Geneva motor show 2008 - Kia Soul concepts and eco cars

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It’s teaser time at Kia. Three concept cars give strong clues to the final look of the Soul, the small off-roader look-alike that the company plans to introduce at the start of 2009.

Kia is also previewing the high-economy, low-emissions versions of the European-built Cee’d, which are scheduled for production next year.

The three Soul concepts are called Searcher, Burner and Diva.

Searcher has ruggedly outdoorsy looks, with a raised body, extended wheelarches and a fabric sunroof.

Burner is the sporty, urban-cool version and has a lowered body, aerodynamic add-ons and dragon tattoos on a satin-black paint finish.

Diva is the more feminine option, finished in white with 19-inch wheels, patterned tyres, unique lamps and grille, and a different interior capped with a panoramic sunroof.

The production Soul will be built on Kia’s next-generation supermini platform and is expected to be available with 1.6-litre petrol and diesel engines. Despite the 4x4 looks, it will be front-wheel drive only.

Aimed at fashionable younger buyers, it will be a different-looking rival for the Mini, Fiat 500 and Renault Twingo, with lots of options for buyers to personalise it. Prices are expected to start as low as £10,000.

The clean Cee’d models on display follow on from the earlier Eco-cee’d concept. Three- and five-door Cee’d models are expected to get a package of measures to improve aerodynamics, cut friction between the tyres and road, and improve engine efficiency of Kia’s 1.6-litre diesel engine. The aim is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to below 120g/km.

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