September 25th, 2008 by Steve Cypher

The Environment and the Soul Highlight the Kia Exhibit at the 2008 Paris Motor Show.

Kia Soul

Variations on a Theme

Here at, we’ve been looking forward to the production version of the new Kia that will go on sale in the United States sometime next spring. Based on the original Soul concept car that was designed in California at the Kia Design Center, Kia’s newest vehicle is already being built at its Gwangju factory. In addition to the world premiere of the Soul, Mondial de l’Automobile will play host to the unveiling of seven distinctly different interpretations of the Kia Soul theme.

Much like Kia did for the concept car in Geneva with the Soul Searcher, Soul Diva and Soul Burner variations, the seven (count ‘em) versions of the Soul on display in Paris will give show goers a glimpse of how Kia’s newest model can be customized by owners to reflect their own personal tastes. In this respect, Kia hopes to attract young buyers using many of the same marketing and customizing techniques that Toyota used when launching its Scion brand.

In Europe, where it will go on sale shortly, the new Soul will have either a 1.6 liter gasoline engine or a 1.6 liter diesel variant. Both engines will come with a five-speed manual transmission, while an automatic transmission will be an option only on diesel-equipped models. Once it reaches our shores, however, U.S. buyers will have no choice – only a 142 horsepower 2.0 liter gasoline engine will be offered.

Kia Soul

Green, green, it’s green they say

With apologies to the New Christy Minstrels, in addition to the premier of the Soul, Kia will also be displaying four very eco-friendly vehicles. Included in the mix are two gasoline-electric hybrid concepts, one based on the Soul and another derived from the Cee’d (available everywhere else, it seems, but in the U.S.). Kia will also be showing an electric fuel cell version of the Sportage, and a version of the Cee’d equipped with a stop-start system (that allows the engine to shut down for periods when the vehicle isn’t moving, such as at stoplights and when stopped in traffic).

Kia Cee'd

Kia Cee’d Hybrid

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