What is it?
Kia has a sense of humour. Case in point: in 2017, unfazed by the German marques’ long-standing dominance of the sports saloon segment, it launched the Stinger – a 3.3-litre V6-powered drift machine that looked laughably out of place in its dealerships (especially in bright orange or yellow) but that remains available against the odds, four years later, much to the delight of car fans and keen drivers.
The Korean firm also continues to sell the Soul, a boxy electric crossover that commands a premium over the closely related e-Niro, offers little in terms of material advantage and is outsold by its more cautiously styled sibling at a rate of about 10 to one. But company bosses remain adamant that it’s an essential part of the line-up and won’t be going anywhere any time soon. It’s fun to look at and fun to drive and some customers love it. If it fits, so the saying goes, it sits. A refreshingly good-humoured approach to product strategy in today’s generally cautious retail environment, you will agree. After all, what better marketing strategy than simply selling cars that make drivers and their neighbours smile?
And here we go again; what jokers they are. Go on, try not to laugh when I tell you that this is an electric Kia SUV that can comfortably outstrip a Volkswagen Golf GTI from a standing start, cracks more miles between charges than a Mercedes EQC and can be had for the equivalent of a top-link Ford Focus. It’s all relative, of course, and the accolades vary according to trim and powertrain, but to tick so many boxes right off the bat – on paper, at least – is not bad going for a company’s first bespoke electric car.