echoing the shapes embodied in the centre stack, the air vents at the outer edges of the dashboard are also vertically stacked and ‘crowned’ by an audio speaker — in this case a pair of tweeters which are standard-fit on all models.
Even the storage areas play a part in delivering the ‘power to surprise’ — both the large glove box and the lidded box in the centre stack are lined in a contrasting colour.
Most Kia Soul models will feature a ‘Saturn Black’ interior, with Black (heat press knit) seat fabrics, in which the part-silver centre stack and the red-orange audio and instrument cluster lighting strike a pleasing variance. This interior trim will be available with the complete range of 11 exterior colours.
Soul buyers choosing the range-topping model can specify one of three alternative interior colour concepts. Firstly, ‘GRAPHITE,’ with the same Saturn Black interior, includes the addition of ‘Soul Glow’ luminescent seat fabric featuring the ‘SOUL’ logo in the fabric weave and a luminescent edge to the floor mats that glow in low light conditions.
Secondly, Soul buyers can choose the ‘RETRO CHIC’ concept with a Beige Special interior, retro-pattern ‘Hounds Tooth’ black and white seat fabric and a beige finish to the dashboard (excluding the centre stack), lower centre console, door trim panels and steering wheel centre boss. A selection of seven exterior colours will be offered with this retro style, including Green Tea Latte and Java Brown.
Lastly, the Soul can be ordered with the ‘STREET DEMON’ look. This Soul comes with a Red Special interior and Red-Black two-tone heat press knit seat fabric. The dashboard, lower console, door trims and the top half of the front and rear seats (including the head restraints), are finished in red. Street Demon can be ordered in one of six exterior colours, among them the all-new Soul-exclusive Tomato Red, Vanilla Shake and Black Soul.
Driver-focused cockpit and controls
The Kia Soul driver will enjoy the feeling of a ‘compact and sporty’ cockpit with its commanding view of the road, thick-rimmed, four-spoke steering wheel, sporty three-dial instrument cluster beneath a tightly curved cowling and bold centre stack design sweeping up and over the dashboard.
The instrument cluster features Kia’s new ‘three-cylinder-style’ family look, housing four gauges — rev-counter (with inset lighting-status advisors), large central speedometer (with lower turn indicator lights) and engine temperature / fuel status, plus a bank of warning lights on the right.
This new-style Kia cluster, which also appears on the 2009 Kia Magentis sedan being exhibited at the Paris Show, has red-orange negative LCD illumination for improved day and night visibility, with white figures and graphics against a black background. The result is a detailed, precise and clear ‘high-tech’ look.
All the controls are ergonomically designed to place them within easy reach of the driver’s hands and the overall layout has real elegance.
Innovative Audio with ‘Mood Lighting’ option
Every Kia Soul in Europe will be equipped with a factory-fit RDS radio/single CD player with MP3 compatibility, plus USB, AUX and iPod connections in the centre console (to enable Soul owners to play their favourite music through the car’s speaker system), and speed rated volume control, six audio speakers — one in each door and two tweeters — a 112 watts output, innovative PowerBass technology and a roof-top antenna.
The PowerBass system employs psychoacoustic audio technology to overcome the inherent challenges of an in-car sound system — small speakers, harsh environment and obstacles within the interior — and deliver concert hall quality sound with lively reproduction of bass tones.
Mid-range models feature steering wheel-mounted audio controls and top-of-the-range Soul buyers can specify the Upgraded Sound System complete with ‘Sound Sensitive Mood Lighting’ (SSML). This Upgraded system has a 315 watts output and adds a large diameter dash-top centre speaker, external amplifier and a sub-woofer mounted in the trunk for a total of eight speakers.
The SSML system features adjustable LED lighting rings around each front door speaker. The red-orange speaker LEDs can be set to react to music volume, pulsing in time with its rhythms.
A special SSML rotary control gives a choice of four settings:
1. ‘Static’ remaining ‘on’ whenever the audio system is being used
2. ‘Mood’ repeatedly dimming and brightening every two seconds .
3. ‘Club’ brightening and dimming in time with the music
In addition, the level of LED brightness can be adjusted separately.
