New Kia Soul Flex revealed in Brazil

The Kia Soul Flex will not be seen outside the South American country, where the alternative fuel accounts for more than 85 per cent of all new car sales.

Based on the popular compact crossover available now in the UK, and featuring Kia’s new chunky design language seen on the Soul and new Kia Sportage, the Kia Soul Flex will offer lower fuel costs to Brazilian buyers.

The ethanol-gasoline technology allows the vehicle to run on entirely ethanol or gasoline fuel, or a mixture of both. The result is a 44 per cent improvement in fuel economy over petrol models as well as increases in both power and torque.

The Kia Soul Flex had to be redesigned specifically for the Brazilian market with a reinforced fuel pump and fuel line to cope with the more abrasive ethanol fuel.

Kia has also added some exterior tweaks to tailor the Soul towards Brazilian buyers. The South American market is seen as a having huge potential for automotive manufacturers. Fiat in particular has a strong Brazilian presence with modified versions of the 500 and Panda city cars some of the top sellers in the country.

Kia will also install the technology in a Brazilian-oriented Sportage SUV towards the end of 2010, and has not ruled out other models in future.

Both the Kia Soul and Kia Sportage are available to UK buyers with a range of frugal and efficient petrol engines. The brand has enjoyed increasingly popularity in the UK because of a perceived higher quality of built, low prices and stylish design courtesy of ex-Audi designer Peter Schreyer.

The Kia Soul starts from £11,500 on-the-road, while the all-new Kia Sportage, released this month in the UK, starts from £16,645.