As part of Kia PH’s formal debut in the country under the auspices of Ayala Automotive, Kia PH formally debuted the Soluto subcompact passenger car at the Makati Shangrila hotel recently.
The Soluto formally gets sandwiched after the the Picanto mini-compact hatch and before of the Rio higher-tier subcompact car and the Forte compact car. The Soluto also targets brands commonly used for ride-sharing applications such as the Toyota Vios and Hyundai Accent subcompact passenger cars and the Mitsubishi Mirage mini-compact. “Globally, Kia has been growing in the last decade as we recorded historical sales growth, enhanced our design excellence and proved our world-class quality. I strongly hope to see what we have achieved globally in this promising market as well. For that, Kia provides competitive products and will do so continuously. To prove this, Kia decided to export the Soluto with the Philippines as the first export market,” Kia Motors Asia-Pacific president Ted Lee said.
What might steer customers towards the Soluto is what’s inside the cabin. The head unit totes as standard in-car infotainment (ICI) with six speakers (one per each side door and two tweeters within the front doors) and a seven-inch touchscreen head unit with voice-controlled Android Auto and Apple Carplay. This means that the ICI transfers to the head unit all the features that you love about your Android-powered or iOS-handled smartphone (including third party apps like Waze and Spotify) and displays them on the touchscreen, provided you have the Android Auto or Apple Carplay apps on your respective smartphones.
These features also have Google Maps (satellite navigation system with helpful step-by-step directions and alternative routes) plus real-time demand for audio tracks and internet surfing.
Of course, hands-free calling is also standard with Android Auto, with access to your phonebook easily done via the supplied voice command function.
The gas-fed 94 hp/132 NM 1.4L straight four in front of the cabin may seem like the powerplant might have a hard time hauling four average Filipinos and four to five travel backpacks at the boot. However, the dual continuous variable valve timing and barely a thousand kilos of kerb weight (1,036 kg for the manual versions, 1,066 kg for the automatic versions, both lighter than the 1,075 kg kerb weight of the base model 1.3 E Toyota Vios) make for potential ability to scoot from urban street to urban street without much throttle pedal effort.
For those that want a solid, dependable, frugal-on-gas Soluto that’s a solution for metro traffic, the manual transmission or M/T versions offer five-speed stick shifts with front wheel drive. Less parts than an automatic transmission or A/T (with less kerb weight too) make the LX and EX M/T variants easier to push start should there be ignition problems. The upper middle tier and top-tier EX versions — whether M/T or A/T — have turn signals within the side mirror housings, sensors within the rear bumper for parking ease and fog lamps.
Known as the Kia Pegas in the China market, the Soluto’s Philippine arrival marks the first time the car is present in a segment other than the East Asian giant. The car also represents one of three brands under the Kia PH-Ayala Automotive banner that will be revealed in the next five months, with the next brand to be revealed at the 4-7 April 2019 Manila International Auto Show at the World Trade Center in Pasay City.
The Soluto is available in Clear White, Titanium Silver, Aurora Black Pearl, Blue Stream and Marcato Red.
Aside from the Soluto and the Rio, the Kia PH stable also includes the Sportage compact sport utility vehicle (SUV), the Sorento midsize SUV, Grand Carnival minivan and the K2500 truck.
Model: Kia Soluto
Type: Subcompact passenger car (four door sedan)
Engine: DOHC 16-valve 1.4L inline four gasoline (94 hp / 132 NM, 71.0 mm x 75.6 mm bore x stroke), with dual continuous variable valve timing, naturally aspirated
Transmission: Five-speed manual and gate-type four-speed automatic, front wheel drive
Price: P625,000 (1.4 LX manual transmission or M/T), P675,000 (1.4 LX automatic transmission or A/T), P685,000 (1.4 EX M/T), P735,000 (1.4 EX A/T)