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Journeys : Dec Jan 2010
He says Darren Moody Life on the move When I was handed the keys to the Soul with its Vanilla Shake paintwork and boxy styling, the initial impression wasn't all that fantastic. The model on test was a mid spec Soul2, (that's squared), 5-speed manual with a 1.6l turbo diesel 94kW/260Nm engine. Despite some turbo lag, this is a great little combination. The engine is relatively quiet and offers outstanding mid-range torque that was good for handling Hobart's hillier suburbs, even with a car full of people. Highway cruising was fine, with road noise suppression extremely good, despite the openness of the cabin. I averaged 6.5l/100km, but spent a lot of time in the suburbs, so I would expect lower numbers with more highway cr uising. A 1.6l petrol version is available, as is a 4-speed auto transmission option. At $26,690 plus on roads, the diesel version demands an additional $3000 over the petrol. The auto will add another $2000. Riding on standard 16" alloy wheels and slightly lower-profile tyres, handling was better than expected. There was the usual understeer if pushed, but it was predictable enough. Rough road surfaces (and there are plenty of them at the moment) were handled without too much fuss. I wasn't totally convinced by the electrically- assisted steering, as it appeared to go to sleep while travelling in a straight line and took a moment to awaken when I tur ned the wheel slightly. As an ergonomics double-check I usually throw the keys to my better half and wait for a phone call -- "How do I make this work?" or "I can't get it to ..." Yes, I got a call. "I can't get it into reverse!" A trick for all those who hadn't driven a Holden Camira in the 80s -- there's a little sleeve on the shift that needs to be pulled up when selecting reverse. Other than that, it got the tick, with extra points for both iPod and USB connectivity. Soul has a never-ending list of options, but a couple that caught my attention included adjustable interior mood lighting that can change based on the music you are playing, or a reversing camera with the display in the rear vision mirror. Inside there was plenty of room for all passengers, even for those above-average size. Entry and exit was as good as anything I have driven recently. I thought the seats were a little fir m and flat. Despite the small-looking rear boot/hatch area externally there was quite a deal of space available, although with more height than depth. Six airbags, stability control, active head restraints, ABS, EBD and driver's seatbelt reminder give a 4 star ANCAP crash rating (see box above). Kia is rapidly climbing the vehicle quality and design ladder, with this model a fine example. Kia knows the styling of the Soul will mean it isn't for everyone -- they have aimed this squarely at Gen Y buyers. Limited numbers available in Australia will mean it will have some exclusivity about it, so if you dare to be different, this funky-style, well-rounded package may appeal to your inner soul. Kia Australia has advised that there will be a change in production for the Australian Soul. From the August 2009 build. ESC and seat belt reminders for all seats will be standard on all models. This means that ANCAP will be able to issue a replacement rating of 5 stars for the Soul later in the year. Looking for a new car? Ex-Tasmanian Government vehicles, most about two years old with 40,000km RACT Roadworthy Inspection with each vehicle (includes pre-registration certificate) Viewings and fixed price on Saturdays from 9am-2pm or Mondays from 8am Auctions every Tuesday at 11am 56 Sunderland Street, Derwent Park 6428 Buy with confidence at Pickles Auctions www.ract.com.au 21 December 09 / January 10
October November 2009
Feb March 2010