Kia has injected more attitude into the urban Soul SUV with the release of a turbocharged model in New Zealand. The new Kia Soul 1.6 Turbo, which has just gone on sale at a recommended $37,990 plus on road costs, is another step in the fulfillment of a promise by the Korean manufacturer to make motoring more fun and enjoyable.
It’s the second turbocharged model to be released by Kia in this market recently, following the release of the Optima GT Turbo.
Powered by the 1.6-litre T-GDI engine, which comes straight from the performance oriented Pro_Cee’d GT, it becomes the most powerful Soul ever engineered by Kia, delivering 150kW (201hp) and a prodigious amount of torque across a wide torque band – the 263Nm peak is available from 1,500rpm through to 4,500rpm.
All that power and torque is directed to the tarmac through Kia’s own 7-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT), which is the first time this gearbox has been fitted to a Kia vehicle in New Zealand. Kia’s DCT takes the best of manual and automatic transmissions, combining them to deliver faster, smoother gear changes and improved fuel economy over a traditional automatic transmission (an impressive 6.9L/100km combined fuel use).
The new transmission features a pair of dry clutches and two input shafts, allowing for seamless torque delivery between shifts, as well as the ability to immediately jump to any of its seven gears, depending on what the driver needs at any given time. The driver also has the choice of Normal, Eco, and Sport modes to personalise the transmission changes to suit their style.
“The Soul has always exuded personality, and with the injection of a little more spark the Turbo model has got a huge personality – it’s so much fun to drive,” says Todd McDonald, General Manager of Kia Motors New Zealand.
The new Soul 1.6 Turbo can sprint from 0 to 100km/h in little more than 7.5 seconds and has a top speed of 196km/h. Larger brakes provide additional stopping power, while the suspension is tuned for a blend of ride comfort and good road holding on the special 10-spoke, 18-inch alloy wheels and low profile tyres.
Outwardly, the Kia Soul 1.6 Turbo sports its own prominent grille and bumper with LED fog lights, bifunction HID Xenon headlights incorporating unique LED daytime running lights, SUV-style side body mouldings with a red pin stripe and twin exhaust pipes at the rear.
The attitude continues inside, where the most powerful Soul carries a distinctive colour scheme featuring black cloth and leather upholstery with orange stitching and a ‘D-shaped’ steering wheel.
The new Kia Soul 1.6 Turbo also features a rear view camera, new USB port in the rear, 8-way power adjustment and electric lumbar support for the front driver’s seat, climate control, keyless entry and push-button start, plus rain-sensing wipers. Active safety features include Blind Spot Detection, Lane Change Assist and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert.
The Kia Soul 1.6 Turbo is available in three colour choices; Clear White with Inferno Red roof, Titanium Silver and the exclusive Cherry Black.
The newcomer joins the 1.6-litre Urban and the 2-litre Limited models in the Soul range in New Zealand, which also received a minor facelift for 2017.
As with all Kia passenger and SUV models, the Soul range comes with Kia’s standard 5- year/100,000km warranty programme and roadside assistance package.