Kia Motors unveiled the all-new Kia Soul at the 2008 Paris Mondial de l'Automobile pointing clearly at a design-led future for the brand.
The segment-busting Kia Soul defies classification and traditional appeal providing a stylish yet flexible alternative for urban motorists who want the opportunity to go against traditional trends at a time when global economic doom-mongers are urging consolidation and conservatism.
Conceived in the United States but developed in Korea and Europe under the leadership of Chief Design Officer Peter Schreyer the compact but capacious Kia Soul will arrive in the UK next Spring and is set to offer hard-pressed motorists with a reason to be optimistic.
Building on Kia's traditional virtues of quality and value the Kia Soul will appeal to anyone with a more rebellious nature who is determined to stand out from the crowd but also wants to watch the domestic budget. Kia Soul has the aggressive and stylish appearance of a much larger 4x4-type vehicle but its 1.6-litre petrol and diesel engine options, developed from the units available in Kia's cee'd family, will deliver excellent fuel economy and low running-costs.
Paul Philpott, Managing Director of Kia Motors (UK) Limited said: "Everyone knows that economic times are hard but Kia Soul is the perfect response for those who want to lift their spirits - it's blend of innovative packaging and individuality will not come at premium prices.
"Soul will come with an excellent comfort and convenience equipment list plus the opportunity for personalization in a variety of ways - but I am determined it's list price will be realistic at a time when every household budget is looking to cut back on frivolities and fantasy.
"And Soul shows clearly the way we intend to move forward - with outstanding design and eye-catching appeal coupled with excellent quality and reliability. This car really does mark the start of a new chapter in Kia's remarkable story," he added.
Kia Soul customers in Europe will be offered a choice of 126 ps diesel or 126 ps petrol engines, based closely on the 1.6-litre units produced for the successful Kia cee'd model made in Slovakia.
Kia Soul acceleration times to 62mph range from 10.4 to 11.3 seconds and fuel consumption spreads over a 5.1 to 6.6 litres/100 km span, while CO2 figures vary between 137 and 159 g/km for European models.
Kia Soul cars supplied to the majority of countries in Western Europe and all of North America will be fitted with six airbags, four disc brakes and ESP (Electronic Stability Programme) as standard.
Every Kia Soul in Europe will be equipped with a factory-fit RDS radio/CD player with MP3 compatibility, plus six audio speakers, a 112 watts output, innovative PowerBass technology and a roof-top antenna. An upgraded sound system - complete with 'Sound Sensitive Mood Lighting', a 315 watts output, a large dash-top centre speaker, external amplifier and a sub-woofer in the trunk for a total of eight speakers - can be specified.
Source: Kia press