Kia's Seoul Survivor?

kias seoul survivor

Kia’s dropped $165m to develop its funky new Soul “urban crossover” concept. In hopes of convincing the youngsters to hop on the Seoul train, the Korean brand is showing no fewer than seven versions of the Soul at the upcoming Paris Auto Show. Automotive News Europe [sub] reports that Kia is playing the Sciontology card, hoping to “drive home [sic] the message that the car is personal and customizable.” Though some may cry “gimmickry,” we say gopher it. The MINI sets the standard for small car appeal. Though pistonheads love the Anglo-German sub-compact’s handling and performance, it’s fashion statement qualities are a huge part of its appeal. If Kia can build a cheaper but equally cheerful version of the MINI, complete with the kind of OCD customization that has even non-customers “building their own” online, it will be a huge hit. It seems genuinely attractive too, showing how far the small-car styling game has come, making Chevy’s “small-big-car” approach to the Cruze look instantly dated. You also won’t have to wait until 2010; North American Soul delivery is scheduled to begin in April with hybrid and stop-start versions in the pipeline.

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  • Martin Schwoerer Martin Schwoerer on Sep 26, 2008

    Edward: thanks, I will. Actually, I saw (and wrote about) the Soul in Geneva, March 2008. And not only about the Soul, but also its various permutations -- the Soul Burner, the Country Soul, the Filet of Soul, and the Soul of Wood. (Maybe my memory is playing tricks with me and they didn't show all of those, but I can specifically remember some of them).

  • Shaker Shaker on Sep 26, 2008

    Or, if it's prone to breakdowns: "Soul of Shoe?" Nyuk... nyuk...

  • Turbobeetle Turbobeetle on Sep 26, 2008

    I think it has lost a little too much from the original (unintentional?) prototype picture. I'll have to see one in real life before I judge it and personally I think I'll wait for the Nissan Cube to come state side before I choose which toaster I like best.

  • Akitadog Akitadog on Sep 26, 2008

    Blunozer, I saw a few Suzuki Swifts (Sport trim, no less) up close and personal on a trip to Guatemala last year. They are good-looking little cars and I was smitten (ex-MCS owner, current GTI owner). Though they'll have to up the Sport's power to Cooper S levels to make them a no-brainer purchase in the US.