In addition to debuting its highly-anticipated Soul crossover at the Paris Motor Show, Kia also brought along two hybrid concepts, a hydrogen-powered Sportage and the new Idle Stop & Go (ISG) equipped cee'd to demonstrate its budding green-car program.
The boxy Soul is being touted by many in the motoring press as being a potential sales winner for the Korean manufacturer, putting Kia in a prime position to snare refugees fleeing the declining large 4WD market. Boxy styling and a tall seating position should appeal to the middle-class mum segment, while a range of thrifty engines (a petrol and diesel boasting 94kW each for Europe-bound Souls) will no doubt sweeten the deal for bowser-weary motorists.
Six airbags, ESP and disc brakes all round are standard fitment across the entire Soul range as is a six-speaker MP3-compatible stereo system, and considering the Soul is bound to be priced as competitively as every Kia that's preceded it, it should present as a real bargain for new car buyers. The only thing that remains to be seen is whether the Soul can weather the abuse that will no doubt be inflicted upon it by the world's automotive journos, but we should find out how it fares soon enough.
Kia's new ISG-equipped cee'd also made its debut at the Mondial de l'Automobile, giving the public a closer look at the fuel-saving technology that's due to be added to the cee'd lineup early next year. The ISG system shuts down the engine when either approaching traffic lights or idling for an extended time, delivering savings in fuel consumption of up to 15 per cent over a non-ISG equipped cee'd.
Also on the Kia stand were hybrid concept versions of both the cee'd and the Soul. Both cars feature a 1.6-litre petrol motor coupled to a 15kW electric assistance motor and an automatic transmission and both have yet to be confirmed for production - so don't expect to see a Korean Prius-fighter just yet.
Kia Soul and hybrid concepts star in Paris
- All-new Kia Soul urban crossover passenger car makes debut in France
- Hybrid concepts of Kia cee'd and Kia Soul models revealed for first time
- Fuel-stretching Kia cee'd ISG (Idle Stop&Go) model on sale in 2009
The eagerly awaited Kia Soul urban crossover passenger car unveiled by Kia Motors Corporation at the Mondial de l'Automobile in Paris last night is destined to appeal to a whole new group of European, North American and global consumers. Also on display in Paris are the new ISG (Idle Stop&Go) equipped Kia cee'd, new concept models of the cee'd Hybrid and Soul Hybrid, and the zero-emissions hydrogen-powered Kia Sportage FCEV prototype.
"Soul redefines the concept of freedom. It's a brand new urban car packed full of liberating ideas - a car that challenges every consumer to 'free your mind' and to rethink everything they know about Kia," enthused Mr. Hyoung-Keun Lee, Senior Executive Vice President and COO, International Business Division, Kia Motors Corporation.
Kia Motors Corporation Chief Design Officer, Peter Schreyer, who has overseen the evolution of Kia Soul from 2006 concept fantasy to its 2008 production reality, commented, "Conceived in the USA, developed in Korea and fine-tuned in Europe, I strongly believe that the production Kia Soul has successfully achieved its own distinctive style and will generate an irresistible customer appeal for the young-at-heart."
Choice of 94kW diesel and petrol engines for Europe
Soul customers in Europe will be offered a choice of 94kW diesel or 94kW petrol engine, based closely on the 1.6-litre units produced for the successful Kia cee'd model made in Slovakia. For the USA, Canada and some non-European general markets, the Kia Soul will also be available with a 2-litre, 106kW petrol engine.
Soul's 0-100 km/h acceleration times range from 10.4 to 11.3 seconds and fuel consumption spreads over a 5.1 to 6.6 litres/100 km span, while CO2 figures vary between 137 and 159 g/km for European models.
Kia Soul cars supplied to the majority of countries in Western Europe and all of North America will be fitted with six airbags, four disc brakes and ESP (Electronic Stability Program) as standard.
Every Kia Soul in Europe will be equipped with a factory-fit RDS radio/CD player with MP3 compatibility, plus six audio speakers, a 112-watt output, innovative PowerBass technology and a roof-top antenna. An Upgraded Sound System - complete with 'Sound Sensitive Mood Lighting', 315-watt output, a large dash-top centre speaker, external amplifier and a sub-woofer in the trunk for a total of eight speakers - can be specified.
To celebrate the arrival of Soul, Kia will be displaying seven examples of its latest model at a special 'Soul World' zone throughout the 18-day Paris Show.
Four new models star in Kia's 'Green Zone'
Kia is displaying four new models in its 'Green Zone' at Paris - the Kia cee'd ISG, Soul Hybrid, cee'd Hybrid and Sportage FCEV. Kia's new ISG (Idle Stop&Go) system, which makes its world premiere at Paris, will be available on Kia cee'd petrol models from early 2009. The innovative ISG system cuts fuel consumption and emissions in heavy traffic by up to 15%.
Also making their world premieres at Paris are the Kia cee'd Hybrid and the Kia Soul Hybrid concept cars. Both cars feature a 1.6-litre petrol engine, mated to a 15kW, 105 Nm electric motor and automatic transmission. Fuel consumption is greatly reduced and CO2 emissions are cut to as low as 114 g/km for the cee'd Hybrid.
As part of Kia Motors Corporation's continuing fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) test program, the zero-emissions Kia Sportage FCEV is undergoing constant evolution and now boasts a higher output 100kW fuel cell, lively performance and greatly extended 300 km driving range.