Cars - Kia

Road tests and reviews of the latest Kia models available in South Africa

All about the new 2016 KIA Soul Diesel SMART

2016 KIA Soul Diesel SMART

By Franky Johnson

KIA’s all-new seven-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT) is now available in South Africa in the new KIA Soul 1.6 CRDi SMART. The new DCT is capable of handling larger torque outputs than KIA’s existing six-speed torque converter automatic transmission (up to 300 Nm), while the faster gear changes, lower emissions and higher fuel economy is set to significantly enhance the already dynamic persona of the sporty-looking Soul.

The new transmission is the first of its type from the KIA brand, and has been developed in-house by KIA’s research and development teams at its Namyang, Korea R&D centre. More fuel-efficient than KIA’s existing six-speed automatic transmission, the new DCT has been engineered with low fuel consumption and a sporty driving feel when in manual mode, and with comfort and smoothness when left in automatic mode.

The DCT is made up of two dry clutches, each fitted with electric motor-driven clutch actuator to improve responsiveness, and an innovative hollow double-gear input shaft. The hollow shaft itself allows the system to quickly engage even gears, while a solid shaft that runs through the middle operates odd gears. This crossed gear shifting enables continuous power delivery and more efficient packaging, two development cornerstones for the engineering teams behind the project.

The hollow shaft mechanism lets the DCT operate sequentially, the car anticipating the next gear that the driver is likely to need under acceleration or braking, or jump immediately to any of its seven forward gears (and reverse). This is particularly useful under kickdown or heavy braking, allowing the driver to remain in control of the vehicle at all times.

The continuous power delivery of the DCT minimises the loss of torque and forward motion by the powertrain during gearshifts, resulting in more decisive acceleration and a smoother drive. Reduction of noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) has also been a focus for the team behind the DCT’s development, with an external damper ensuring a higher level of refinement for the new transmission.

After its launch in November 2014, KIA’s new Soul has proven itself as a fun, practical and entertainingly agile competitor to an increasing number of B-segment crossovers. Combining the compact dimensions of a crossover with the functionality and practicality of a multi-purpose vehicle, the Soul’s innovative packaging endows it with a unique and high quality, award-winning proposition for those with an active, urban lifestyle.

Thanks to the inclusion of KIA’s new 7-speed DCT, the range-topping Soul 1.6 CRDi SMART also features a notably upgraded powertrain. Maximum power increases from 94 kW to 100 kW at 4 000 r/min. In addition, maximum torque output also increases from 260 Nm to 300 Nm, still available between 1900 and 2750 r/min. There are also gains in acceleration and top speed, the former improving 12,2 seconds to 11,1 seconds, and the latter from 182 km/h to 188 km/h.

The lightweight U2 turbodiesel engine is manufactured with cast aluminium cylinder blocks and aluminium cylinder heads, and feature an offset crankshaft (to reduce friction), a low-noise timing chain, mechanical lash adjustment and variable intake valve timing. The combination endows the Soul 1.6 CRDi SMART with a highly competitive combination of power, performance, fuel economy and modest emissions.

As with all KIA models offered in South Africa, the new KIA Soul 1.6 CRDi SMART DCT ships as standard with KIA’s standard 5-year / 150 000km warranty and three years unlimited roadside assistance. Also included as standard is a 4-year / 90 000km service plan. The new KIA Soul 1.6 CRDi SMART DCT retails for R399 995.

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