Kia postpones the introduction of Rio and Soul models with stop/start

Article by Christian Andrei, on January 23, 2012

Kia has postponed the introduction of the 2012 Kia Rio or Soul with stop/start to the second quarter. When interviewed by WardsAuto, Michael Sprague, vice president-marketing for Kia Motors America, said that this fuel-sipping technology is new and the company just wants to guarantee that consumers get the experience they expect.

Kia engineers had to modify the technology due to comments from media members who have driven the stop/start-equipped Rios and Souls.

Kia’s executives refer to this technology as ISG (Idle, Stop and Go). The reviewers’ complaints include a perceptible shock, frequently observed in many vehicles with stop/start systems. This is when the engine automatically shuts down at idle and then restarts. Sprague said that the sales delay gives Kia the chance to give its dealers more training so that they could explain the technology better to customers.

Kia wants the attention of its marketing campaigns to be on the stop/start in Rio and Soul. However, Sprague said that the automaker will likely direct the consumers to a website video instead of attempting to use a commercial to describe the technology. Kia said that in most conditions (except extreme cold or hot weather), the ISG will function. Fuel that would be lost during engine idle is saved by stop/start systems.

This technology is becoming more popular in the U.S. after doing very well in Europe where gas prices are nearing $10 a gallon. Ford had said that its redesigned ’13 Fusion will be equipped with stop/start. This technology is offered by luxury carmakers -- BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche – in some of their U.S. models.

The reason for the increase in the fun-to-drive quality of the 2012 Kia Soul is not only the higher horsepower but also the addition of a new 6-speed transmission and fuel efficiency of 34 mpg on the highway. Specifically, the 2012 Kia Soul will be powered by the GDI 1.6-liter engine with output of 100 kW (135 HP), a figure that is 11% better when compared to the previous engine.

For those who want even greater output, Kia is offering the 4-cylinder 2.0-liter engine, paired with either the automatic 6-speed transmission or the manual 6-speed version, which is seen as technology that is rare in this segment.

Along with the 2012 Kia Rio sub-compact sedan, the upgraded version of the 2012 Kia Soul will be unveiled by Kia Motors America during the 2011 New York International Auto Show. While the Kia Soul itself has already experiences success, Kia Motors made sure to fine-tune it for the model year 2012 by putting in various technology as well as improvements to the powertrain, all with the goal of being able to deliver higher power and better fuel efficiency.

For those not familiar, it was with the Soul that the company began the design-led transformation and when it makes its return to the Big Apple, this compact crossover will offer more power with an updated look but it retains the same quality that worldwide customers have grown to love. Michael Sprague at Kia shared that within two model years, the 2012 Soul brings with it amazing style, power, and fuel economy.

He added that while it’s already an iconic vehicle, the improvements result in the new model being the perfect vehicle especially for customers who prefer something that is a bit outside the box. Sprague continued by saying that the Soul has not only managed to stand apart from the rest but it was responsible as well for attracting new customers to the brand. It also helped cement the brand’s position with a number of record-breaking successes.

Given that the price of gas will increase, the new Soul is not only enjoyable to drive and has more style but is also advantageous as its fuel economy has improved by 10%.

Topics: kia, kia rio, kia soul

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