Kia is to work with renowned chassis experts Lotus on all future models to improve ride and handling. The new Soul will be first to receive the fettling from the experts in Hethel.
The new strategy will ensure that future models will get a suspension set-up geared specifically for UK roads. The Soul will have higher compression and rebound rates, plus adapted bump stops to prevent the car bottoming out on the large potholes that cash-strapped local councils are so reluctant to fix.
Kia-Lotus: the technical partnership
A Kia spokesman told CAR that all future Kia cars due for release in Britain will benefit from Lotus treatment. 'The changes are designed to stop harshness getting into the cabin, while giving improved steering feel on high frequency undulations. They also give the car more poise, and prevent the car using the whole suspension range over bumps.'
We recently tested the Soul in Korea, and road tester Ben Barry liked what he drove, albeit with reservations over the chassis settings. The news that Lotus is now involved could answer those criticisms of the steering and suspension.
Kia: the bigger picture
The Korean car maker has made huge strides in recent years with quality, engineering and – more recently with cars like the Ceed hatchback – design. If they can now inject some handling and ride pizazz to rival the best Europeans, they could be onto a good thing...