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Paris show: Kia’s new Soul and Rondo inbound

Soul food: Aussies might miss out on the 150kW Soul Turbo, but Kia is promising the new facelifted Soul crossover will make its way into local showrooms as early as next month.

Tweaked Kia Soul and Rondo seven-seater due for Australian debut next month

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Kia logo26 Sep 2016

By TUNG NGUYEN

KIA Motors Australia (KMAu) is committed to its two slowest sellers, the Rondo people-mover and Soul SUV, as the local arm prepares to launch updated versions of both cars next month after their public debut at this week’s Paris motor show.

Kia has sold just 58 units of its quirky Soul crossover in the first eight months of the year, while the Rondo has clocked 96 new registrations in the same time period, well short of Kia’s next slowest seller, the Picanto on 805.

Although the facelifted Soul surfaced last month on the South Korean car-maker’s website showcasing tweaked front and rear bumpers, redesigned head and tail-lights, a more prominent skid plate and a revised ‘tiger nose’ grille, Kia has now officially confirmed new details.

Accompanying the exterior refresh will be an updated colour touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, blind spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert, an additional USB port in the rear and the introduction of a new seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission with normal, eco and sport drive modes.

Three new exterior colours – Mysterious Blue, Russet Brown and Wild Orange – with a contrasting white roof and door mirrors available with the blue and brown options, new 10-spoke wheels in 16- and 17-inch diameters, and a black interior colour scheme with the option of contrasting grey or brown colours round out the rest of the Soul’s changes.

Kia also announced a range-topping 150kW Soul Turbo – powered by the same 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine as the discontinued-in-Australia Pro_ceed GT – with unique 18-inch wheels, a flat-bottom steering wheel, twin exhaust pipes and larger brakes, but the South Korean car-maker’s local division has confirmed the sporty variant will not be made available to local buyers.

Kia’s Rondo receives similar updates, including new front and rear bumper styling, a new horizontal foglight design and a more pronounced ‘tiger nose’ grille.

New cloth or leather seat upholstery, metallic and gloss black interior accents, a carbon finished dashboard, Kia’s latest 7.0- or 8.0-inch human-machine interface (HMI) touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and an optional JBL sound system round out changes inside the Rondo.

Blind spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert and a speed limit information function will also make their debut in the updated Rondo.

Kia Australia media and corporate communications manager Alyson MacDonald confirmed that the local version “is not exactly the same as the Euro model” and teased “some significant changes in our line-up”.

Ms MacDonald also confirmed that both the Rondo and Soul would be available in Australia next month and promised more information on local specifications and pricing would be forthcoming.

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