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Melbourne show: Kia bares its Soul to Gen Y

Chameleon: Kia's Soul can be customised to suit Gen Y tastes.

Kia heralds arrival of new Gen Y-targeted Soul hatch with customised versions

27 Feb 2009

KIA Motors Australia (KMA) has used the Melbourne International Motor Show to herald the imminent arrival of its Gen Y-oriented Soul, unveiling five versions that demonstrate the level of customisation available with the small hatchback – a la Mini – when it hits the showrooms in April.

Making the connection with Mini is deliberate, with KMA overlooking the conceptually similar Suzuki SX-4 and instead touting the tall, upright small “urban crossover” as similarly appealing to the BMW-devised Mini Cooper – but at a much lower price.

Australian pricing for the Soul is still to be announced, but expect it to be priced from a similar, if not identical mark, to the $19,990 SX-4. KMA spokesman Jonathan Fletcher told GoAuto that the entire range would be priced “in the 20,000s”, and confirmed that diesel as well as petrol variants would be offered. These should be a 92kW/156Nm 1.6-litre petrol and a 94kW/260Nm 1.6-litre CRDi diesel, as seen overseas.

17 center image “It’s a reveal of Soul, rather than a launch of Soul,” he said. “It’s the introduction of the philosophy of Soul – that it is targeted at Generation Y, that it is the first Kia model that says: ‘This is a car that people will want to customise’. Each of these five Souls is customised in some way with elements of the accessory packages.

“No two Souls on the stand are the same in terms of spec, but these are examples of what customers could do. You could say in some ways that it’s a bit like Mini, although Mini is clearly a much more expensive proposition.” Kia will offer 61 factory and locally fitted options, including alloy wheels, bodykits, audio upgrades, sports and “retro chic” interior trim, body accents, and more. The five Soul interpretations at the show are known as Burner (black), Diva (vanilla), Lava (orange), Mode (white) and Searcher (green). Variants such as a hybrid and a roadster, the latter previewed with the Soul’ster concept in Detroit, are still to be confirmed for Australia.

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