• Oct 28th 2010 at 5:01PM
  • 17

The latest version of the Kia Soul, unveiled just days ago in Brazil, adds even more flexibility to the mix. Appropriately called the Soul Flex, this vehicle's ability to run on any ethanol-gasoline mixture, be it 100 percent gasoline or straight ethanol, is its main draw. Kia claims that the Soul Flex is the first Korean model to offer this sort of fueling capability. For now, at least, the ethanol-ready Soul is bound only for Brazil, a nation which is so fond of its ethanol that so-called "flex" models capture more than 85 percent of new car sales.

Kia boasts that the Soul Flex offers a remarkable 44-percent improvement in fuel efficiency compared to the existing gasoline-only model and modifications made to the vehicle's 1.6-liter engine boost both horsepower and torque to levels that the gas-only version can only dream of. Okay, maybe the spike in power isn't that substantial, but a revised catalyst system, new fuel injectors and increased engine compression combine to raise horsepower by 3.2 percent and boost torque by 3.7 percent; that's enough to make the Soul Flex a more capable runner than its gas-only sibling. Hit the jump to learn more about the most flexible Soul Kia has ever offered.

[Source: Kia Motors]

PRESS RELEASE


Kia introduces new Soul Flex at Brazilian Motor Show

- First Ever Ethanol-Gasoline powered model from Korea
- Superb fuel economy & powertrain with 128 ps and 16.5kg-m of torque

(SEOUL) October 27, 2010 – Kia Motors is celebrating the world premiere of its new fuel efficient, ethanol-gasoline powered Soul Flex today (Wednesday), at the 26th Salao Internacional do Automovel, in S?o Paulo, Brazil.

Kia's Soul Flex is the first Korean FFV (Flexible Fuel Vehicle) which can run on an ethanol-gasoline mixture, 100% ethanol or 100% gasoline. It is especially designed for the Brazilian market, where 'flex' models account for more than 85% of the new car sales.

Currently, Brazil is ranked No2 in the world, in terms of ethanol production, and consequently its motorists enjoy the low cost of ethanol, which is priced at 40% less than gasoline. As well as lower fuel costs, the industrial product tax (purchase tax) on new flex vehicles is only 11%, 2% lower than gasoline models.

The newly-introduced Soul Flex, with its unique exterior design features, boasts a 44% improvement in fuel efficiency compared with the existing gasoline model and superior power (128 ps) and torque (16.5 kg-m) outputs, which are improved by 3.2% and 3.7% respectively from the original model (Table-1).

Differences from the gasoline model include the newly adapted fuel injection & catalyst system as well as engine compression ratio – changes which combine to achieve enhanced fuel economy.

Changes made to accommodate the more abrasive nature of ethanol fuel include reinforcing the fuel pump, pillar cap and fuel line, and fitting a gasoline tank assistance system in order to aid engine ignition at low temperatures.

Kia Motors will begin exporting Soul Flex to Brazil this month, with the new models going on sale at Kia dealerships early next year. Kia is planning to introduce an all-new Sportage 'Flex' model at the end of next year, and Kia will further strengthen its presence in Brazilian market as new flex models are to be introduced in each market segment.

So far in 2010, Brazil has been one of Kia's best performing markets, with sales increasing by 151% year-on-year, reaching 40,865 units up to the end of September.

To strengthen its current sales momentum, Kia plans to take advantage of its involvement with 2014 Brazil FIFA World Cup from the early stages, as a major sponsor of the world's biggest sporting event.

Maximizing the impact of this sponsorship and the introduction of new models, such as Flex models and new SUVs tailored to suit local consumer demands, Kia plans to expand its sales volume in Brazil as well as Central & South American market.


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  • 17 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Damn! that's good power coming out of a low revving 1.6L motor.
      44% gain in fuel economy? double rainbow all the way!!

      Bring that thing here! Carney needs a new ride.
        • 4 Years Ago
        They are probably referring to the direct injection motor VS the old low-rung 1.6L motor... plus ethanol MPG gains.

