News>> A Cool Kia!?!

I have debated writing this post a few times, but I’ve gone ahead and you now have the same dilemma with reading it…or not!

Why could I not decide on posting this? Well, like many people, I’m a little bit of a Badge snobs, be it an Apple Ipod, a BMW, a TAG Heuer, brand positioning, reputation and heritage play a large part in sales and success. Kia, and sister company Hyundai are in the same situation as the likes of Honda and Nissan were in the 70’s. They are improving their product, but the badge turns many away.

Could the new Kia Soul go some way to changing opinions and perceptions? What do you think?

The Soul makes its debut next month at the London motor Show and is due to go on sale in Europe later this year, with North America to follow. Its clear where the inspiration for the Soul and positioning in the market came from! The Scion Xb/Xd (below) and Nissan Cube are obvious competitors. With the fuel and financial crisis around the world, car companies are seeing sales of small vehicles rocket.

The Soul has some great detailing and proportions and, to my eyes, is more successful than the Scion, if its is a bit fussy in places. Shown as a concept at the Geneva show (the over-done black car, above) in March, the Soul has already sparked much interest on automotive forums and this is exactly what Kia needs. Aside from the low-rent rear lights and the black body side mouldings, the production version is a pretty neat design for the class.

Scion has a history of working with car builders on various cars, which then appear at various shows like the Scion above from SEMA. Were starting to hear that Kia are doing similar things.  At the same time, Scion are struggling at the moment. Why is this, has the fashion passed?

There are other signs that Kia are on the move. The strangely named Slovakian built, Cee’d hatch (above) was lunched last year in Europe and has been a massive success for Kia, on par with the class leading Ford Focus (remember- not the American version!) in some European magazines. A production Cee’d even won its class at the recent Nurburgring 24 hours, and then drove back home to Italy!!!

While Kia has already seen its image improve in Europe, the North American importers are stuck with its current bland budget range for now.

The concept above is called ‘KOUP’ and was shown earlier this year at the New York Auto Show. This looks close to production ready and may be a forthcoming model or a taster for the next Spectra. Influenced by Civic Coupe perhaps?

Kia are also due to show five different concepts at the forthcoming London Motor Show next month, including a new Spectra. Much of this success is due to the new Kia European Design Studio in Germany, run by former VW Audi design veteran Peter Schrayer and staffed by many ex GM and Mercedes designers.

Can the Soul move Kia in the direction of ‘coolness’ (is that a word?).  IMHO, there is a little more work to do, but they are heading in the right direction very quickly!

Should Kia be discounted anymore?  Its easy to forget,  the likes of Honda, Toyota and Nissan (Datsun) were perceived the same way in Europe and the US once upon a time!!! – a cool Kia owners site, which I discovered in researching this.



Comments are closed.


by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

i'm interested to see how people react to this post :)


"Not only did the Kia pro_ceed drive itself to the Nürburgring 24-hour race but it managed to win its VLN Diesel "production" class, place 104th overall, and then drive 900km back to Milan where it originated. Additionally, the near standard pro_ceed from Kia Italy with only the minimum amount of safety modifications, which included a roll-cage, fire extinguisher and six-point safety harness as well as some mildly tuned suspension and brakes, had no mechanical failures. Also the tires were street production versions using six 225/35 18-inch ContiSportContact tires for the whole event."



i've always been a big fan of hyundai and kia especially for the fact that a lot of the earlier mid90's to early 2000's models were sharing components and in some cases the same underpinnings as the mitsubishi/chrysler vehicles. I've seen plenty kia's and hyundais with 4g63t swaps and i lurk a lot of the asian based forums, singapore, thailand, taiwan etc. and i have seen very nicely modified kia's and hyundai's there.

i have also recently got to check out the new hyundai genesis coupe in person and saw that they have a 2.0L Turbo 4cylinder motor in the engine bay...yep, its the 4b11t from the new evoX but of course its a detuned version.

my point being is that hyundai and kia have plenty of potential and i have noticed it since way back unfortunately here in the states they dont get much respect here.


Nice to see a brand soar like Kia does. I mean, only ten years ago only geeks bought Kia's... and today they build some very successful cars. Over here in Austria, Kia's smaller SUV's like the Sorento or Sportage are quite popular, mainly because they're the best bang for the buck in their class.

Furthermore, I had several personal experiences with Kia's and Hyundai's. OK, the Hyundai Getz is just crap, but the Kia cee'd family is pretty cool and well built.

The only problem Kia has to manage is the image. And I'm sure they will.


I saw a cee'd in the UK when I was back home at Christmas and I was really impressed, they have come alongh way since the Kia Pride :)


A Kia with a 400hp 4G63 would be the ultimate sleeper/shame car.

Taking out a Vett with a hopped up Kia would be priceless.


ill say those concepts llok pretty cool. but i wont say much more than that till they actually make these into production cars.


Hmm over here in The Netherlands driving a Kia still doesn't attract any girls :)


RE: Umai Kakudo.

Google search for Hyundai Sonata 4g63t swap. has a few videos of some early 90's Sonata's with 4g63t swaps one especially pushing 400hp. =] the early/mid 90's hyundais/sonatas aren't the greatest looking cars but they are pretty much an ultimate sleeper...even the owners who do the swaps try to keep their cars looking stock as much as possible just to put shame on those who least suspect it.


Nice article but there's a little mistake: the cee'd is assembled in Slovakia - not in Slovenia.


corrected. thanks :)


The Soul is interesting, but they still have a rather disjointed language, particularly after Schreyer came in....they've all gone a bit German, but without the interesting new language from some of the show cars in the last few years, or iconic references. But you're right Andy, it is more successful than the Scion, and certainly more resolved, but it is going to do for the segment what the Nissan Qashqai did for C segment cars. A good competitor (wait, scratch that)...a competitor it won't be... is the new Mini Crossman (crap name, thanks to ze BMW marketing...) which you'll all see in October in Paris. And the new X1 will debute as well. This is firmly the trend for the next few years, small scale CUV/SAVs.


dont forget the production VW Up