Kia Motors Philippines has made a swopping comeback and it did so under AC Industrials, a wholly owned subsidiary of Ayala Corporation (AC). With the company’s promise to bring three cars in its grand event, many wished for the Stinger (including us) but unfortunately, the all-new vehicle that Kia Philippines has been talking about isn’t the high-powered four-door sports sedan. It’s much more than that, actually. Something that many car buyers should seriously check out.
The all-new 2019 Kia Soluto poses a serious threat to the staple subcompact sedans in the Philippines – a segment that’s led by the Honda City, Hyundai Accent, and the best-selling Toyota Vios.
However, Kia’s entry isn’t just about good looks; it comes with a very obvious selling point: value for money.
To set a premise, take note that the Soluto’s sticker price starts at P625,000, while the range-topper tips the scale at P735,000. It essentially has two variants, LX and EX, with two transmission options for both trims (5-speed manual and 4-speed automatic) to give you a total of four variants.
In comparison, the cheapest Vios you can buy is at P659,000, which is the Base MT variant, while the Vios J, the most common taxi variant, is at P685,000. The Honda City, on the other hand, P828,000 for the E MT. Lastly, the newly-launched Hyundai Accent sedan starts at P750,000 for the GL MT (w/o airbags).
The Soluto evidently has the smallest price tag among the four cars, but that doesn’t mean that it has less. Exterior-wise, Kia’s newest subcompact sedan comes standard with body-color front and rear bumpers, halogen headlamps, rear fog lamps, and high-mount stop lamps. Higher EX trims get front fog lamps, chrome door handles, and side mirror-mounted turn signal lights. You’ll get 14-inch steelies with wheel cap in the LX, while the EX gets the alloy type of the same size. All variants come with front disc and rear drum brakes, along with temporary spare tires.
While the exterior offering is pretty much normal for subcompact sedans, wait until you get inside the car. Standard on all trims is digital multi-information display, audio/call controls mounted on the steering wheel, driver armrest, and console box. The EX gets the upper hand with a leather steering wheel and gear shift knob (for EX AT), as well as leatherette upholstery.
Probably the most interesting inclusion in the 2019 Soluto is the 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system that’s offered in all variants. This should delight the techie-romantics out there, as it also has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto with voice control, along with Bluetooth connectivity for handsfree calls and six speakers.
Moreover, all four variants also have rear parking cameras with guidelines, while the higher EX trims get extra proximity sensors. Other standard convenience features include power door locks, power windows, and remote entry.
For safety and security, the 2019 Soluto is equipped with dual front airbags, ABS, child seat anchors, and rear door child locks. The EX trim has an immobilizer as a bonus.
Considering all the things that you’ll get with the 2019 Kia Soluto, is it really the most value-packed sedan in the Philippines today? Honestly, it’s still hard to say, especially since we haven’t driven the car and tested its 94-hp 1.4-liter gasoline engine with 132 Nm of torque. I strongly believe that driving performance and ride comfort are part of the vehicle’s overall value, so we’ll keep our reservations for now. We’ll give our full verdict of the Soluto once we have it for an in-depth review, so keep your eyes peeled for that.
But just by looking at the spec sheet, and considering the plethora of warranties that come with the car (five years or 160,000-km general warranty; five years or 150,000-km warranty for anti-perforation and paint; and one year or 20,000 kilometers service parts’ warranty), I could safely say the 2019 Soluto is a segment stirrer – something that the mainstream names should watch out for.
But then again, Hyundai Philippines has just launched the 2019 Reina sedanthat sits on the same platform as the Soluto's, albeit, with a lower specced infotainment system and a slightly more affordable price tag, so that changes the game as well.
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