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Kia Soul

AM Soul

Kia logo1 Apr 2009

By LUCIANO PAOLINO

Kia's Gen Y-oriented Soul was available with a high level of factory and dealer customisation a la Mini, touting the tall, upright small “urban crossover” as similarly appealing to the BMW-devised Mini Cooper – but at a much lower price.

The Soul arrived in one five-door body style with three trim levels called Soul, Soul Squared and Soul Cubed. Two engine options were offered, 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 was an option for both petrol and diesel Soul Squared and standard for the Soul Cubed petrol and diesel.

The alloy 1.6-litre petrol developed 91kW of power at 6300rpm and 156 Nm of torque at 4200rpm. CO2 emissions were 154g/km and combined fuel consumption was 6.5L/100km for the manual, running on standard unleaded.

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

All Souls came with 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 had steering wheel-mounted remote audio controls, and the Soul Cubed got 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 could 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 had dual front airbags, side front airbags and full-length curtain airbags, active headrests and seatbelt pre-tensioners for front seats, anti-lock brakes, electronic brake-force distribution, brake assist and five three-point seatbelts.

The entry level Soul had front disc/ rear drum brakes while the rest of the range got discs all round plus electronic stability and traction control.

Base models had 15-inch steel wheels, keyless remote entry, manual air conditioning, and electric windows and mirrors.

The Soul Squared added steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, front fog lights, leather-wrapped steering wheel and gearshift, 16-inch alloy wheel, upgraded cloth seats, a driver’s front seat armrest and roof rails.

The range-topping Soul Cubed had 18-inch alloy wheels, metallic finish on the console, dash and doors, wide-view bumper and eyeliners plus privacy glass.

The Soul Cubed also offered 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).

There were 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.

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