Kia brings fresh Soul to SA crossover market

  • Mid-life refresh brings new turbodiesel
  • Three models, six variants and auto
  • Best value under R400 000 claimed
2017 KIA SOUL IN SA: Image: Kia SA
2017 KIA SOUL IN SA: Range of models, each updated for as a facelift than a new model – though a new turbodiesel model is present. Image: Kia SA

KIA’S 2017 SOUL crossover has brought overall design updates and a new turbodiesel engine for its facelifted entry-level model to South Africa eight months after the car’s ‘reveal’ at the Paris auto show in September 2016.

The first, quirky, SUV-style familywagons reached SA in November 2014. Since then the instantly recognisable car has been voted a 2015 SA Car of the Year semi-finalist and 2016 Car magazine ‘Best Buy’.

Kia SA sees the Soul as an anti-establishment crossover that “defies traditional classification with the space and practicality of an MPV and the quality and features of an SUV, wrapped in the dimensions of B-segment crossover”.

2017 KIA SOUL IN SA: Image: Kia SA
2017 KIA SOUL IN SA: Make your smartphone cosy while it charges and feeds stuff to the audio system. Image: Kia SA

David Sieff, Kia SA’s marketing director, told The Corner: “The Soul has always provided something a little different – a great way for people to express themselves in a practical, funky, way – with the features and the quality people expect from Kia.”

A new model is among the MY2017 units: the Soul 1.6 Start powered by a 1,6-litre, 94kW (at 4000rpm) / 260Nm (1900-2750rpm) diesel engine and a six-speed manual (no auto available) transmission.


The Soul Start has a radio with RDS, MP3/AUX/USB jacks, Bluetooth and six speakers, central locking, immobiliser, rear camera, auto-dimming rearview mirror, four electric window lifts, heatable exterior mirrors/indicators and a leather-wrapped steering-wheel.

Crash injury avoidance/mitigation items include anti-lock brakes, six crash bags, adjustable head restraints, impact-sensing auto door releases and IsoFix child seat anchors.

2017 KIA SOUL IN SA: Image: Kia SA
2017 KIA SOUL IN SA: Lights front and rear have been remodelled, some with high-intensity discharge illumination.  Image: Kia SA

“The Start,” says Kia SA sales director and deputy MD Gary Scott, “is probably the best-built, most spacious and best-specced diesel crossover below R400 000 (well below at R329 995 – Ed).

“That’s exceptional value –  a test drive will more than confirm its virtues.”


Kia has done nothing to detract from the cars’ distinctive shell design and tiger’s nose grille – just as well! – though the whole 2017 range has amended front bumpers/front foul-weather lights and a metallic skid plate “for a more robust, sportier, appearance”.

The Soul’s rear bumper has also been remodelled and a skidplate added along with redesigned rear foul-weather lights and reflectors. Entry-level units have fresh alloy wheel rims; those on the Street and Smart units are unchanged.

Cabin revisions are minimal: Start units’ cloth upholstery as been redesigned, Street and Smart units keep their black leather interior but “cabin ambience” has been enhanced with gloss-black and metallic highlights and switches.

2017 KIA SOUL IN SA: Image: Kia SA
2017 KIA SOUL IN SA: Most units have leather upholstery, manual or auto gearboxes are variously available, and there’s no denying the Kia quality image. Image: Kia SA

There are three models and six derivatives in the Kia Soul range of Start, Street, and Smart: apart from the new turbodiesel at entry level, the Start is also available with a 91kW/152Nm 1.6 petrol engine turning a six-speed manual or a six-speed auto transmission

Mid-spec Street units are manual shift only. They come with all the Start’s specification but add glovebox chilling, power-folding external mirrors, smart-key/push-button ignition and leather upholstery, stability control, hill-start assistance and emergency-braking pressure.

Apart from the 94kW 1.6 turbodiesel engine, the Street has a two-litre, 116kW/192Nm petrol engine.

READ MORE Kia product features on Carman’s Corner

Topping the range are two Smart which add front and rear parking radar, high-intensive discharge projection headlights and diode daytime running lights, diode rear combination lights, cruise control, power seat adjustment and cabin mood lighting.

The Soul 2.0 Smart has a six-speed auto transmission, the Soul 1.6 CRDI Smart a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The turbodiesel Smart engine’s output is 100kW at 4000rpm and 300Nm from 1900-2750rpm – marginally more than that with the manual transmission. (Prices listed below image.)

2017 KIA SOUL IN SA: Image: Kia SA
2017 KIA SOUL IN SA: No failing to identify a Kia Soul. The quirky crossover is uniquely different on South Africa’s roads. Image: Kia SA

Soul 1.6 Start – R309 995
Soul 1.6 CRDI Start  – R329 995
Soul 2.0 Street – R347 995
Soul 1.6 CRDI Street – R376 995
Soul 2.0 Smart a/t – R391 995
Soul 1.6 CRDI Smart DCT – R431 995

A sunroof can be specified for the Soul 2.0 Smart and 1.6 CRDI DCT (add R12 500).
Each unit will be delivered with a five-year unlimited distance warranty, five-year unlimited distance roadside assistance and four-year or 90 000km service plan.

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