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Kia Soul concepts and eco cars

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

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