theKEEA crew talks to Kia Motors (UK), Communications Director Stephen Kitson about the 3 stunning Kia Soul concept cars.
A couple of automotive media journalists from UK were lucky enough to receive a kind of highly exclusive invitation to test out the three concept cars.
They went to Kia headquarters in Germany to take those vehicles for a spin.
The vehicles they drove were highly exclusive and worth no less then one million Euros.
- Kia Soul Burner concept car
- Kia Soul Diva concept car
- Kia Soul Searcher concept car
Find more details in the interview here
Steve, concept cars are often just for show – why were Kia able to let journalists drive SOUL?
Kia have a history of not just building concepts as flights of fancy – our concept cars tend to be much more closely linked to reality, so when the Design Team in Frankfurt decided to showcase their ideas for SOUL they used actual pre-production vehicles.
That meant the cars had all the running gear of a normal car and luckily Peter Schreyer said yes when we and Kia Deutschland asked if a lucky few journalists could spend some time behind the wheels.
So how close to the real thing were Soul Diva, Searcher and Burner concept cars?
Well you have to bear in mind what Peter Schreyer and Gregory Guillaume said at Geneva when the cars were unveiled – the concepts show what is possible and the way Kia is thinking about bringing these cars to customers.
The three concepts show the range of personality that is possible and display what could be done to allow Kia Soul to appeal to the biggest possible audience.
I don’t think we will see cars in the showrooms looking exactly like the concepts but people will be able to specify their car so that it reflects their personality much more than with most cars.
What did the journalists think about the three Kia concepts?
I think anyone who read the stories in Auto-Express or The Sun in the UK or FAZ in Germany or watched the video on Auto-Bild TV would get a very clear impression that the media are very excited and intrigued by SOUL – and quite rightly because it is a great car and it shows just where Kia is going in terms of design and character.
SOUL is the clearest possible statement about what Kia wants to do going forward.
The concepts may be some way beyond reality but they show that the Kia brand is going to focused on design and driving pleasure – we want people to enjoy owning a Kia and look forward to getting behind the wheel.
Cars are part of our everyday life and we have to recognise their impact on the environment and make sure we lessen that but they don’t have to be boring!
Where did the journalists test drive the Soul cars?
It was a good location really, because it was a very stark, post-modernist backdrop for three cars that are really going to be urban stars!
And of course all the modern architecture around the Messe linked in nicely to the sharp and edgy design of the concepts.
If you look at the YouTube video you can really get a strong impression of just how the Soul car fit in to a real urban environment.
And the journalists all said that it gave them a real feeling of “context” for the cars that they couldn’t get from the motor show stand.
Which is your favourite Kia Soul concept?
Well I have to say that when I saw them in Geneva I was smacked between the eyes by Burner – it is a real “bad-boy” and has some great detailing such as the dragon tattoo and the pulsing red LED lights in the door-speaker surrounds.
But at the Messe I have to say I was really impressed by Diva – all that gold looked so much better in daylight than under the motorshow lights – when it seemed a bit bling!
I know this may sound like corporate bumph, but I do also think that the Soul Searcher is a bit of a sleeper – it doesn’t shout at you like Diva or Burner, but when you get into it and when you look around the cabin it is a very restful and comfortable place to be.
I think that unless you are a real “party” boy or girl you might just get tired of Burner’s full-on character and Diva’s showiness – then Searcher would be a really cool place to be on the daily commute.
Did the journalists get much time with the concept vehicles?
Not a long time because we had to get four different media outlets through the three cars in one day – as well as doing all the photography, the Auto-Bild filming and the video.
But they got enough time to get a feel for the Kia Soul concept cars.
Could they drive them without any restrictions?
Not quite – these are unique showcars worth millions of euros!
Plus the cars were built to show a philosophy rather than to be driven around the test track so in some cases they were not like road cars and the journalists had to respect that. But they are used to those kinds of restrictions.
And can you tell us the important details about tech spec?
I am afraid not! Some of those elements are still very secret.
But what engines were in the cars?
There has been a lot of speculation and I cannot comment on some of that but I can say we will launch SOUL with 1.6 litre gasoline and diesel engines.
More than that I can’t say just yet!
And when will we be able to see the real thing?
Well watch out for the Paris Show later this year – that is when the final car will get its world debut. Different markets will get the car at different times so I can’t give you a firm answer, but in the UK we hope to have right-hand drive versions in Spring next year.
Finally Steve, did you get to drive the car and what do you think of it?
Sadly I didn’t get to drive…we were there for the journalists so they had to come first.
I didn’t even get to ride in one as I was driving a Sportage so the photographer could get tracking shots.
But I thought it looked fantastic on the move and I am convinced that it is going to be a big hit for Kia right around the world.
I can see it perfectly on the streets of Sydney, Kuala Lumpur, Delhi, Dubai, Milan and New York! I think it truly is a global car!