The Kia Soul, which was introduced in 2009, has performed well enough in safety tests to earn a top score of five stars from EU-supported, independent car-testing organization EuroNCAP and to be named a Top Safety Pick by the U.S. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Many suppliers contribute to the car's safety, including Gentex Corp. and Mando Corp.
Gentex provides, depending on vehicle trim level, a special rearview mirror that reduces the risk of backup accidents. The mirror incorporates a 3.5-inch (89mm) liquid crystal display (LCD) connected to a rear-facing camera. When reversing, the LCD becomes visible in the mirror, replacing a portion of the reflected image normally seen.
The U.S. supplier's contribution also reduces rear glare during night driving. Front- and rear-facing sensors determine if it is dark and whether the vehicle is being excessively illuminated from behind. In such circumstances the mirror will automatically dim to reduce dazzling. The secret to the design is an electrochromic gel, sandwiched between two pieces of glass within the mirror, that changes color when an electric current is applied.
Mando Corp. makes substantial contributions to driving safety by providing the antilock brakes and the electronic stability control. Continental AG produces the tire pressure monitoring system that alerts the driver to under inflation or punctures. Mobis supplies airbag modules and IEE SA the seatbelt reminder.
Kia builds the Soul in Gwangju, Korea. Prices in Germany start at 15,900 euros.