        The new DI 1.6L is supposed to hit 40mpg hwy or more! The base Soul is rated at 26/31mpg, so there is plenty of room for improvement.

        Yeah, it does seem outrageous though, doesn't it.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Low revving? Compared to what?
        Look at that engine is the US soul, 122hp@6300, 115ft-lbs@4200
        • 4 Years Ago
        44% ? I'm sure it's just a "typo". The gas only engine is not that bad. Lets wait some hard numbers.

        The ~5% more power when on E100 is credible as it happens with most engines. For the same air breathing there is the extra Oxygen in the ethanol. (It's a very light version of what happens with the us of nitro/NOS).

        FIAT, VW, GM, Ford, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Renault, Peugeot, Citroen, ..., already offer most cars with flex fuel engines. It's nice to see Hyundai-Kia joining them.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I am beginning to see a fair amount of these Kia Souls out on the road, looks like they are going to be popular.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Seriously, 44% improvement is legit. Maybe I should start spying on Kia's powertrain design team and straight up giving secrets to every other automaker. I'd love to see that kind of improvement in a more sporty car platform...
      • 4 Years Ago
      44% better than what mileage?
      it's tall and aero like a brick. not green at all

      kudos to Brazil for running without fossil fuel assuming they don't use fossil fuel to make the bio ethanol.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Add 13.64 to 31 and you get 44.64 mpg. Peak horse power at 6k rpms 2.0 142 horse power. They have plans for building a 1.6 liter mated to a stick, no automatics in the 1.6 liter.

      So it gets 44.64 mpg and 3.2% more tork using ethanol. Does it get 44.64 on gas as well with these engine mods?
      • 4 Years Ago
      "Changes made to accommodate the more abrasive nature of ethanol fuel include reinforcing the fuel pump, pillar cap and fuel line, and fitting a gasoline tank assistance system in order to aid engine ignition at low temperatures."

      lol, it's called corrosion not abrasion. Did we get a poor translation?

      And it is low revving for an economy 4 banger. 6k is nothing for a 4 cylinder and normal for an economy car from this Millenium. Example, the Honda Fit makes peak power at 6600RPM and has for several years.

      Brazil has small displacement 4 cylinder engines and manual transmission cars that can run on Flexfuel or pure Alcohol. If only they didn't have large snakes and speak primarily Portuguese.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is the standard that the US gov't should require for car-makers in the US in order for them to get CAFE credits for FlexFuel vehicles.

      Right now we are selling all the wrong vehicles as FlexFuel vehicles. They aren't optimized for ethanol, and they aren't fuel efficient cars. They are mostly low compression V8 guzzlers that make the least sense to fill with E85. Kia, along with other car companies around the world have already proven that FlexFuel can be done much better than how it is currently done by US car makers (including Volvo and Saab who were under the Ford and GM roofs).

      The technology is out there. The cars are out there. Now they need to change the CAFE incentives so that the first generation of FlexFuel vehicles are replaced with this next generation of cars that actually get good MPG on ethanol.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Ethanol isn't "abrasive" - it doesn't have grit in it like Comet cleanser - but it is corrosive to inferior materials that haven't been designed for it.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Nixon is spot on. E85 has 105 octane, enabling compression ratios around 12:1 in standard engines, and higher in DI systems (because of the cooling). But not now if you buy a GM Dodge or Ford "Flex Fuel" model, they have standard compression around 10:1 at best.

      ""right now we are selling all the wrong vehicles as FlexFuel vehicles. They aren't optimized for ethanol, and they aren't fuel efficient cars. They are mostly low compression V8 guzzlers that make the least sense to fill with E85. Kia, along with other car companies around the world have already proven that FlexFuel can be done much better than how it is currently done by US car makers (including Volvo and Saab who were under the Ford and GM roofs).""
      • 4 Years Ago
      Why do auto makers only sell future proof vehicles in Brazil?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Where's the hampsters?
        • 4 Years Ago
        They are busy rockin' the block down. E100 and RedBull street party!

        Besides, their agents said they wouldn't do the Brazil gig for anything less than 100 g's.
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