Good access to cavernous cabin
As well as having the opportunity to style their own cabin, Soul drivers and passengers are going to marvel at the new Kia’s spacious interior. Thanks to the long wheelbase (2550 mm), generous width (1785 mm) and height (1610 mm) and raised hip-point (120 mm higher than most family cars), Soul can accommodate five large adults in genuine comfort.
The large front doors have two opening ‘detentes’ — including an intermediate step at 35 degrees — the last position being an extra-wide 66 degrees. With the rear doors opening to 34 and 71 degrees, good access to both the front and rear seats is guaranteed.
Adaptable trunk space and 14 storage zones
Kia Soul accommodates a total of up to 14 storage zones within its cavernous cabin. Up front, the dashboard features an unusually large two-tier 12-litre glovebox (with optional coloured lining) and the ‘laid-back’ centre stack has a lidded middle tray (also with optional coloured lining) and larger open circular top tray — when the optional centre audio speaker is not fitted here.
The centre floor console has three areas — for a mobile phone and small items, an extra large cup holder (alongside the handbrake), and a large rear open compartment that can fit a 1.5-litre bottle and miscellaneous smaller oddments.
Both front doors have a map pocket and 0.5-litre bottle holder. Both rear doors are fitted with a storage pocket. A front centre armrest, with internal storage, can be specified and for the driver a roof-mounted sunglasses holder is also available. In the trunk area, the side walls on both sides have a 1.5-litre alcove with retaining strips.
In addition to the 14 cabin storage areas, the Soul offers excellent luggage capacity for this size of vehicle — a total of 340 litres with the rear seats upright. This is sufficient space to store a golf bag (transversely) and two (492 x 462 x 330 mm) travel bags.
The 60/40 split rear seat backrest can be folded down without having to remove the head restraints and the resulting (almost flat) load area can accommodate a total of 570 litres of luggage (without obstructing the windows) or two 26-inch mountain bikes.
Every Kia Soul in Europe will have an immensely practical under-floor storage tray in the load area — a Kia feature much praised by Kia cee’d buyers.
4. EQUIPMENT & OPTIONS
Underlining the ‘Freedom’ theme with multiple choices
The new Kia Soul urban crossover range for Europe will present customers with a top quality, generously equipped entry-level car as standard, while also offering a wide selection of upgraded versions. Depending on the country, up to five derivatives will be available, each with a choice of diesel or gasoline power and manual or automatic transmission.
“We know that Soul is going to generate enormous interest in Kia and attract thousands of customers who will be new to our brand. To reward that interest, to cater for the broadest spread of owners’ needs and tastes, and to convert those prospects into sales, we are introducing a multiple Soul model range plus a variety of option packs and individual options,” explains Mr Panu Vainamo, General Manager Marketing, Kia Motors Europe.
“On sale in late 2008 or early 2009, a line-up of up to 15 Kia Souls* will be available in 11 exterior colours and four interior colour-schemes, plus a wide range of option packs, optional extras and accessories — so that each customer can create a ‘personalised’ vehicle to suit his or her specific requirements,” adds Vainamo.
Driven by its underlying theme of ‘Freedom’ the new Kia Soul urban crossover range greatly extends the multiple-choice equipment policy that Kia first introduced in Europe with the cee’d hatchback during 2007.
Standard equipment on the entry-level Kia Soul in Europe will include: 15-inch steel wheels with full-size plastic trim covers and 195/65 R15 tyres, black body side mouldings, black door mirror housings, central locking, electric front and rear windows, front, side and curtain airbags**, head restraints and three-point seat belts for all five occupants, remote release filler flap, rear screen wiper, an RDS radio/CD player with MP3/AUX/USB ports and six speaker, 112-watt audio system.
Depending on the country, the Kia Soul product range will include versions like the LX, EX and TX, each adding varying items of equipment. Additional items of standard equipment may include: manual air-conditioning, tinted glass with shaded windscreen band, special ‘Soul Glow’ seating fabric, steering wheel-mounted remote controls, 16-inch alloy wheels with 205/55 R16 tyres, electric heated door mirrors, 18-inch alloy wheels with 225/45 R18 tyres, privacy glass behind the B-pillar, leather wrapped steering wheel and gear selector.
