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Kia models, news & reviews
By Ben Barry
16 October 2008 13:36
We got up close with the production Kia Soul a couple of weeks back at the 2008 Paris motor show, but today CAR has driven the Soul in Korea. It’s a B-segment offering from Kia, a model the Korean firm hope will help build on the Ceed’s success while attracting a younger audience. Think of it as our Mini or Fiat 500, say the Kia people.
Certainly does. Thank ex-Audi designer Peter Schreyer for that. The Soul’s bold creases, chunky wheelarches and slabby sides lend it a sense of solidity while the blacked-out A-pillars and wing vents add a mini-me Range Rover feel. It doesn’t just look sturdy, though; slam the doors and it sounds quality too, a chunky thunk emanating rather than the kind of tinniness you might expect from a Korean product.
It can’t quite live up to the quality promised by the exterior and it’s off the pace when compared with European competitors like the new Ford Fiesta, but it’s not bad. In fact, as a whole it looks pretty good: clearly laid out controls, durable feeling fabric on the comfy (though unsupportive) seats and a tough-looking honeycomb design that covers the dash. There’s even standard air-con and the option of an eight-speaker stereo (developed in-house) to please the funky urban types that Kia hope to attract – which sounds good.
But look at the parts that make up the whole and the façade falters – some of the lower plastics look cheap and scratch-prone while the door handles and electric window switches and surround look dated.
All top-spec models (possibly tagged Extreme and thought to account for around a fifth of sales) get a colour-coded dash with the upper sections of the front and rear seats coloured to match. It probably looks good on subtler hues, but our red test car was a tad too garish – a bit explosion in a Dulux factory for our tastes. There are other options too: leather might be offered, but is not yet confirmed, while a range of so-called ‘character’ cars will be run for limited amounts of time. ‘Some might be more chic, others bling, girly or outdoorsy,’ said a spokesman. Quite.Click 'Next' to read more of our Kia Soul first drive review
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Kia Soul 1.6 CRDi (2008) CAR review
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RE: Kia Soul 1.6 CRDi CAR review
Have just bought a Kia Soul and love it. Before i bought it i took it round to my daughters and can easily get her large mothercare pushchair in the boot. Have yet to try a suitcase. Can get two car seats and three adults in the car.
15 March 2009 23:50
As I have said before really like this car and it could well replace my Panda when it gives up. Must admit to being disappointed at the interior materials used though! Kia have done a superb job at moving up from the the 'cheap & cheerful' car maker category but unless they improve the interior quality do not belive the Soul will do them any favours and will certainly put off their new 'young' market target. clientele. Please Kia sort out the interior!
17 October 2008 12:58
The Soul has more than hint of a Daihatsu Sirion about it, not least from the rear.
17 October 2008 09:47
Greg218 - good spot! Funnily enough I heard from CAR staff writer Ben Pulman, who's on holiday in the US, on this very same topic. Pulman is our resident basketball player and was piqued that we'd got this wrong! We're corrected the story now and sent author Ben Barry to read up on American sports.
17 October 2008 09:42
The Soul can shake the old persons tag but the ceed is just another Corolla. Also, they need to focus on the interior, it is after all where most of our time is spent in cars. No brand kudos means you need to have a better ambience and quality than expected inside so people are constantly reminded how good their choice was. Style to bring 'em in quality to make 'em stay.
16 October 2008 22:58
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