Kia the recent Los Angeles Auto Show to display the North American version of its new Soul hatch, which is now on sale in the U.S. as a 2010 model. Pricing for the car leaked on several internet forums late last year, and now Kia has made it official, revealing that the stylish hatch will be available from just $13,995 (including a $695 destination charge).
Designed in Southern California, the Soul is a C-Segment vehicle targeted at younger buyers looking for something a little more stylish than the average econo car. Originally debuted as a concept vehicle at Detroit’s NAIAS in 2006, the production version will come in four different trim levels - Soul, Soul+, Soul! (exclaim) and Soul sport – and a single five-door body.
The entry level price is for the basic Soul model with a 1.6L engine and manual transmission. Next up is the Soul+ with a 2.0L engine and manual transmission for $15,645, while a full options package raises the price to $17,795. Then there is the 2.0L Soul! in manual trim for $17,645 and $18,595 for the fully optioned variant. Finally, there is the 2.0L Soul sport also priced from $17,645 up to $19,295 with all options equipped. Some of the options include a premium audio package for $400 and a power moonroof for $700.
Built on a platform with a wheelbase of 100.4in, an overall length of 161.6in, an overall width of 70.3in and overall height of 63.4in, the Soul offers enough space for five adults with some space left for storage.
The car rides on a fully independent front and twist-beam rear suspension system, with front MacPherson struts and coil springs. In the rear, the Soul suspension is sub-frame-mounted with a transverse torsion beam axle with trailing arms. To maximize space, the rear anti-roll stabilizer bar is mounted inside the torsion beam.
The engine lineup will consist of a 120hp 1.6L unit and a 140hp 2.0L option. Fuel economy for both engines is estimated at 30mpg.
The Soul includes black door handles and side mirrors, body-colored bumpers, a rear wiper washer and 15in steel wheels fitted with 195mm tires. Upgrading slightly to the Soul+ offers keyless remote entry, solar glass, privacy glass on the rear side and rear windows, body-color handles and power side mirrors along with 16in alloy wheels with 205mm tires. Enhancing to the Soul! adds a power moonroof, fog lights, 18in alloy wheels furnished with 225mm tires, while the Soul sport features side sills, a rear spoiler, 18in alloy wheels, and unique sports bumpers both front and rear.
Inside, there’s a three-dial instrument cluster, a floating center stack design, MP3 CD stereo, and 60/40 split-folding rear seats.
Kia is hoping to double its sales in global markets by 2010 with the introduction of several new and updated models. The first of these will be a facelifted Sportage SUV in July, followed by the Soul and two new sedan models later in the year. The carmaker is also scheduled to open its first U.S. plant and is planning to build up to 300,000 vehicles per year at the Georgia site.