Kia dares you to be different

2017-05-17 06:03
The new Kia Soul.PHOTO: supplied

The new Kia Soul.PHOTO: supplied

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FOLLOWING its unveiling at the Paris Motor Show in September 2016, the Kia Soul is at last on sale in South Africa.

While wildly popular in Cape Town’s newer suburbs and always a head-turner at the Ambers in Howick, the Soul has not captured the soul of most KZNners. The new model, featuring a number of design updates and a new turbo diesel, entry-level model may just change that.

For make no mistake, this little upright crossover has long established itself as a car its owners have no complaints about. The Kia Soul has topped its segment in the annual J.D. Power Initial Quality Survey in the U.S., first reaching the top spot in 2012, and retaining that position ever since then.

Kia South Africa describes the Soul “as the ultimate anti-establishment crossover, defying traditional classification by offering the space and practicality of an MPV and the quality and features of an SUV, wrapped in the dimensions of a B-segment crossover”.

As owner of the originally fugly Fiat Mutlipla that did all this first — and with a lot more anti-establishment defiance — I can only say “ja well no fine”. But the Soul does have, well, soul under its skin. A WesBank-SAGMJ Car of the Year semi-finalist in 2015, Car Magazine also declared it a “best buy” in their 2016 Best Buys survey.

“In a market of mundane crossovers and smaller SUVs, the Soul has always been able to provide something a little different and stand out,” says David Sieff, marketing director, Kia Motors South Africa. “As an alternative, the Soul gives consumers a great way to express themselves in a practical and funky way, but with all the features and the quality people expect from Kia.”

The new turbodiesel Kia Soul 1.6 Start produces 94 kW and 260 Nm of torque between 1 900 and 2 750 r/min. This engine mates to a six-speed manual transmission, with no automatic option available.

Even at the entry level the Soul features a comprehensive list of standard specification, including a radio with RDS, MP3/Aux/USB jacks, Bluetooth connectivity and six speakers, central locking, an immobiliser, a rear-view camera, electrochromatic rear-view mirror, electric windows front and rear, electric heated side mirrors with integrated indicators, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

Safety features include ABS brakes, six airbags, an impact-sensing door unlock function. All models ship as standard with Kia’s five-year or unlimited kilometre warranty, a five-year or unlimited kilometre roadside assistance as well as a four-year or 90 000 km service plan.

Gary Scott, sales director and deputy managing director of Kia Motors South Africa said: “At R329 995 it represents exceptional value, and a quick test drive will more than confirm its virtues.”

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