New Kia Soul boxes clever in re­fined yet as­sertive man­ner

IN­TER­NA­TIONAL LAUNCH

Business Day - Motor News - - MOTOR NEWS - Thomas Falkiner

Ilike boxy cars, which means I’ve al­ways loved the Kia Soul. It’s zany and dif­fer­ent and thanks to those square di­men­sions a joy to load-up with lug­gage and gro­ceries and stuff.

Yep, it’s no se­cret that cars de­signed with a ruler are eas­ier to fill with all the ma­te­rial trap­pings of life. If you want fur­ther proof of this just re­visit the orig­i­nal Mini and the Dai­hatsu Ma­te­ria, a car that proved it was hip to be square. Any­way, I di­gress.

The 2018 LA Auto Show is in full flight and one of the stand­out cars to make its un­veil­ing is the new third-gen­er­a­tion Kia Soul. An evo­lu­tion of its sec­ond­gen­er­a­tion pre­de­ces­sor, Soul ver­sion 3.0 comes served with an ex­tra shot of vis­ual ag­gres­sion, par­tic­u­larly up front where a mas­sive ra­di­a­tor grille and a pair of nar­row, squint­ing head­lights dom­i­nate pro­ceed­ings.

The sil­hou­ette is clas­sic Soul while the rear has been jazzedup with swoop­ing boomerangesque tail lights. Haters will con­tinue to hate but I think the new Soul looks awe­some. It’s a great big slab of rolling quirk that’s the per­fect an­ti­dote to cars like the Nis­san Qashqai et al.

RE­FINE­MENT

Re­vised looks aside, the third­gen­er­a­tion Soul rides upon a brand new plat­form that prom­ises more in the way of driv­ing re­fine­ment. En­gine-wise there are two four-cylin­der mo­tors to choose from: a nat­u­rally-as­pi­rated 2.0l good for 110kW, plus a tur­bocharged 1.6l unit that makes a use­ful 150kW. While the turbo en­gine only comes mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch trans­mis­sion, the nat­u­rally-as­pi­rated mo­tor can be had with ei­ther a six-speed man­ual or CVT.

The in­te­rior has been worked over and can be cus­tomised with ev­ery­thing from a 640W Har­man/Kar­don sound sys­tem to mood light­ing equipped with no less than six moods. Blue­tooth au­dio stream­ing is stan­dard and both Ap­ple CarPlay and An­droid Auto are sup­ported.

SIX TRIM LINES

There’s also wire­less charg­ing and dual-zone cli­mate con­trol. Trim lines? You’re look­ing at six

LX, S, X-Line, GT-Line, EX, “EX De­signer Col­lec­tion” plus an all-new Soul EV that prob­a­bly won’t be mak­ing its way to SA any­time soon.

The X-Line is likely to be pop­u­lar with those who pre­fer an ad­ven­ture-style look; its body kit has body cladding, over­fend­ers for a chunkier look and other off-road in­spired ac­cents. Eigh­teen-inch al­loy wheels are added, as are fog lamps, op­tional two-tone paint and roof-rail in­spired ac­cents.

The petrol-pow­ered mod­els will be land­ing here in 2019.

The new Kia Soul has a much more mas­cu­line look to it. Top: The re­vamped cabin can be cus­tomised with ev­ery­thing from a 640W Har­man/Kar­don sound sys­tem to mood light­ing.

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