Kia’s New Soul gets power, sleekness

By Cho Chung-un

EV version to launch next month; carmaker aims to sell 20,000 units in Korea, 100,000 overseas

  • Published : Jan 23, 2019 - 15:05
  • Updated : Jan 23, 2019 - 15:05

Targeting 20-something first-time car buyers, South Korean carmaker Kia Motors unveiled the third-generation model of its signature compact sports utility vehicle, the Soul, Wednesday, highlighting its upgraded power, high-tech features and competitive price.

Returning to the market for the first time in six years, the Soul Booster boasts a 1.6-liter turbo engine that can produce up to 204 horsepower or 27 kilogram-meters of torque, making it the most powerful car in the CUV segment. 

Kwon Hyeok-ho (right), vice president of Kia’s domestic sales division, poses with Soul Booster at an unveiling session held in southeastern Seoul on Wednesday. (Kia Motors)

The company plans to sell two types, a 1.6-liter gasoline-fueled model and an electric version. The latter can go 386 kilometers on a single charge, the longest range for any Kia car. The Soul Booster electric will go on sale in February.

While keeping its box-type design, Kia illustrated the powerful and dynamic image of the Soul Booster with an intake metal grille, headlamps with a horizontal layout and a dramatic wheel arch.

Inside, Kia equipped the car with a D-cut steering wheel, a center fascia with circular frame and an engine-start button on the left side of the gearbox. The carmaker also attempted to visualize the sound by applying a sound mood lamp that changes the color of the light to harmonize with the beat of the music and installed a Bluetooth multi-connection system that can connect two Bluetooth signals at the same time.

“The Soul Booster is reborn not only with powerful driving performance, but also with cutting-edge high-tech features,” said Kwon Hyeok-ho, vice president of Kia’s domestic sales division.

“We plan to sell more than 20,000 units of the Soul Booster in Korea this year.”

The fuel efficiency of the Soul Booster has improved 13 percent compared with its predecessor, the second-generation model. It can go 12.4 kilometers per liter with 17-inch tires and 12.2 kilometers per liter with 18-inch tires, the company said.

Various safety features are also included, such as a blind spot collision warning, lane-keeping assist and forward collision-avoidance assist system, it added.

The price of the gasoline-fueled Soul Booster ranges from 19.14 million won ($17,000) to 23.46 million won. The electric version is set to be sold around 46 million won to 49 million won, reflecting the expensive battery. The green version is eligible for subsidies from both the central government and municipalities.

Kia plans to launch the Soul, one of its most popular models overseas, within the first quarter of the year in the North American market. It plans to sell more than 100,000 units around the world.

By Cho Chung-un (