Broad selection of Soul options
Kia expects many Soul owners will want to fully immerse themselves in the spirit of their new car, embracing the ‘Freedom’ of this latest model by ordering the top grade model and by specifying one of the many factory fitted ‘option packs’ exclusively available on this version. These packs will include items like: a rear spoiler, rear view camera, electro chromic mirror, upgraded sound system with adaptive speaker lights and 315 watts output, rear parking sensors, electric folding door mirrors and an electric tilt/slide sunroof.
Dealer fit customising components
As with other members of the Kia family, the Kia Soul will also be available with a range of dealer-fit customizing components to suit particular family and leisure activities, such as an aerodynamic roof-top luggage box, rear bicycle carrier, tow bar, trunk liner, mud flaps and roller-blind sunshades.
Choice of 126 ps* diesel and 126 ps gasoline powertrains
“Ownership of a Kia Soul urban crossover will be all about enjoying the freedom of city and open road driving and the freedom to express yourself,” enthuses Gregory Guillaume, Chief Designer, Kia Motors Europe. “Soul drivers will want to enjoy a particularly responsive and lively performance, so in Europe our spirited 1.6-litre diesel and gasoline engines will deliver an ideal combination of power and economy.”
Customers will be offered a choice of 126 ps diesel with DPF as standard (and a 115 ps ‘low-power’ version in some countries), or 126 ps gasoline engines, based closely on the refined and ultra-reliable 1.6-litre units first designed and produced by Kia’s engineers for the Kia cee’d model made in Slovakia. All three engines are Euro4 compliant for emissions.
The most popular engine choice for Soul buyers in Europe is expected to be Kia’s advanced and highly-responsive 1.6-litre CRDi 16-valve diesel engine. Designed and engineered at Kia’s ‘centre of diesel excellence’ at Russelsheim, Germany, this modern DOHC unit features an electrically actuated variable geometry turbocharger (VGT) to ensure lively performance and a diesel particulate filter (DPF) as an option to guarantee even cleaner emissions.
For fitment in Soul, its power output is 126 ps (93 kW), while its torque figure is a highly competitive 255 Nm. In addition, some markets will also offer Soul buyers a ‘low-power’ 115 ps (85 kW) version of this engine to meet local regulations and more advantageous taxation classifications.
Kia Soul customers will also be able to order their car with a highly competitive 1.6-litre Gamma gasoline engine equipped with performance-boosting electronic multi-point fuel injection and continuously variable valve timing (CVVT). This all aluminium 16-valve engine generates a maximum power output of 126 ps (93 kW) at 6,300 rpm and 156 Nm of torque at 4,200 rpm.
Benefiting from a modest kerb weight, the Kia Soul accelerates briskly, delivering acceleration times (to 100 kph) from 10.4 to 11.3 seconds and going on to reach top speeds in excess of 175 kph (109 mph). Fuel consumption figures range over a 5.1 to 6.6 litres/100 km span, while CO2 figures vary between 137 and 159 g/km.
Smooth-shifting with the optional Automatic
Although the standard transmission for Kia Soul will be an upgraded five-speed manual with improved shift quality and lower weight, the 1.6-litre diesel will be available with an automatic transmission as an extra-cost option.
The Soul automatic is a four-speed unit similar to those fitted in the Kia cee’d made in Zilina, Slovakia. This gearbox allows fully automatic operation, or manual selection of third and fourth gears (simply by moving the lever left-or-right in the selector gate) and first or second gear when terrain or conditions demand restricting driving to a low ratio.
The automatic transmission features an electronic controller, which monitors a range of parameters, ensuring safe gear changes with excellent shift quality, and also adapts the transmission’s characteristics to suit an individual’s driving style.
6. CHASSIS & RUNNING GEAR
New Soul: fun-to-drive and easy to park...
The long wheelbase (2550 mm) and wide track (1570/1575 mm front/rear) of the Kia Soul urban crossover have inherent benefits for the car’s ride and handling. New Soul is fitted with a fully independent front and twist-beam rear suspension system designed to deliver responsive handling and a supple ride. Kia will be producing the Soul with four suspension set-ups — standard for Korea, a choice of standard and Sport for USA and a unique set-up exclusively for Europe, with sports dampers, in two versions for the diesel and gasoline cars.
