Kia’s Lineup Expands for 2009
Kia’s display concept at the 2007 North American International Auto Show was a concept called the Kue, but their announcement about last year’s concept is bigger news. At the 2006 North American International Auto Show, Kia showed a four-door SUV called Soul. This year, Kia announced that the Soul will be built in Korea and imported for U.S. sales. No specifics were given, other than the plan to have it in dealers sometime during 2008 (2009 model year).
Does Kia have room for three SUVs? It may seem illogical to need SUVs on top of SUVs, but Soul could be to the Sportage what Ford’s Edge is to their Escape. With more SUV look than substance, this entry could have the cargo/people hauling advantages of a box but reduce the fuel-cost disadvantage.
Many of the concept’s more outrageous elements, like the fold-out laptop computer, aren’t likely for production, but a 2.0L four-cylinder engine and a front-drive-base are good bets, as is optional AWD. Bluetooth, advanced ambient lighting, power liftgate, and an advanced audio system with auxiliary inputs are some features that might make the transition. Cost is a bigger deterrent for those features than technology or engineering. Kia claimed the concept Soul’s rear-hinged second door setup met safety standards, but we’re skeptical about the likelihood of anything but traditional, forward-hinged doors in real life. (For more about concept Soul’s features and images, click to our 2006 concept report here.)