(SEOUL) September 10, 2013 – An all-new version of the Kia Soul makes its European debut today at the 65th Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung (IAA) in Frankfurt. It is joined by a dramatic new urban B-segment concept vehicle, the Kia Niro, which makes its world premiere, as well as the new bi-fuel Kia Picanto LPG and upgraded Kia Optima.
The all-new Kia Soul stays true to the original iconic design, with modern design cues matched by improved dynamics and a range of economical engines. The smooth new-look exterior is inspired by the 2012 Kia Track’ster concept and introduces a thoroughly fresh, more grown-up appearance without losing its individualistic edge.
The biggest technical change for the new 2014 Soul is the adoption of an all-new platform, based on that of the latest Kia cee’d. The result is greatly improved ride and handling compared with the outgoing model, as well as more mature and composed on-road behavior. The second-generation Soul will also be the best in its class for refinement, a result of the car’s upgraded suspension, 29% stiffer bodyshell and comprehensive soundproofing. Interior noise levels are reduced by approximately three decibels.
Subtly larger dimensions also mean the new model offers buyers a more practical proposition, with a longer wheelbase and wider track contributing to greater cabin space and cargo capacity. Leg, head and shoulder room are increased for all passengers, while the cargo area is increased by 4% to 354 litres (plus additional underfloor storage) with the rear seats upright.
Environmental performance for the new model is also improved. Buyers will be able to choose between the latest versions of Kia’s 1.6-litre GDI gasoline and CRDi diesel engines, as well as six-speed manual and automatic transmissions. Both engines are carried over from the outgoing model, and feature improved efficiency with lower emissions.
The all-new Kia Soul will go on sale across Europe in 2014, when the full model line-up, choice of gasoline and diesel powertrains, performance, economy, equipment specifications and prices will be confirmed.
Kia will also be showing the new Kia Niro, a dramatic new European concept car, which hints at a possible future B-segment contender ready to take on the urban environment with style and tenacity.
The Kia Niro previews an innovative new powertrain, featuring Kia’s turbocharged 1.6-litre ‘Gamma’ engine, developing 160 ps through a seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission. While the engine drives the front wheels, an electric-hybrid system powered from regenerative braking delivers up to 45 ps (33 kW) to the rear wheels – when road conditions require extra grip.
Niro is born out of Kia’s determination to seek new compact car options for urban drivers, and has been created with European tastes and expectations very much in mind. The car was designed at Kia’s Frankfurt design studio – less than a kilometre away from the IAA – under the direction of Gregory Guillaume, Chief Designer Europe.
The new bi-fuel Picanto LPG, developed in response to growing customer demand for small cars with low running costs, is also introduced at the IAA show. The new model is powered by a special version of Kia’s three-cylinder 1.0-litre Kappa engine, producing 67 ps and 90 Nm of torque. The new Picanto LPG promises even lower running costs than conventional gasoline-only Picanto models.
The new variant will record fuel economy in LPG mode of 5.8 l / 100 km and CO2 emissions of 100 g/km – with automatic stop-start (ISG) equipped models achieving 5.6 l / 100 km and 97 g/km.
The new Picanto LPG is fitted with two fuel tanks – the regular 35-litre gasoline tank in the usual position ahead of the rear axle and a 27-litre pressurized LPG tank located beneath the trunk floor in the space previously occupied by the spare wheel. Drivers can switch between gasoline to LPG simply by pressing a button on the dashboard.
The LPG tank and the system’s equipment adds 51 kg to the Picanto’s weight, so in order to maintain brisk acceleration (0-100 kph in 14.5 seconds) the final drive ratio is lowered by 8.6% (from 4.235:1 to 4.600:1). The Picanto’s top speed – 150 kph – is unchanged from the standard 1.0-litre gasoline model.
While its powertrain has been modified, the new Picanto LPG retains all the key assets which have made the smallest Kia so popular throughout Europe, recording annual sales in excess of 50,000 units.
Initially, the European bi-fuel Picanto model will be available in Germany, Italy, Poland, Czech Republic, Greece, Portugal and the Netherlands – where it expected to account for up to 7% of Picanto sales. When it goes on sale later this year, the left-hand drive Picanto LPG will be the first, and only, LPG-powered car in the marketplace with a 7-Year, 150,000 km warranty.
Responding to customer feedback and developments in the ever-competitive European D-segment, the Frankfurt show also sees the introduction of an upgraded Kia Optima, with an enhanced design, new infotainment, convenience and safety features, increased refinement, improved quality and a more premium finish.
Created under the direction of Kia’s Chief Design Officer Peter Schreyer, the upgraded Optima features revised LED daytime running headlights, fog lamps, rear lights, bumpers and wheels.
As well as a visual refresh of the popular sedan model, Kia has also focused on introducing greater refinement to the Optima, one of the key areas for improvement targeted by engineers. Measures adopted to reduce road noise in the new model include fitting a dynamic damper to the rear suspension cross member, improving the vehicle’s sound-proofing and fitting stronger alloy wheels. Combined, these measures have reduced road noise by 3.3 dB
A number of changes designed to enhance engine efficiency have also been adopted, including an overrunning alternator decoupler and an innovative battery management system. As a result, CO2 emissions start from 133 g/km for the 1.7-litre diesel model, and reducing to 128 g/km when fitted with Kia’s optional fuel-saving stop/start ISG system. The Optima is among the lower vehicle tax bands in many European countries.
The already generous equipment level of the original 2011 model is boosted with additional standard and optional premium features for the upgraded Optima, including Drive-Mode-Select (with three driving modes – Normal, Active ECO and Sport) and improved audio and navigation systems with an optional 8-inch screen. The upgraded Optima also features optional new safety equipment, such as Kia’s Blind Spot Detection system, Lane Change Assist and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.
Other options available (depending on model) include: SPAS (Smart Parking Assist System), smart key and start button with automatic folding mirrors; retractable panoramic sunroof; heated rear seats; heated steering wheel; BAS (Brake Assist System); ESC (Electronic Stability Control); HAC (Hill-start Assist Control); and VSM (Vehicle Stability Management).
The upgraded Kia Optima for Europe will go on sale in early 2014.
Kia Motors will host a live stream of its IAA Frankfurt press conference at 11.00 CET on Tuesday 10 September: http://www.kia.com/eu/iaa-frankfurt-2013/
Kia Motors Corporation (www.kia.com) – a maker of quality vehicles for the young-at-heart – was founded in 1944 and is Korea's oldest manufacturer of motor vehicles. Over 2.7 million Kia vehicles a year are produced in nine manufacturing and assembly operations in five countries which are then sold and serviced through a network of distributors and dealers covering around 150 countries. Kia today has over 47,000 employees worldwide and annual revenues of US$42 billion. It is the major sponsor of the Australian Open and an official automotive partner of FIFA – the governing body of the FIFA World Cup™. Kia Motors Corporation's brand slogan – "The Power to Surprise" – represents the company's global commitment to surprise the world by providing exciting and inspiring experiences that go beyond expectations.