Kia Soul

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What Car? Staff
02 October 2008

Kia Soul

Kia is Souled out in Paris, as it shows off its new supermini.

Don't be fooled by the 4x4 looks this is a front-wheel-drive, five-door hatchback that's scheduled to go on sale in the UK next spring.

Buyers can choose between 135bhp 1.6-litre petrol or a 124bhp diesel unit, both of which are available with a choice of manual or automatic gearboxes. The diesel engine produces 188lb ft of pulling power and the petrol 115lb ft.

On the safety front, the Soul should have ESP and six airbags as standard. Audiophiles will be interested to know that every Soul will have a CD player with MP3 compatibility and USB, AUX and iPod connections.

Prices are expected to start around 11,000.

Soul concept
We've seen a few Soul concept cars at the big European shows recently, and that trend continues at Paris, where Kia has its Soul Hybrid.

It's a soft drop-top concept car that's powered by a 1.6-litre petrol engine and a 15Kw electric motor, fitted to Kia's CVT gearbox. It's described as a mild-hybrid, in that it cannot run on electric power alone.

The prototype is said to achieve 57.6mpg and emit 117g/km of carbon dioxide, thanks in part to Kia's new stop-start system, which it calls ISG Idle Stop&Go.

ISG will be made available on petrol-powered C'eed models from early next year.

The show car also has a transparent bonnet and floor so you can see the drivetrain.

C'eed Hybrid
Kia also has a hybrid version of its C'eed small family car. Like the Soul Hybrid, the C'eed concept car is powered by a 1.6-litre petrol engine and electric motor. Kia expects emissions to be 114g/km of CO2 and fuel economy to be 58.9mpg.