Kia Australia’s struggling Soul range, launched last year with just one model grade, one engine and two transmissions, has been further streamlined this week.
For 2016, the small crossover (officially a hatch) will drop the manual option to be offered in six-speed automatic form only.
The consolidation continues into the colour palette, with the Soul now offered only in white/red (body/roof, flat paint), red/black and blue/white (body/roof, both metallic) combinations.
The switch to an auto-only arrangement is joined by a price increase to $26,990, meaning that, with the manual option gone, the price of entry into the Soul range rises by $2500.
The Soul is otherwise unchanged for the new model year, with power again provided by Kia’s 113kW/191Nm 2.0 litre petrol engine.
Kia lists fuel consumption at 8.4 l/100km on the combined cycle.
Likewise, the Soul’s features remain unchanged, with standard kit including 17-inch alloy wheels, a space-saver spare, cruise control, tilt/reach adjustable steering wheel, steering-mounted controls, Bluetooth/USB/aux connectivity, six speakers and tinted glass.
Safety features include ESC with ABS and BAS, Hill Start Assist Control, Vehicle Stability Management, Tyre Pressure Monitoring System, MDPS steering with FlexSteer, six airbags (front, side and curtain), reversing camera and rear parking sensors.
Note: International model shown in exterior shots. Local photos of 2016 range still to come.
Despite the Soul’s huge popularity in the US, Kia Australia has moved just 70 examples of its Soul hatch year-to-date, compared to 89 for the same period in 2014.
Although April brought a slight uptick with 30 sales - against 18 in April last year - this latest change in options and pricing could see the Soul’s sales drop further in the months ahead.
At this rate, we could see the Soul drop off the local Kia roster entirely in the near future.
PRICING (excludes on-road costs)
2015 Kia Soul Si - Auto - $26,990 (red/white flat paint combo)
Metallic paint - $620