At the front, mounted on the same sub-frame that supports the engine and transmission, the MacPherson Struts have co-axial coil springs, offset for smooth operation, together with offset kingpin geometry and a 4 degree castor angle, designed to provide optimal handling stability and improved ride, while allowing the driver to steer and manoeuvre Soul with minimal effort.
The front suspension geometry ensures minimal camber and castor angle changes for good steering stability under all conditions, and the anti-roll bar is mounted directly onto the shock absorber to maximise its effectiveness.
At the rear, the Soul suspension is also sub-frame mounted and employs a transverse torsion beam axle with trailing arms, designed to deliver a smooth ride and to ensure the minimum intrusion into the trunk space. The coil springs and dampers are mounted separately to ensure smooth operation and minimal intrusion into the cabin/trunk space. In addition, ‘third generation’ hub bearings improve durability and urethane bump stops improve refinement. To optimise use of space, the rear anti-roll stabiliser bar is mounted inside the torsion beam.
Nitrogen gas-filled shock absorbers, tuned to best suit specific market requirements, are standard fit for both the front and rear suspension systems for optimal damping performance and body control.
Electric power steering saves fuel
Exclusively for European-spec cars — to save fuel and enable speed-sensitive control of the power steering — the Soul has Kia’s latest MDPS (motor driven power steering) system. With this new system, parking manoeuvres and town driving are easier, while high speed handling is more precise. The gearing ratio of the steering (14.1:1) remains the same for all wheel and tyre variants, and is fine-tuned to deliver good ‘feel’ to the driver under all driving conditions.
The power-assisted rack and pinion system requires just 2.7 turns of the steering wheel lock-to-lock. The Soul’s small turning circle — just 10.5 metres (kerb-to-kerb) — gives responsive, agile handling in city driving situations.
Kia’s MDPS system in the Soul gives a fuel saving of 3% compared to conventional hydraulic assistance.
Powerful stopping with four discs plus ABS
In Western Europe, all Kia Soul models will be equipped with a power-assisted all-disc braking system which makes maximum use of the space available within the standard 15-inch diameter steel wheels. Ventilated front discs (280 mm diameter) and solid rear discs (262 mm) deliver secure and stable braking performance together with consistent pedal feel. The ESP system is equipped with a hydraulic booster which provides emergency brake assistance (EBA) delivering maximum braking power when sensors detect that the driver is experiencing a panic situation.
A four-channel, four-sensor, ABS anti-lock braking system is fitted as standard. The system incorporates an electronic brake force distributor (EBD), helping to distribute braking force evenly between front and rear wheels. The EBD is able to adapt to individual wheel grip conditions, adding a further degree of control and stability. A single 10-inch booster supplies the braking power and the parking brake is a mechanical unit operating on both rear wheels.
The Soul’s braking system has been developed in Europe using test cars fitted with European-specification suspension, wheels and tyres. “Our Alpine testing programme enabled us to analyse the behavior of the Soul’s braking system under maximum stress and temperature,” comments Mr Thomas Gehrlich, Head of Evaluation & Testing, Kia Motors Europe. “Repetitive and severe braking confirmed the performance of the Soul’s braking system components to ensure they meet customers’ highest safety expectations and that the Soul delivers a safe drive in all conditions.”
Three-way choice of wheels and tyres
In Europe, new Kia Soul cars will come with a choice of three wheel and tyre combinations. Depending on the model variants chosen by each market, the base model will be fitted with 6.0-inch wide, 15-inch diameter steel wheels as standard, with full-size moulded plastic trims and 195/65 R15 tyres.
The mid-range variants will feature 6.5-inch wide, 16-inch alloy wheels with 205/55 R16 tyres, while range-topping versions will sport larger diameter 7.0-inch wide, 18-inch alloy wheels with 225/45 R18 tyres.
All Soul derivatives come with a steel space-saver spare wheel and temporary tyre — located in the trunk floor well.
