During our media trip for the Kia Seltos in South Korea, our hosts brought us to Beat 360, the Korean automaker’s brand experience facility located in Seoul. The one car that caught our (and everyone else’s) attention at the venue was a small urban car called the Ray. Now, this vehicle isn’t exactly new; it was launched in 2011 but received a cosmetic makeover in 2018.
Measuring 3,595mm long, 1,595mm wide and 1,700mm tall, the Ray is more compact than the Nissan Cube. Powered by a 1.0-liter three-cylinder gasoline engine, it reminds us of those cute Japanese kei cars that appear to have anthropomorphic attributes.
Obviously, its squarish and admittedly quirky styling isn’t for everyone. But with youthful design elements inside and out, it should be a hit among city dwellers who are single and always on the go.
Perhaps its most unique feature is its pair of second-row doors: The one on the driver’s side conventionally swings out to open, while the one on the other side is the sliding type.
And since the Ray is a car offered to the Korean domestic market, it is left-hand-drive. Which begs the question: Can Kia Philippines bring it in? Hasn’t the distributor at least thought of importing it? The answer, in a nutshell, is that the company is intrigued, because the car is indeed interesting. If nothing else, it is a conversation starter.
But to introduce the Ray to Filipino buyers, it is always wise to ask what they’ll gladly shell out for a car like this. And so, earlier today, we asked that very question to our readers. Most everyone’s reply? About P500,000 (or even P400,000).
Unfortunately, two Kia Philippines executives who were with us at Beat 360—sales director Jun Cajayon and product planning head Josh Altarejos—told us that the Ray would cost “upwards of P900,000” (especially if it is to be decently equipped). That’s almost double what a typical Pinoy car buyer would want to spend on this specific model.
The Kia Ray shows the perennial disconnect between what we want and what we’re willing to pay for it. Which is a shame, because the car seems like a solid product. You should see how everyone just gravitates toward it. But we tend to associate “small” with “cheap.” Having been able to inspect this vehicle in the metal, we can definitely say it commands a premium. Then again, nothing beats affordability. So if Kia Philippines can somehow slash the projected pricing further, we think the Ray stands a chance in our market. We’d take it over our vanilla hatchbacks, for sure.