What's in Kia PH's Red Box in BGC? An All-New Model, Most Likely
If you've been to Bonifacio High Street in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig recently, you would've undoubtedly noticed a big, red box sitting right in the middle of the strip with a countdown timer in it and the phrase "Unboxing 01.30.19" on it. Now, if you've been to Kia Philippines' website at Kia.com.ph, it's teasing the arrival of an all-new model that will be "unboxed" on January 30. The date is particularly significant because, as we reported in December 2018, the Kia brand will be relaunched in the country on that date under the stewardship of the automotive business arm of the Ayala Corporation, AC Automotive. So, what could be the model in the box? It would be anticlimactic if Kia only launched a refreshed model to publicly announce its new distributorship with AC Automotive and Kia Philippines, as one automotive publication opined online (which it has now deleted) so it has to be something new, something that could shake the market. Well, our friends at another automotive publication were the first to break the news that it would be a model sourced from China: the Kia Pegas, or Kia Soluto as it will reportedly be called in the Philippine market--and we're inclined to agree.
It's really no surprise if Kia Philippines will bring in the Kia Pegas/Soluto to mark its takeover of the Korean brand locally. After all, being under the same umbrella as Volkswagen Philippines, it's simply taking something from the latter's playbook of importing China-made models for the local market. Since it's already assembled in left-hand-drive in its home market and coupled with the lower production costs in China, it's a more cost-effective model to bring in than the similarly-sized--and South Korea-sourced--Kia Rio sedan, which was never sold locally since the current generation was introduced in May 2017.
A check with the teaser photos in Kia Philippines' site and of the Pegas in Kia Egypt's Facebook page makes it obvious though that we'll be getting the same model. Like the current-generation Rio, the Pegas/Soluto debuted in 2017. Launched at the Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition in April, the model was described as "a compact sedan which combines maximum practicality and versatility with a wide variety of customer-oriented technologies and features." In September 2018, the Pegas/Soluto began to be sold in the Egyptian market. The Pegas/Soluto is unmistakably a Kia with its wide, horizontal fascia that bears the brand's signature 'tiger nose' grille, a design feature that's shared by all Kia vehicles around the world. With its 2,570 mm wheelbase, the Pegas/Soluto offers ample cabin space for all passengers while its 475-liter trunk capacity makes it one of the most versatile cars in its class. Powering the Pegas/Soluto is a 1.4-liter multi-point injection gasoline engine that puts out 94 hp and 133 Nm of torque to the the front wheels via either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic transmission. As for the reason why Kia Philippines has decided to adopt the Soluto nameplate instead of the Pegas, we might have to wait for the 30th of January to find out. Care to hazard a guess? Because we honestly can't figure out why, unlike the Kia Cerato--which was sold locally as the Kia Forte--because you can't expect a car with a name that, in the local parlance translates to "this is broken," to sell.