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Kia bares facelifted Soul

Soul searching: Cosmetic differences between the original Kia Soul and the facelifted model are subtle.

New trannies and 2.0-litre engine option for mildly-facelifted Kia Soul in Australia

30 Nov 2011

KIA has launched a mildly-facelifted Soul small car in Australia, adding more standard equipment, the option of a new 2.0-litre petrol engine and upgraded transmissions while retaining an opening price of $21,490 plus on-road costs.

The boxy Soul’s two trim level line-up remains, but the base model gains telescopic steering wheel adjustment and Bluetooth streaming plus an extra 4kW from a tweaked version of the carryover 1.6-litre petrol engine.

Now producing 95kW of power and 157Nm of torque, the 1.6-litre petrol engine is only available on the entry-level Soul, with a choice of six-speed manual or automatic transmissions – an improvement over the previous five-speed manual and four-speed auto.

Other standard equipment includes 15-inch steel wheels, six airbags, hill-start assist, trip computer, six-speaker audio system and keyless entry.

Meanwhile, the flagship Soul+ adds standard 18-inch alloy wheels, front fog lights, cruise control, luggage cover, roof rails and height adjustment for the driver’s seat.

Further Soul+ highlights include leather-bound steering wheel and gear selector, cloth door trims, metallic interior trim, seat-back pockets and steering wheel-mounted audio controls.

17 center imageThe ‘Nu’ 2.0-litre petrol engine produces a respectable 122kW and 200Nm and is available only on the Soul+ variant with the six-speed automatic for $26,990.

In addition to giving petrol-preferring customers a welcome increase in power and torque, official combined fuel consumption is 7.5L/100km, just 0.2L/100km higher than the automatic 1.6.

The unchanged 94kW/260Nm 1.6-litre diesel – also exclusive to the Soul+ – now offers the same six-speed transmission upgrades in return for a price hike of $800, taking the manual up to $27,990 and the automatic to $29,990.

Subtle styling changes – first unveiled at the New York show in April, followed by a European debut in Frankfurt in September – include a more sculpted look for the larger front bumper that houses enlarged fog lights and a wider air intake.

Between the new twin-beam headlight units, the ‘Schreyer’ grille now has a more delicate chrome edge with a black border, while the redesigned door mirrors now feature integrated indicator lights and the door handles are now of the pull variety.

The rear bumper’s reflective strip has been replaced by black plastic and the rear fog lights have been pushed further outboard.

Interior changes on the Australian-market Soul are minor, with local cars forgoing the classy-looking digital climate-control display shown overseas, as well as the daytime-running lights and LED tail-lights.

The Soul’s facelift comes just a year before a second-generation version is expected to be unveiled ahead of a likely 2013 arrival in Australia.

Kia sold 397 examples of its charismatic Soul to the end of October this year, an increase of 18.2 per cent. The Soul has averaged 37 sales a month for the South Korean brand since its Australian launch in April 2009.

Kia Soul pricing(before on-roads):
1.6 petrol&nbsp $21,490
1.6 petrol (a) $23,490
2.0 Nu petrol (a) $26,990 (new engine)
1.6 CRDIdiesel&nbsp $27,990 (+$800)
1.6 CRDI diesel (a)$29,990 (+$800)

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