Well here is something new, the Kia Soul, introduced to the UK in 2009. It is designed by the man behind the first generation Audi TT, Peter Schreyer, and is a radical departure from the staid Kias of the past.
This radical design sits on a completely new platform, designed not only for the Kia Soul but for future cars - although it does share its 1.6 litre engines with the Kia cee'd. The Kia Soul has five doors, five seats, is front-wheel drive; is just over four metres long and is a hatchback, or as someone described it to us, a boxback.
Bucking the sales trend, Kia have had a reasonably good 12 months and are expecting to sell around 3000 Kia Souls in the UK during 2009.
Kia are forecasting a wide mix of buyers which includes individualistic, adventurous people aged between 18 and 39, the young-at-heart downsizing from a larger car who still want practicality and quality, and former SUV owners who enjoy the higher-than-average driving position that they have become used to.
The Kia Soul is available with a choice of two engines a 1.6-litre (124 bhp) petrol or Kia's 126 bhp 1.6-litre turbocharged diesel unit. The diesel engine is available either with a 5-speed manual gearbox or with a four-speed automatic, the petrol is only available with the manual gearbox.
There is a choice of five trim levels ranging from the 1 and 2 models through to the Samba, Shaker and Bruner models. Prices range from £10,495 for the entry-level Kia Soul 1 1.6 5dr to £14,995 for the top spec Kia Soul Burner 1.6 CRDi 5dr.
We chose to drive the Kia Soul 2 equipped with the 1.6-litre petrol engine.How It Drove - Performance
As we have already mentioned there is a choice of engine the petrol 1.6-litre (124 bhp) or Kia's excellent 126 bhp 1.6-litre turbocharged diesel unit.
We drove the Kia Soul 2 1.6 litre petrol engine mated to a modified 5-speed manual gearbox.
The all-aluminium 1.6-litre petrol engine develops 124 bhp at 6300rpm, with a healthy 156 Nm of torque at 4200rpm enabling the 1.6 petrol Kia Soul to accelerate from 0-62 mph in 11 seconds and onto a top speed of 110 mph.
Kia quotes a combined fuel consumption figure of 43.5 mpg and emissions are rated as 153g/km. The Kia Soul diesel model has very similar performance figures whilst returning around 10 more miles to each gallon of fuel.
We are fans of Kia's diesel engine, finding the petrol engine to be harsher and noisier.
The 5-speed manual gearbox is easy to use, with a short throw; it feels as though it could do with a 6th gear, especially on the motorway which would help lower the in-cabin noise, which can be intrusive.
This is a 12-year+ news article, from our Kia archive, which dates back to the year 2000.
If in doubt check with your local Kia dealer as car prices and technical data will have changed since 2009.
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