By Drew Johnson
Wednesday, Oct 27th, 2010 @ 11:36 am
 
Kia has unveiled a new flex-fuel version of its Soul crossover at the Brazilian Motor Show. Capable of running on ethanol, gasoline or any combination of the two, the Soul Flex marks Kore's first ever flex-fuel capable vehicle.

Unlike most flex-fuel vehicles sold here in the United States, the Kia Soul Flex is capable of running on 100 percent ethanol. The majority of flex-fuel vehicles on U.S. roads are only capable of running an 85 percent blend of ethanol and gasoline.

The Soul Flex will be an important addition to Ki's Brazilian lineup as flex-fuel vehicles make up 85 percent of the country's new car sales. Brazil is currently number two in the world in terms of ethanol production, which is a major reason why ethanol there is 40 percent cheaper than gasoline. Ethanol vehicles are also subject to larger tax breaks than their gasoline counterparts.

The Soul Flex does offer more power than the gas-powered Soul - 128 horsepower vs. 124 horsepower - but the use of ethanol does come at a price. The Soul Flex can only muster about 20mpg while using ethanol, whereas the gas model is rated at 37mpg. That mileage difference essentially cancels out any savings at the pump, but also helps to keep the Soul running virtually oil free.