Kia launched its new Soul model at the 2008 Paris Motor Show. This small car gets its basic shape from the Scion xB, with four upright seating positions. Power comes from a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine producing 125 horsepower. Europeans also get a choice of a 1.6-liter four-cylinder diesel engine. Performance isn't spectacular, with a 10.4 second time to 62 mph, but at 42 mpg fuel economy, you will save lots of money.
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The rear hatch opens upward, with a one-touch control on the back. Along with this rear cargo area, there are convenient small storage bins all around the car, including a compartment under the floor of the cargo area.
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The audio system should be pretty impressive in the Soul, with eight speakers, including a subwoofer and a center fill. iPod integration is standard, and a special mood lighting feature comes with the premium audio package. There are LED rings around the front door speakers that can be set to pulse to whatever music is playing. A rear-view camera is also available that shows its image in the rearview mirror.
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Taking a page from Mini, Kia will offer many different customization options at the dealer level, including graphics like these racing stripes, and various wheel options.
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Kia also showed off a prototype for a hybrid Soul model, which adds a 15 kilowatt electric motor to the drivetrain for mild hybrid assistance. This hybrid system increases the total horsepower by 15 and gives it a 6 mpg increase in fuel economy.
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