Friday, September 5, 2008

Where's the SOUL?

An intentional pun from most South Korean product makers, the word SOUL probably was a popularisation of the captial Seoul, which many have made fun of. Interestingly, many SOUL products have captured much media hype and attention. Samsung's SOUL series handsets have such sleek appeal that sales have been a runaway success. Will this be the same for the Kia's new mini-MPV contender?

The SOUL's overall looks reminds me of the Daihatsu Material - boxy, fun and no consideration of any aerodynamics. The SOUL is something I would say being very pretty. It's more of a bold statement meant to show off it's road imposing looks rather than anything else. If there were ever an indicator for eye-friendly cars, the SOUL would have nearly been put out of competition. With this being said, it isn't any different for the Daihatsu Material and it's uglier sibling the Toyota Bb. Both are immensely written with the word ugly all over that they're such unforgettable cars.

But still, they sell and that's why Kia isn't sitting back here. The SOUL re-interprets the wayward design philosophy of Toyota and creates a block of slab that is only differentiated by it's SUV-looking stance. It's a kind of an amalgamation of design theories all coming together at the end to produce something messy like the RX-8. Most all-in one things do in fact. So Kia is showing that it can re-create the "fun" Toyota caters for it fans at a greater value(with their cars always being cheaper). Unless it isn't priced to match European counterparts, the SOUL will find many fans, just like Kia cars.

With Kia making so many good quality cars out there nowadays, the built of this car shouldn't be any bit suspicious, and the interior is a little more refreshing compared to Kia sister models. Good quality soft plastics all over, but I kind of hate the way Hyundai/Kia design their buldging centre coloun-stack. It's supposed to aid the driver by making the button on the dash more reachable, but I would really have preferred to stretch if it would have turned out so ugly. I fancy the brand new sonata interior, but it seems to be a one time effort and they're going back to their planned direction again.

The SOUL isn't a fantastic car, it isn't something great, but it's just the kind of car that makes you wanna say "I want to buy a Kia!". It will capture stares on the road, and make many envious on the tremendous value your car got you. And most importantly, people are finally going to say "You've got a cool car! Oh my god it's a KIA?!?!", and that's a kind of pride you get for parting with your money for this new friend of your garage. Kia cars are really getting good and cool, but Hyundai is going the wrong way. But I think there's more to come from them. More surprises. More fun.