Kia unveils new Soul

October 22, 2013
Models pose next to the all-new Soul during a launch event at W Seoul Walkerhill Hotel, Tuesday. / Courtesy of Kia Motors

Models pose next to the all-new Soul during a launch event at W Seoul Walkerhill Hotel, Tuesday. (Courtesy of Kia Motors)

By Kim Tae-jong

Kia Motors Tuesday launched the second generation of the Soul, showing high confidence in its competition with imported vehicles such as the BMW Mini Cooper.

“We tried hard to drastically improve the marketability of the all-new Soul, with upgraded interior and exterior designs along with better convenience and safety features,” said Suh Choon-kwan, head of the domestic marketing group, during a launch event of the compact multi-purpose vehicle at W Seoul Walkerhill Hotel in Seoul. He stressed that the all-new Soul can well compete with imported vehicles, which have increased their presence in the local market.

“I think there is little difference between our vehicles and imported ones in terms of performance and design, but the only difference is customer awareness of each brand,” he said.

The automaker will offer customers more chances to test-drive its vehicles so that they can experience their improved product marketability, he said.

With its confidence in the new model, the company aims at selling 4,500 Souls in the domestic market this year and increasing the number to 20,000 next year. It also set its annual global sales at 170,000 next year.

The new model came out five years after its previous model made its debut in 2008. Major changes have been made in its appearance to satisfy drivers who seek uniqueness through customization.

With different looks and its upright stance, squared shoulders, wraparound glasshouse, drivers are also able to choose between up to 11 exterior paint finishes, as well as three different roof colors ㅡ black, white and red.

Eight different alloy wheel designs ㅡ ranging from 16-inch to 18-inch in size ㅡ will also be available, including three changeable color wheel caps. “With all these different options, drivers can have about 100 customized combinations,” Suh said. Based on a new platform, the new Soul also boasts a stronger body shell, which together with suspension upgrades gives the new car significantly improved driving dynamics, quality of ride and refinement, he said.

The new model is also equipped with various features for luxury and convenience, including front LED lights, keyless entry and push-button engine start, ventilated front seats, heated front and rear seats and a panoramic glass sunroof.

It comes equipped with either a 1.6-litre GDi petrol or CRDi diesel engine, which can generate 132 horsepower with the maximum torque of 16.4 kilogram-meters and 128 horsepower with a maximum torque of 26.5 km-m, respectively.The prices of gasoline engine versions range from 15.95 million won to 20.15 million won, while diesel models are available from 19.8 million won to 21.05 million won. “With upgraded features, we have cut down prices of entry models by 1.05 million won in order to make them more affordable,” Suh said.