Korea is not without its domestic automobiles that would be suitable for transporting a visiting head of state: the Hyundai Equus comes to mind. Failing that, a Genesis sedan would do the trick. Maybe even a Kia K900 or a Renault Samsung SM7. But those familiar with Pope Francis and his taste in transportation won't be surprised that His Holiness has chosen something decidedly more modest for his visit to South Korea.

Instead of a more luxurious sedan, the Bishop of Rome has elected to be driven in a Kia Soul, giving the high-roofed hatchback a bigger boost (in the Catholic world, at least) than any quantity of animated hamsters ever could.

The Soul, which was likely reinforced somewhat if the Swiss Guard got its way, was ready for the Holy Father upon his arrival. Francis slid into the back, rolled down the window and waved back at the welcoming party, including President Park Geun-hye. The Pope will reportedly be driven around in the Kia over the course of his five-day visit.

Francis has consistently elected to use decidedly less impressive forms of transportation than his predecessors. He was known to take the bus while serving as a cardinal in Argentina, and even when he's needed a private car (now that he is, after all, the monarch of a sovereign city-state), he's chosen a humble Ford Focus or a 20-year-old Fiat, and encouraged his followers to do the same.

This in contrast with the popes that have come before him, many of whom have been driven around in specially built Mercedes SUVs. Benedict received an electric Renault Kangoo from Carlos Ghosn, and while we're sure he seldom (if ever) drove it, John Paul II received a Ferrari Enzo from Luca di Montezemolo and Michael Schumacher.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 1 Year Ago

      Im not Catholic, but I do like this Pope.

      • 1 Year Ago

      Wonder if the "soul" name had anything to do with it?

      H.E. Pennypacker
      • 1 Year Ago

      that kia soul looks pretty nice. nice blue-black color and wheels. maybe the pope should consider replacing the dancing rats.

      • 1 Year Ago

      A saved soul riding inside of a saved Soul.

      • 1 Year Ago

      Hipster Pope

      • 1 Year Ago

      Actually the Pope gave Kia and the Korean secret service a hard time with this demand, because it would have been much simpler for them if the Pope took a ride in one of the government's existing Armored Equus State Limousine fleet for visiting heads of states.

      Kia tried to figure out how to add armor to the Soul, but couldn't. Now the Pope is riding in an unarmored vehicle and it is up to the secret service agents to literally shield the Pope with their bodies instead.

      Thank God the Pope wasn't shown the picture of Chevrolet Spark and he would have asked for a Spark if he knew one was available.

        • 1 Year Ago

        Thanks for hitting it on the nail.  This is all about PR.  It will likely cost the Koreans more money and heartaches and someone might die trying to shield his ass.  This is not about being humble.  It's about putting on a show.  I think they should have picked him up in one of their usual armoured cars rebadged as a Soul.

          • 1 Year Ago

          Maybe Pope Francis has faitgh that God will protect him.

      Larry Litmanen
      • 1 Year Ago

      No even an acknowledgment for sending Autoblog a tip about this story.

        • 1 Year Ago
        @Larry Litmanen

        I'm sure that your cookie is in the mail.

        It's not like this has been headline news on every outlet.

      • 1 Year Ago

      I want to know what happened to John Paul II's Enzo? Did Luca take it back?

      Hajime1990 #follow
      • 1 Year Ago

      no problem. send em a fiat panda when their president comes to italy.

      • 1 Year Ago

      There is actually an Armored version of Equus limo officials use. Paired with even bigger tau 5.5L

      • 1 Year Ago

      I see what he did there.  But prolly he has a tuned Diablo for runs up to lake Como on the weekends.  

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