Monday, December 16, 2013

Used Car Review - Kia Soul (2009-Current)

On the tenth day of Christmas Myk Belmonte gave to me... ten Kia Souls

2009-Current Kia Soul

Mention the words fun and Korean and you'll hear varying reactions. We all know the Hyundai Tiburon and its replacement, the Genesis Coupe for their Ferrari inspired styling; wholly, the fun Korean cars get buried by rows of Kia Rios and Hyundai Accents. Europe has the funky Kia cee'd exclusive to their continent, but how about the rest of the world? The answer lies on the next paragraph.

Numerous concepts were displayed until its final production model in 2009. The Soul first made its public appearance at the 2008 Paris Motor Show with production commencing in the following year. It was marketed towards the younger crowd with funky styling and fun themed advertisements (oh, the dancing hamsters). For 2013, the vehicle is slated to enter its second generation through a Chicago Auto Show release.

The financial crisis back in 2009 didn't stop Columbian Autocar Corporation to bring the Soul (along with the Sorento and the overpriced Forte sedan and coupe and Mohave SUV) for the Philippine market. The P1M asking price is too much when compared to its rivals and out of reach of its intended market (which are, of course, yuppies). CAC listened and equipped the Soul with a 1.6 engine which later on became the standard engine and resulted to a low price. Available trims include the LX and EX.

Value and Costs
From a brand new price ranging from P800,000 to as high as P1.3M, second hand prices now lie between P530,000 to P830,000 for later models. Repossessed bank lots are your starting point with some selling the 2.0 and for your peace of mind, a 5 year warranty is standard for all Kias.

Since this is a new model, no known problems are popping out which indicates this model is reliable. The 2.0 EX was subject to a 2010 recall that involves its wiring system which links the speaker lights. Maintenance costs is comparable to its closest Japanese rival, the Suzuki SX4 hatchback.

Exterior and Interior
Introverts need not apply here; the Soul is one attention grabbing vehicle thanks to its aggressive lines slabbed in the side, imposing grille, and an angled line in the windows. Couple this with a low stance, you grab attention without the bulk of an SUV. Some models get body stickers which makes people stare at your car. Mike Torpey took care of the vehicle concept, with finishing touches by Peter Schreyer.

Lower models have a black interior, as opposed to the same color scheme of the upper brethren. If you want a 2.0 model, get a decent exterior color (dark shades are better) so as the interior wouldn't look tacky and easy interior cleaning. Controls for the air-con and radio are within reach, a good thing since it is elevated from the dash. The 2.0 EX gets speaker lights which can be flicked on to follow the beat of the music; we would skip this for practical reasons unless you are the barkada's official transportation provider. Occupants for both front and rear would be treated to a roomy cabin, which is a plus point.

Until 2010, the only engine available is the Beta 1,975cc having 144hp at 6,000rpm and 186Nm at 4,600rpm. One advantage of this engine is the availability of both manual and automatic transmissions, which gives you a choice. While it has decent city acceleration, going to the highway at triple digit speeds gives you a noisy and less efficient engine. Going with the Gamma 1,591cc that dishes out 124hp at 6,300rpm and 156Nm at 4,200rpm gives you a more fuel efficient engine while retaining the 2.0's power. Early 1.6 models get a 4-speed automatic with an upgrade to 6-speed in 2012, so hunt for the latter if you can. We go for the lesser engine due to low maintenance costs.

Driving Impressions
Handling defies its 1,200kg weight, it corners with aplomb and the suspension does not give up. When it comes to ride quality, it may be jarring for some and the worse could be experienced when driving through potholes and bumpy roads. Rear visibility is wanting, no thanks to the stylish windows at the rear.

Korean vehicles aren't any more piece of boring boxes. They are now classy while retaining their core values. Want something exciting for this Christmas? A second hand Kia Soul would be a great choice especially depreciation bit this a lot. The money which gives you a cheap brand new sub-compact can give you a Soul. 

The Good:
  • Funky looks
  • Airy cabin
  • Easy to drive
The Bad:
  • Jittery ride
  • Limited rear visibility
  • Not for everyone
The Pick: 1.6 LX

Engines: 1,591cc Gamma and 1,975cc Beta 4-cylinder gasoline
Power: 124hp @ 6,300rpm (1.6), 144hp @ 6,000rpm (2.0)
Torque: 156Nm @ 4,200rpm (1.6), 186Nm @ 4,600rpm (2.0)
Fuel Consumption: 7-9km/L (city), 9-11km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: 4-speed automatic (2009-2011), 6-speed automatic (2012-Current)
Suspension: Front independent McPherson strut, rear torsion beam axle

Price (New): P899,000-P1,320,000
Price (Now): P530,000-P830,000
Rivals: Suzuki SX4, Hyundai i30
On Sale: 2009-Current

Kia Pasay - (02) 852-1490
Kia Quirino Avenue - (02) 564-7872
Kia Manila Bay - (02) 721-4589

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