At the auto show in Los Angeles, which runs from November 30 to December 9, the Koreans brought their main novelty - the third-generation Kia Soul. Car sales will start next year, it will probably reach the Russian market only by the end of 2019. But something about Kia Soul is already known.
First of all, Soul is a fundamentally new car built on the K2 modular platform. It has become significantly larger than its predecessor. The wheelbase has increased by 30 mm and is now 2600 mm, catching up with the Kia Rio in this regard. Soul grew and in length - immediately by 55 mm, to 4195. Due to this, the car turned out to be quite large.
The manufacturer conjured over the appearance. Instead of the open European look, which was the second generation cars, the designers awarded Soul a sly squint, narrowing the headlights as much as possible. At the same time, the optics are “two-story”: the dimensions and turn signals also appeared on top, and additional blocks of headlights were located below. The car has also noticeably changed behind. Attention is drawn to boomerang lights connected from above by a red jumper. The solution is clearly designed for the target audience and should be liked by it.
Soul, retaining its cubic form, was brought to Los Angeles in three versions - GT-Line, X-Line and EV. The GT - Line version with a low hanging bumper and a touch of sportiness is clearly created for life in the city. The X-Line pseudo crossover makes a fundamentally different impression. Compared to the urban concept, it looks - but only looks! - rather, like an SUV due to the plastic trim of the wheel arches and bumper, linings on the doors and sills.
The eco-friendly electric Soul EV is generally similar to the “brothers”, but it looks less aggressive without an impressive air intake. EV continues the tradition of the first generation, but still different. The manufacturer gave him a more powerful engine (204 vs 110 hp), and most importantly - a battery with an energy capacity of 64 kWh (in the previous version - 30). So there is reason to expect that the power reserve of the Kia EV will increase significantly. Whether this will actually happen, we will find out when the car will enter the market.
When looking at the new Soul it seems that the doors, especially the front ones, are wider than their predecessors. Sitting behind the wheel, you catch yourself thinking that you got into the car a class higher - inside it clearly became more spacious. But everything is still behind. And although there is an impression that there is plenty of legroom for the rear passengers, it is misleading: the front seats of the Kia Soul show are pretty much pushed forward. If you are driving a man who is taller than average, there will not be much space left behind him - about the same as in the car of the outgoing generation.
The trunk has not fundamentally changed. Yes, he added in volume, but it looks about the same as it was. It seems that the extra centimeters that appeared due to the increase in size went primarily to increase the level of comfort for front passengers.
The Kia Soul salon, although it has become more modern in appearance, has not undergone fundamental changes, but the quality of the finishing materials has clearly improved. The interior design of each version corresponds to its appearance. In general, the buttons and indicators are located in the usual places for owners of Soul.
On the three-spoke steering wheel on the left are the control buttons for the phone and the multimedia system, on the right - cruise control and the on-board computer menu. Under the multimedia screen is a microclimate control unit. In the exhibition model, it is simple, with the usual “twists”. Which, by the way, are pleasant to the touch.
Driving the new Soul is convenient, although looking at the seats, this is not to be expected. But the appearance is deceiving, the seats are thoughtful, with lateral support and height adjustment. The door trim is solid, the door handles are comfortable, under normal human grip.
The exhibition Soul GT-Line is equipped with a 1.6-liter turbo engine with 201 hp. Such a motor goes in combination with a 7-speed robot, there are no other options. It is already known that cars with a 2-liter engine with a capacity of 147 hp will enter the American market. They will be available with either a manual gearbox or a CVT. As for the transmission, the Soul will remain an exclusively front-wheel drive car.
The X-Line, which arrived in Los Angeles, has a 2-liter gasoline engine with 147 hp. Cars in this version will be produced with a manual gearbox (demand for it will most likely be limited) and with a variator. An X-Line with a gun is not expected, exceptions will not be made even for the American market.