Bigger, brighter and more refined _ that’s the key story to the arrival of Kia’s second-generation Soul, an all-new model that introduces a smooth new-look exterior inspired by the exciting 2012 Kia Track’ster concept.
In reviving and refining the second generation Soul, Kia has created a thoroughly fresh, more grown-up appearance without losing its appealing character and individualistic edge.
“While Soul has not been a volume model for Kia in Australia, the car has won a loyal following through its individual styling, practical use of space and all-round ease and satisfaction of ownership,” Kia Motors Australia Chief Operating Officer, Tony Barlow, said.
“With the arrival of the all-new model, with its improvements and refinements across the board, I believe the Soul will continue to be a benchmark model for new car buyers shopping with their head as well as their heart.”
Beneath the new panels, there’s an all-new platform (based on Kia’s best-selling Cerato/Forte/cee’d platform) with a significantly stronger bodyshell and upgraded suspension to improve driving dynamics and ride comfort.
As is the case with all Kia models coming to Australia, the new Soul was the beneficiary of hundreds of hours and thousands of kilometres of testing to ensure the bespoke ride and handling characteristics that suit Australia and Australian drivers is optimised.
The original Soul generated immense loyalty among owners and both existing and new buyers for the latest model will appreciate the latest car’s significantly quieter cabin, higher quality materials, increased space for people and cargo, plus the new range of premium features.
The new Soul will build on the achievements of its predecessor which has recorded global sales of more than 760,000 units since its introduction in late 2008.
In Australia, Soul has held a loyal niche market position with 1779 sales since the car was launched in 2009.
“The Kia Soul has become one of our brand’s most popular export models, attracting loyal customers from a wide range of backgrounds across many countries – so it was important that the all-new model remained true to the original iconic design,” said Soon-Nam Lee, Kia’s Vice-President of Overseas Marketing. “Now, the introduction of the exciting second-generation Soul is a truly significant landmark for Kia.
“The Soul already has great emotional appeal, so our main focus with the 2015 model was infusing it with improved driving dynamics, developing a higher quality cabin and adding desirable features to highlight the new Soul’s fresh sophistication.
“Keeping what made the current Soul special while addressing areas for improvement presented Kia’s designers and engineers with a difficult task, so our people have listened closely to customer feedback. We are confident that the new Soul, with its transformed appearance, broader range of features, improved dynamics and refinement, will attract both existing and new customers to Kia showrooms.”
The iconic all-new Soul design is instantly recognizable yet thoroughly fresh, becoming more grown up, without losing its edge and honoring Soul owners’ fierce individualism. The new Soul was created at Kia’s American Design Centre in California, by a design team headed by Tom Kearns, Chief Designer, Kia Motors America and overseen by Peter Schreyer, Chief Design Officer, Kia Motors Corporation.
“The all-new Soul was one of the more difficult assignments we’ve taken on,” said Kearns. “Striking the right balance between the wonderful design of the original car with the audacious proportions and stance of the Track’ster concept was daunting.”
Exterior similarities between Track’ster and new Soul are easy to spot. The large trapezoidal lower air intake is nearly a direct carryover from the concept, and the location of the fog lights – down low and pushed to the leading edges – mirror those found on the Track’ster.
Although the new Soul is ‘all-new’ – none of the exterior body panels are carried over, and the interior is a new design – the Soul’s upright stance, squared shoulders, wraparound greenhouse, high-mounted tail lights and confidence-inspiring ride height are all hallmark design elements.
The new Kia Soul has subtly larger dimensions. Compared with its predecessor, the new model is 20 mm longer (4140 mm), 15 mm wider (1800 mm), but drops 41mm (down to 1619mm) with the standard roof rails.
The new dimensions and the extended wheelbase (also up by 20 mm to 2570 mm) have allowed improvements to the vehicle’s practicality, with more space for people and cargo, plus the tailgate opening is now 62 mm wider (1005mm), providing easier access to the cargo bay.
New Soul also benefits from substantial improvements in NVH. In part, this improvement is thanks to the biggest technical change for the new Soul – the adoption of an all-new platform which supports a re-engineered bodyshell. This is now made of 66% ultra-high strength or high strength steel, with stronger connections along the cowl, upper and lower B-pillars and between the C-pillars. The application of structural adhesive around the door and tailgate openings and along the roof also improves rigidity.
These measures result in a 29% increase in torsional rigidity compared to the outgoing model which benefits the steering, handling and ride, as well as refinement. An additional benefit of using ultra-high strength steel is the opportunity to make the A-pillars 20 mm narrower, improving forward visibility.
To isolate occupants from road imperfections, the new Soul’s front suspension, engine and transmission are now mounted on an all-new stronger subframe with four bushings to minimize ride harshness – none were used on the first-generation Soul.
Other actions to reduce NVH include fitting a 25% denser isolation pad across the engine bay bulkhead and PU layered carpet through the cabin, and switching to expandable foam (rather than block foam) as a bodyshell cavity filler. To achieve a further improvement in refinement, the interior of new Soul’s doors now feature a plastic module housing fewer parts (saving weight) and acting as a more efficient sound insulator.
The NVH improvement program has achieved a significant effect. Idle noise level in the cabin is down 2 dB to 39 dB while road noise during a 60 kph cruise is cut by 3 dB to 63 dB.
For Australia, the all-new Soul will be powered by the 113kW 2.0-litre Nu MPI petrol engine with peak torque of 191Nm at 4700rpm, driving through a six-speed manual or automatic gearbox.
The colour palette for Australia consists of six exterior colours _ Clear White and five premium colours, Cherry Black, Bright Silver, Titanium Silver, Inferno Red and Acid Green. There will be a single interior colour, a one-tone black.
The six speed manual Si is $23,990 while automatic is $25,990. Premium paint is $620.
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