Kia took the wraps off of the final production version of its rakish Soul mini-crossover at the Paris Auto Salon. In the process, it revealed a number of new details about this high-efficiency package that bode well for its chances to mix it up in a market segment dominated by vehicles like the Scion xB and Honda Element. Due in U.S. Kia dealerships next spring as a 2010 model, this front-drive, five-door lifestyle hatchback is expected to be priced somewhere in the $15,000-$18,000 range and offer two primary trim levels as well a numerous personalization possibilities.
The base version of the U.S.-spec Soul will match a 1.6-liter engine of roughly 110 horsepower with a five-speed manual transmission and include an AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system with USB/AUX inputs and front/front-side/side-curtain airbags, while offering an optional Convenience Package (air conditioning, anti-lock brake, stability control and solar glass). Stepping up a notch will net a Soul with all of the above -- including the Convenience Package goodies -- plus a 138-horsepower, 2.0-liter engine, the choice of five-speed manual transmission or four-speed automatic, keyless remote entry, cruise control, steering wheel-mounted audio controls and 16-inch alloy wheels. Those who simply must have it all will find the Soul options roster include items like performance tires on 18-inch aluminum rims, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, a premium sound system with subwoofer and a power moonroof.