GoAutoLogo
MENU

Car reviews - Kia - Soul - 5-dr hatch range

Launch Story

Kia logo3 Apr 2009

By CHRIS HARRIS

KIA hopes its new small car, the Soul – launched in Australia this week – will do much more than slightly boost Kia’s share of the small-car class.

Kia says it expects to sell only 400 of the five-seat five-door hatchbacks through its 108 dealers this year, at an annualised sales rate of around 534 cars – barely a drop in the small-car ocean.

More important than numbers, says Kia, is the Soul’s contribution to brand-building, as its ambassador among young people for whom Kia is just not on the radar.

Kia dealers have been sent point-of-sale material to create a ‘Soul zone’ in their showrooms, giving the Soul its own space.

The Korean company has also targeted its potential sales audience with a Soul microsite and by sponsoring Network 10’s music show, Live At The Chapel.

Kia sees the Suzuki SX4 as the most logical competitor in Australia (but Kia product manager Nick Reid notes that the Nissan Cube and Scion XB are natural global competitors) but also draws comparisons with the Fiat 500 and Mini in terms of their similar ability to be easily customised at factory or dealer level.

The Soul arrives in one five-door body style in three trim levels called Soul, Soul Squared and Soul Cubed and with two engine options, a 1.6-litre petrol unit available across the range and a 1.6-litre turbo-diesel available in the two upper spec models. Automatic transmission is an option for both petrol and diesel Soul Squared and standard for Soul Cubed petrol and diesel

The Soul is 4.1-metres long, has a 2.55-metre wheelbase and is 1.6 metres tall, which puts it within millimetres of Suzuki’s AWD version of the SX4. While the SX4 is an obvious competitor, from that point the small-car comparisons fragment, although Kia likes to consider the Nissan Dualis as a point of reference for the Soul’s similar (but ultimately, not as large) interior.

While the Soul is strictly a catholic small car in its mechanical layout - transverse, front wheel -drive with conventional five-speed manual or four-speed auto transaxle - its tall stance gives it a 4WD/MPV look and a usefully higher hip point than most other small hatches.

The Soul’s standard engine is Kia’s new alloy 1.6-litre petrol Gamma series, which develops 91kW of power at 6300rpm, and 156 Nm of torque at 4200rpm. The Gamma 1.6 features twin overhead camshafts, 16 valves and CVVT. CO2 emissions are quoted as 154g/km and combined fuel consumption is 6.5L/100km (manual) running on standard unleaded. Fuel tank capacity is 48 litres across the range.

The turbo-diesel is a double overhead cam common-rail design with a variable geometry turbocharger and an intercooler. It develops 94kW of power at 4000rpm and 260 Nm of torque at 1900 rpm. The combined fuel consumption figure is 5.2L/100km (manual) and 5.9L/100km (automatic). The diesel’s emissions are 137g/km (manual) and 155g/km (four-speed automatic).

The Soul petrol manual has been given a five-star rating in the Green Vehicle Guide. Although the diesel models consume less fuel and emit less CO2, they have higher particulate and NOx emissions, resulting in only a 3.5-star rating.

The Soul uses the five-speed manual fitted to the Kia Cee'd but with different ratios. The Soul version is lighter, with less friction and improved bearings. Kia says the gearbox also features double-cone and triple-cone synchronisers as well as a concentric slave cylinder for improved clutch pedal response and better shifting efficiency and smoothness.

The diesel has different final drive ratio and gear ratios (except second gear) to the petrol gearbox.

The front suspension is MacPherson strut, and at the rear there’s a conventional torsion-beam axle with trailing arms, suspended by coil springs. Anti-roll bars are fitted front and rear.

Both front and rear suspension are mounted on subframes with isolating bushes that Kia says is to curb noise, vibration and harshness (NVH).

Kia says the Soul bodyshell employs 70 per cent high-strength steel in structurally critical areas, saving weight without compromising stiffness.

The Soul has electric power steering, giving a claimed three per cent reduction in fuel consumption over a hydraulic system. The turning circle is 10.5 metres, and the Kia has 2.7 turns from lock-to-lock.

The Soul has 280mm ventilated front discs and 262mm solid rear discs on Soul Squared and Soul Cubed (203mm rear drums on base Soul). ABS is a four-channel, four-sensor system.

A steel space-saver spare wheel is fitted under the rear cargo floor and accessed from inside.

Kia says the Soul’s hip point at the driver’s seat is around 120mm higher than in a typical small car, while ground clearance is 45mm higher and the base of the windscreen is around 135mm higher.

Soul has more leg, head and shoulder room than its closest competitor, the Suzuki SX4.

All Souls have a six-speaker radio with CD player, MP3 compatibility and USB and Aux ports, and iPod compatibility. Audio volume is road-speed sensitive.

Soul Squared and Soul Cubed have steering wheel-mounted remote audio controls, and the Soul Cubed has a 315-watt external power amplifier with dash-top centre speaker, a boot-mounted sub-woofer and mood-reflecting LED lights within the front door speakers. The mood lights can be set up to give static light, auto dimming and brightening at two-second intervals or to pulse in time with the chosen music or switched off altogether.

