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2008 Geneva Motor Show: Kia Soul concepts and eco_cee'd duo star

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND - Three Kia SOUL concepts unveiled by the Kia Motors Corporation at the 78th Salon de l’Automobiles today (Tuesday), reveal a whole new ‘fun’ side to the Korean brand. Also on display in Switzerland are two ‘eco_cee’d’ concept cars, the mind-changing Kia pro_cee’d and upgraded Kia Picanto small car.

The concept cars – SOUL Diva, SOUL Burner and SOUL Searcher – were created by Kia’s European design team under the guidance of Kia’s Chief Design Officer, Peter Schreyer. The trio of concept cars is closely related to a new production car which will make its World Premiere at the Paris Show in September.

“The all-new Kia production car will appeal especially to the young-at-heart – whatever their age! It will defy classification and encourage customers to build an emotional bond with their new car by providing a creative platform that they can customize to match their own character,” declares Gregory Guillaume, Chief Designer Kia Motors Europe.

“For Geneva, the Kia design team simultaneously developed three concepts with very different executions to hint at the ‘world of possibilities’ open to future customers. SOUL Diva, SOUL Burner and SOUL Searcher were envisaged as three equal co-stars at Geneva, members of a team going through an urban adventure together,” adds Guillaume.

Kia SOUL Diva

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

The Kia SOUL Diva has been created as a fashion accessory for a style-conscious young-at-heart woman who regards her car to be as important as her entire outfit. SOUL Diva is like a supermodel with an aura of glamour, a bit flashy but playful and fun!

Inside, SOUL Diva presents a black, white and gold world of leather and glitter – all beautifully and evenly lit by the full-length tinted glass panoramic roof. Turning the cabin into a stylish lounge, the seats are upholstered in glossy black imitation leather using ‘quilted’ stitching and trimmed to look like sofas. Even the cabin floor presents a tactile treat, with black long-pile ‘Pony-hide’ carpet that simply begs to be stroked.

Kia SOUL Burner

The Kia SOUL Burner is the ‘bad boy’ of Kia’s three new concept characters. A ‘show-off’ complete with dragon tattoos. From the outside, it is a mean, totally black beast with sparse flashes of scarlet. The tattoos are gloss black on the black satin paintwork, which shows a large dragon creeping over the bonnet. On the other side, a small dragon climbs up the C-Pillar.

The front bumper is equipped with L-shaped day-light LED driving lamps around the outer edges. At the rear, two vertical exhaust pipes are placed at the extremes of the bumper. Inside SOUL Burner, the four individual sports seats and entire cabin trim are divided horizontally. Above the split, everything is finished in a rich matt red, below all is deep black.

Kia SOUL Searcher

The Kia SOUL Searcher is the concept that provides a haven of tranquility within the urban jungle, a comfort-zone on four wheels. It sets out to capture the spirit of Korean and Far Eastern culture with a focus on achieving personal inner peace and creating a calm cocoon for the occupants. Exuding casual confidence, the colors are muted, the textures are soft and the road presence is discreet.

An old, lived-in, leather finish is applied to the bonnet, the powered, folding roof and tailgate panel, plus the dashboard, door panels and steering wheel rim. Inside, grey-beige felt is used to cover the floor and the seats for an ambience of comforting domesticity that banishes pandemonium.

‘Eco-friendly’ technologies destined for 2009 Kia cee’d

Kia is also exhibiting two new ‘green-performance’ concept cars at Geneva. Called ‘eco_cee’d’ the concept cars are a development of the highly-acclaimed Kia pro_cee’d (first shown at the Frankfurt Show last year) and the hugely popular cee’d five-door hatchback.

With the eco_cee’d models, Kia aims to achieve even better fuel consumption, with fewer emissions – while still delivering a lively, spirited and entertaining drive. Kia Motors has already confirmed that many of the technologies featured on the eco_cee’d concept cars will be progressively transferred to the cee’d family of production models, manufactured from December 2008.

“The rapid transfer of green-performance eco_cee’d concept features into production versions of the cee’d, demonstrates Kia’s vision for the way ahead,” enthuses Mr Paul Willis, COO Kia Motors Europe. “Our new ‘eco’ features also confirm Kia’s commitment to creating environmentally friendly production models – without losing sight of customer expectations for fun-to-drive cars.”

The impressive performance, fuel economy and emissions figures of the eco_cee’d cars result from numerous small but significant modifications. Fuel consumption is improved (just 3.9 litres/100km) and C02 emissions reduced – to just 104 g/km (down 17%) for pro_cee’d and 106 g/km (cee’d five-door).