ESP and six airbags fitted as standard boost Soul safety*
While developing the all-new Kia Soul urban crossover, company engineers worked hard to ensure that the latest Kia is one of the safest cars on the market. It will be available with the highest levels of active and passive safety, to fully satisfy the ever-increasing consumer expectations of modern car design.
Increased ‘Active’ safety includes ESP availability
Every model in the Soul line-up will be fully equipped to avoid potential accident situations and handle the hazards of everyday motoring.
ESP (Electronic Stability Program) is increasingly a ‘proven technology’ in accident avoidance and every Soul model supplied in Western Europe will feature this system as standard*. Buyers of all other Soul models in other European markets will be able to specify ESP as a factory-fitted option.
This system comes together with TCS (all-speed Traction Control System) and BAS (emergency Brake Assistance System). ESP is fully automatic and operates at all times, while offering a multitude of benefits. It counters excess oversteer and understeer, improving stability under heavy braking, restoring directional control during a potential skid, enhancing grip in wet and icy conditions, and ensuring superior traction during hard acceleration.
All Soul models will have a powerful braking system featuring ABS anti-lock with EBD electronic brake force distribution.
Additional ‘active safety’ options
The latest Kia will be available with several options which will boost active safety even further for Soul owners. A rear parking assist system, with four bumper-mounted sensors, enhances safety during low-speed parking manoeuvres by alerting the driver to an obstruction with an audible alarm while reversing.
Extra safety can be provided by a new Kia Reversing Camera mounted just below the hatchback’s handle. This camera is fitted with a 130 degree wide-angle lens and transmits images to a 3.5-inch LCD display panel set within the cabin’s auto-dimming rear view mirror. The system, which only operates when reverse gear is selected, enables the driver to check the rear view and the blind spot below the rear window simultaneously.
A TPMS (Tyre Pressure Monitoring System) will also be available. Air pressure sensors within each tyre transmit the tyre’s status every three minutes to the instrument cluster display — alerting the driver to ‘low pressure’ if any tyre suffers a pressure drop of more than 25 %.
Maximum ‘passive safety’ for maximum protection
If a collision is unavoidable, new Kia Soul urban crossover is engineered to safeguard the occupants with a range of passive safety measures as standard — starting with a robust all-steel bodyshell.
State-of-the-art computer-aided design was employed by Kia engineers, together with ‘closed loop’ engineering techniques, to create the Soul five-door bodyshell structure. Featuring high-strength steel in key areas, the bodyshell is designed to offer occupants good protection in front, side, rear and roll-over accidents.
Special strengthening measures adopted for the Soul’s structure include annular (ring shaped) B-pillar bracings, extended side sill reinforcements in 120kg high-tensile strength steel, dual floor cross members behind the B-pillar and stronger gussets in the B-pillar/roof joint zone.
Every Soul sold in Europe* will be equipped as standard with an integrated Safety Restraint System (SRS) consisting of dual front airbags, front side and full-length curtain airbags (to protect the occupants in both seat rows), height-adjustable front seatbelts with pretensioners and belt load-limiters, plus three 3-point seat belts for rear seat occupants. In addition, all Soul models can be ordered with optional ‘active’ front seat head restraints.
All the Soul safety systems work together to provide full passenger protection. If an impact is detected, a signal is relayed to all the airbags and to the seatbelt pretensioners, activating them if appropriate. The passenger side front airbag has an ‘off’ switch so it can be deactivated if small children in a safety-seat occupy that position in the car.
All Soul models will be fitted with two ISOFIX anchor points and Top Tether anchorages in the outside positions of the rear seat for the attachment of appropriate child safety seats and restraints.
Security and peace of mind
Vehicle security is important for personal safety and each new Soul will be comprehensively equipped to deter and resist thieves. Central locking is standard on all models, while keyless entry will be available on some derivatives.
Every Soul engine is fitted with an advanced electronic immobiliser that targets a top-level anti-theft protection rating. Every model has a ‘battery saver’ to prevent draining of the battery.
Crossover to Kia and ‘free your mind’ with the Soul
A striking Crossover Concept fantasy car now turned into a production reality, the all-new Kia Soul urban crossover is destined to attract thousands of new customers to Kia showrooms all across Europe and the USA. Starting in 2009, consumers who would not have entertained the idea of buying a Kia product will find the appeal of Soul hard to resist.
