By on November 11, 2011

TTAC readers have suffered through my weird crush on Kia’s Picanto/Morning-based “Tam” for months now, patiently indulging my fascination with a car that’s so niche it won’t even be sold in Europe. But with Kia showing off these production images of what will be known as the Kia Ray, it seems that a lot of what I found so beguiling about this A-segment MPV will make it to production. What we’re looking at is a tiny A-segment micro-van, with the Picanto/Morning‘s 1.0 three-banger or 1.25 liter four. And, as we suspected based on early prototype shots, the car has three standard doors and one mini-slider on the passenger side, confirming that this funky little cube is half Kia Soul, half Hyundai Veloster. At a little over $11k, the Ray will also be a relatively cheap Kia, which is why it’s focused on Asian markets like Korea and China… but it’s probably too small to ever make it to the US or Europe. Scion is probably breathing a small sigh of relief…

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13 Comments on “Weird Crush Update: Kia’s “Soulster” Is The Kia Ray...”


  • avatar
    garythompson

    I rather like the cute hamster with his cheeks full face and like the practical small box shape. I agree it would probably steal all the original xB fans away from scion. The rear is a little awkward, but that bumper protrusion probably affords a little more crush zone than the flat back of the xB. It would be a great little runaround for local shopping.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    The cars are getting weirder every day, yet somehow, the practicality increases. Is it for me? No. I need a highway cruiser at present. For someone with a short commute, this would be a nice vehicle to have around.

    Note to KIA: I hate hamsters. Use dogs.

  • avatar
    Lemmiwinks

    I think I’m in love.

  • avatar

    Cube breaths a small sigh of relief too.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    I think I like it. It kind of looks like a 3 way lovechild between the Soul, 1st gen xB, and the Cube, but I’m having trouble figuring out the proportions since there is nothing in the any of the pictures for reference. Then again, that’s probably the point.

    For the US they would probably have to double the displacement and figure out how to get a sub 10 second 0-60 because that is one metric that “everybody” cares about, apparently.

    • 0 avatar
      Banger

      “looks like a 3 way lovechild between the Soul, 1st gen xB, and the Cube,”

      You’ve just described Kia’s design philosophy in a nutshell: Copy Elements (see what I did there?) of every other company’s designs, combine them into a vehicle that sits solidly mid-pack in terms of vital stats and price, and ta-daaa! You’ve just penned the next new Kia.

      “but I’m having trouble figuring out the proportions since there is nothing in the any of the pictures for reference. Then again, that’s probably the point.”

      Having worked in a corporate public relations department in a previous life, I can tell you that was *exactly* the point.

      “double the displacement and figure out how to get a sub 10 second 0-60 because that is one metric that “everybody” cares about, apparently.”

      How often do you find yourself needing to get 0-60 in less than 10 seconds? Honestly? Yeah, me neither. While you’re spot on with your comment, I, too find this fascination with acceleration time absurd in our country. Especially in the age of ever-increasing gasoline prices.

  • avatar
    RegistrationPlease

    I like it. Cool little car. It’d be great for the bulk of my driving – short trips.

  • avatar

    Me thinks your “weird crush” is an inherited genetic trait.

  • avatar
    Felis Concolor

    I want to go where the skinny girls walk
    I want to go where the skinny girls talk
    Oh you can fit more in your car
    And they drink less at the bar
    I want to go where the skinny girls are

  • avatar
    eldard

    Looks like a happy car. So they’re copying Mazda now?

  • avatar
    ciddyguy

    I like this, reminds me of the old Mitsubishi LRV/Expo tall wagons.

    The larger Expo sold here in the US as both the Dodge/Plymouth Colt Vista wagons beginning in 1983 and later as the Mitsubishi Expo had conventional doors and was available as a 3 row in some markets.

    The smaller Expo LRV was a shorter wheelbase version of the same car but it had a single sliding door on the passenger side.

    However, I do see similarities to the Soul, the Cube in its general shape though.

    Tall boxy wagons like this are as much hatchback as they are wagons, which is why I’ve always loved the tall Tercel and Civic wagons of yore over the present day Civic based CR-V, which is more mini SUV in stance than anything else.

  • avatar
    niky

    They’d need to add a turbo to get close to ten seconds.

    With the 1 liter 3-pot, the Kia Morning takes about fifteen seconds to hit 100 km/h (equivalent to a 14+ 0-60 time). But still… that car has a whole lot of character.

    I can’t wait to get ahold of the Ray. Since Korea is a left-hand drive market, gray imports should come to our shores quite quickly.


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