The affordable subcompact sedan market is where just about all the car brands want a slice of the mass market. This is where volume sales are happening. To be honest, there’s not much separating the competition from each other; they’re all equally good.
While another new economy subcompact on the market may not seem to be the most exciting thing, it is quite interesting to see what the car makers include, to give value to their offerings. Lets take a closer look at Kia’s Soluto.
The Soluto, like other subcompacts in the market, is an affordable people mover. Likely eyed as a first car, a second car for those who need an extra car to beat the MMDA’s number coding, or perhaps a fleet car. Usually, base models are devoid of any creature comforts and are equipped with the bare minimum to keep the costs down. Kia, however, has made their entry-level Soluto different from the rest.
On the outside, you’ll see the distinct Tiger Nose design grille, electronically adjustable halogen headlamps, body colored bumpers and side mirrors that are power adjustable. You don’t get front fog lights but you do get a rear one. This Soluto rolls on 14-inch steel rims with plastic wheel covers wrapped with Nexen 170/70s.
Under the hood is a four-cylinder 1.4L dual CVVT gasoline engine that puts out maximum power of 95-Ps at 6,000 rpms with 132-Nm torque at 4,000 rpms, mated to a five-speed manual transmission.
Interior and safety
Inside is where it gets interesting. Get behind the wheel and you’ll get tilt adjustable steering. The confortable fabric seats are manually adjustable and the driver gets an armrest. The four-speaker (plus two tweeter) entertainment system has a seven-inch touchscreen with AM/FM, MP3, USB and aux-in ports.
The best thing is, it has Apple Carplay, Android Auto and also has voice control. There are also steering wheel-mounted controls for audio and calls. It’s also equipped with a backup camera. Other standard equipment are power windows, power door locks and remote keyless entry. These are all features you don’t usually get in an entry-level variant.
You get manually-controlled air conditioning. But this is offset with a dash that is trimmed with some piano black, chrome and brushed aluminum, giving it a higher variant feel. Safety equipment includes driver and passenger side airbags as standard, along with Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), seatbelts for five passengers, anchor points for child seats and child locks on rear passenger doors.
Overall, driving the Soluto is everything you’d expect from a car in this category. Tuned for economy, don’t expect amazing acceleration. It will get up to speed, it just takes time. But what it is good at is getting you comfortably from point A to B, with a sizeable 475 liters of trunk space. It handles easily enough in cramped spaces with its light electric power-steering, which has enough weight to it even when out on the open road.
Where this car shines are the additional extras Kia Philippines includes, which make it feel a lot less like a base unit. Equipment like the seven-inch entertainment system which has both Apple Carplay, Android Auto and voice control, tilt adjustable steering, adjustable headlights, steering wheel mounted audio and call controls, back up camera and keyless entry.
Priced at P625,000.00, paired with a PMS scheduled every 7,500 kms instead of 5,000 and a five year/160,000km warranty, when you do the math, it comes down to pretty darn good value for money.
Text and photos by Neil Pagulayan