Steering Column 15.08.08

Soul can

ONE of the cars I’m most looking forward to in the near future is the Kia Soul and as the Korean car company gathers pace towards production, it’s now releasing more pictures and technical details.

Boxy by conventional standards, the little five-door hatchback has the potential to be a real head-turner and develop a cult following and I, for one, and very much looking forwards to getting my hands on one for a test drive.

When I say we’re getting some more details, they really are very few details. We’re told it’ll be slightly shorter than the Kia cee’d, but almost as wide and quite a bit taller… and other than confirming it’ll only be available as a five door, and that it’ll have front-wheel-drive, that’s about it.

What it means is the suspension system will have to be pretty good to make sure the extra height doesn’t mean extra wallow through the corners. Just because it’s small, doesn’t mean it should compromise on ride quality.

The managing director of Kia Motors (UK) Ltd. Paul Philpott, says the Soul will give the British car buyer something new and exciting with excellent quality and value – which implies the price will be affordable. Hopefully all will be revealed when the first production model is shown to the world at the 2008 Paris Motor Show in October. Full production begins in November.

Green motoring

From limited information to limited numbers and limited extras now. Daihatsu is bringing out a limited edition of its baby four-wheel-drive, the Terios, and calling it the Kiri.

Unlike some special editions that run to the likes of upgraded audio kit, milled alloy gearknobs and a cow’s worth of hide on the sports seats, the Kiri gives you, “unique metallic green paint, roof rails, special five-spoke 16-inch alloy wheels… a hard spare wheel cover, leather-covered steering wheel, front fog lamps and special Kiri graphics.” Only 250 will be built.

Built on the standard Terios 1.5 S, it costs an extra £900 giving it an on-the-road price of £13,895. There’s nothing at all wrong with the standard car – it’s got lots of kit on it already, it’s won awards from off-road magazines and it’s tremendous value for money – particularly considering its five year guarantee and roadside assistance. But as for the Kiri… well if you don’t like green cars for a start, you’re scuppered.

Free van service

Vauxhall is offering a useful little package on all of its commercial vehicles right now. If you buy a new van between now and the 2nd of October, you can have free servicing for the next five years or 100,000 miles.

Available to private or small business customers, it can be combined with a three-year zero per cent finance deal if you can put down a 20 per cent deposit.

Only the operators of fleets up to a maximum of twenty-five vehicles can apply for the deal, and it’s available from the tiny Corsavan, up through the mid-range Astravan and Vivaro, to the big Movano.

Mike Grundon


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