The Soul range has dual SRS front airbags, side front SRS airbags and full-length curtain SRS airbags, active headrests and seatbelt pre-tensioners for front seats, anti-lock braking system (ABS), electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), Brake Assist and five three-point seatbelts.

The entry level Soul has front disc/ rear drum brakes while the rest of the range has discs all round (vented front, solid rear) and electronic stability control (ESC, or ESP as Kia describes it) and traction control.

The entry-level Soul has 15-inch steel wheels with 195/65R15 tyres, keyless remote entry, air conditioning (manual), power windows with driver’s auto-down and power adjustable mirrors.

The Soul Squared also gets steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, front fog lights, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, 16-inch alloy wheels with 205/55R16 tyres, upgraded cloth seats, driver’s front seat armrest and roof rails.

The Soul Cubed has 18-inch alloy wheels with 225/45R18 tyres, metallic finish on the console, dash and doors, wide-view bumper and eyeliners, privacy glass and no roof rails.

The Soul Cubed also has two extra interior trim colour options: red and black ‘street demon’ ( for Black, Titanium Silver or Tomato Red exteriors) or beige and black ‘retro chic’ (for Vanilla Shake, Blue Stone, Cocktail Orange, Green Tea Latte or Java Brown exteriors).

While Kia says the Soul Cubed is an auto-only proposition for both petrol and diesel, it does have the flexibility to offer a manual transmission as a factory order if a customer wants it, for $2000 less than the auto.

Cruise control is not available until August, when it comes on stream as an option for the diesel model only.

There are more than 30 dealer-fit options, such as alloy wheels body-kits side indicator garnishes, sports pedals, audio upgrades and body graphics (such as racing stripes or the ‘burner’ decals) and three option packs, a Body Pack, Chrome Pack and Sports Pack.

A rear view camera and sunroof is the only factory option – available for Soul Cubed for $2000 – while premium paint adds $400.

While the dealer-fit options will delay delivery of a car in stock by up to a week, if a customer wants a particular colour and factory option combination not available ex-stock, the wait is up to 11 weeks for delivery from factory in Korea.

Eleven exterior colours are offered on Soul: White No.1, Blue Stone, Tomato Red, Vanilla Shake, Bright Silver, Titanium Silver, Green Tea, Cocktail Orange, Moonlight Blue, Java Brown and Black Soul.

Share with your friends

Enquire on or Test Drive a New Soul

Customer Terms and Conditions – New Car Lead enquires

Agreement

This is an agreement between GoAutoMedia Pty Limited ACN 094 732 457 of PO Box 18, Beach Road, Sandringham, VIC, 3191 (“we/us”), the owner and operator of the GoAuto.com.au website (“the website”) and the person wanting GoAuto.com.au to provide them with a lead for the purchase of a new car (“you”).

By completing a New Car Lead Enquiry, you agree to the terms and conditions and disclaimers and acknowledge the policies set out below.

Terms and Conditions

  • In order for us to effect a lead you must you must complete a New Car Lead Enquiry (“Enquiry”).
  • We will call you as soon as possible after you complete the Enquiry and certainly no later than the next business day. When we call, we will discuss with you your new car requirements.
  • You consent to our passing on the Enquiry and your requirements to an appropriate authorised motor car dealer as a lead.
  • We will contact you again in approximately eight days following your initial enquiry to check on the progress of the Enquiry.
  • While we will provide the dealer with the Enquiry and details of your new car requirements, we take no responsibility for what happens after passing on that material as a lead.
  • You acknowledge that we are a new car information service providing new car editorial information, pictures and prices to our customers as a guide only. Any new car prices published on the website are the manufacturers’ recommended retail prices and do not include delivery charges and on-road costs. Any authorized motor car dealer to which we pass on your Enquiry as a lead will provide you with full details of the price at which the vehicle will be sold to you.
  • You acknowledge that we do not sell motor vehicles. Any sale of a new car to you by a dealer after we have passed on your Enquiry to that dealer as a lead, is a sale by that dealer not by us.

Privacy Policy– New Car Lead Enquires

  • We take privacy very seriously. We understand that you will only complete an Enquiry if you can trust us to protect your personal information and use it appropriately. Our policy is to ensure that the personal information collected when you make an Enquiry is only used for the purposes of connecting you with an authorised motor car dealer.
  • We do not on-sell information collected from you or any other customer.
  • From time to time, we may email you with information or promotions that may be relevant for car buyers. You will continue to receive communications from us unless you tell us that you do not want to receive any advertising or promotional information in the future by unsubscribing from these communications.
close
* Denotes required field
** Australian inquiries only
*** Prices exclude on road costs and dealer delivery fees

Soul pricing

Motor industry news

GoAutoNews is Australia’s number one automotive industry journal covering the latest news, future and new model releases, market trends, industry personnel movements, and international events.