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Future models - Kia - Soul

New York show: Revised Soul to be short-lived

Brown sugar: Kia's Soul will have a sole year on sale in Australia before an all-new replacement arrives.

Kia reveals facelifted Soul as all-new replacement looms into view for 2013

Kia logo25 Apr 2011

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS

KIA’S revised Soul crossover – one of its two global debuts at the New York motor show last week alongside the Rio sedan – will only have a short lifespan in Australia as the company is already well advanced developing the next-generation replacement vehicle due in 2013.

The facelift – which brings a slightly revised nose, an interior upgrade and new drivetrain choices – will not arrive in Australia until the middle of next year due to production constraints.

This will be just months ahead of the global unveiling of the all-new, second-generation Soul II, which is currently on track for an unveiling in late 2012, perhaps at the Paris or Los Angeles motor shows.

A Kia spokesman said Australian sales for the Soul II are expected to commence some time in 2013.

Design work for the Soul II commenced in 2009 and is being done by Sportage and Rio hatch stylist Massimo Fraschella, an Italian based at Kia’s North American studio in Irvine, California.

17 center imageIt is expected to feature a racier profile with slimmer detailing and a wider stance than the current Soul while retaining the boxy proportions and ‘cute’ personality that have helped make it a success in many parts of the world since its 2008 unveiling.

The New York facelift, meanwhile, adopts some of the items earmarked for the next-generation Rio light car coming to Australia in September.

This includes the all-new 1.6-litre GDI direct-injection petrol engine, which delivers 100kW of power (up from 91kW) while using a claimed 10 per cent less fuel.

It will be offered with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission, which is a significant improvement over the current model’s old-fashioned four-speed auto.

North American Soul buyers can also choose a new 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol that produces 119kW of power and 194Nm of torque.

Kia has not yet revealed whether Australian-bound versions will get this bigger engine option, or a revised version of the current diesel engine.

Other changes to the Korean-built Soul include new projector headlights with LED daytime running lights, a redesigned bonnet, revised bumpers front and rear, LED tail-lights, revised trim and different audio interfaces with enhanced features.

Soul sales in Australia have averaged less than 50 units per month for the first quarter of 2011 – about half that of the conceptually similar Toyota Rukus.

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