“The introduction of Soul will mark another milestone in Kia’s style and image revolution that will have significant and far reaching consequences,” explains Panu Vainamo, General Manager Marketing, Kia Motors Europe. “Soul will kick-start the second major change in perceptions of our brand in recent times and will have a ‘halo’ effect on sales. Last year, the first car we designed and manufactured in Europe, the Kia cee’d, brought about a qualitative revolution for our brand and started the process of changing the way Kia is viewed by Europeans.”
Buyers of the new Soul urban crossover will be offered the broadest-ever range of features available on any Kia model — extending the ‘maximum customer choice’ theme first established by the European-built cee’d family of five-door hatchback, wagon and pro_cee’d three-door coupe.
“Kia cee’d was designed very carefully to respond to individual customer’s personal tastes across the whole of Europe, and at Zilina we build vehicles to meet those specific requirements. Now, with Soul, we are demonstrating that we have our finger on the pulse of consumers and we are making a dynamic move forward to spread the appeal of our brand to a previously untapped group of consumers,” adds Vainamo.
Consumer clinics in Italy and Germany were shown the Kia Soul alongside new models from four other brands. Soul was rated highly for its overall styling and especially for its frontal appearance, and its exterior proportions were rated as ‘good to perfect’ by almost 60% of viewers.
Soul’s interior comfortably out-ranked all the other clinic cars, scoring particularly high marks for initial impressions, front row design, second row design, overall second row comfort and quality of trim materials. More than 68% of general participants liked the possibility of personalising the Soul, although the majority were more than happy with the car’s appearance in standard form.
The approval rating for the Soul’s personalisation possibilities rose to 89% when a younger group of prospects was surveyed. When all clinic visitors were asked if they would seriously consider buying a Soul, 58% said ‘yes’.
15 types of Soul will boost Kia sales in Europe
Kia Motors Corporation is planning to manufacture 136,000 Soul cars annually at its Gwangju plant in Korea. In Europe, although the locally-built Kia cee’d and Kia Sportage will remain the top-sellers for Kia in this marketplace, it is expected that demand for Soul will rise to more than 30,000 units annually. Sales will begin in early 2009 with up to 15 Soul derivatives available, depending on individual markets. Kia anticipates that the vast majority of Soul buyers will be in the 25-to-44 age range.
“I think the Soul really is a great car that makes a bold statement — a Kia that looks distinctive, feels special and is fun-to-drive,” continues Vainamo. “More and more consumers, once they have seen it, touched it and sampled its performance, will be convinced that choosing to buy a Kia Soul urban crossover is indeed the right decision.
“Soul will expand the appeal of the Kia brand into a whole new area of the automotive and lifestyle markets. This is a sensationally good looking car and one which will get both the press and public taking notice of Kia — proving once again that we really do have ‘The Power to Surprise,” concluded Vainamo.
Pricing in USA
Kia Motors America, Inc. (KMA) today announced pricing for the all-new highly anticipated Kia Soul will begin at $13,300¹. Even with the $695 freight charge included, Soul’s price tag of $13,995 is still under the $14K mark. And with all boxes checked on the highest trim level Soul sport, the vehicle will still come in below $20,000. Recently debuted at the 2008 Los Angeles Auto Show, Soul will join the C-segment as an early 2010 model year vehicle and allow buyers the chance to truly personalize their vehicle with more packaging and styling combinations than any previous Kia model.
The 2010 Soul will be available in four trims: Soul, Soul+, Soul! (exclaim) and Soul sport. Soul+, which includes standard keyless entry remote, solar glass and 16-inch alloy wheels, will start at $14,9501 and top out at $17,100 when options including the Audio Package and power moonroof are included. Enhancing to the Soul! will add the power moonroof, fog lights and 18-inch alloy wheels and will be priced beginning at $16,9501 and peak at $17,900 with all available options included. The Soul sport, designed for those with active lifestyles, will include side sills, a rear spoiler, 18-inch alloy wheels and unique front and rear fascias, and will start at $16,9501 and end at $18,600 with all available options included.