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Is the Kia Soluto’s pricing justified versus twin rival’s?

Why does it cost P27,000 more than the Hyundai Reina?

The Kia Soluto shares a lot of common specifications and basic features with the Hyundai Reina. PHOTO FROM KIA

The battle for supremacy in the mini-sedan segment heats up with the recent entry of twin models from South Korea: the Kia Soluto and the Hyundai Reina. Both are based on the same platform, both have identical exterior dimensions, both are powered by the same 1.4-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine rated at 94hp and 133Nm, and both are equipped with either a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed gearbox.

Based on the above specs alone, one would expect the two models to have similar price tags. But such is not the case—at least in our market. While the Reina is priced at P598,000 for the lower variant (GL MT) and P648,000 for the higher one (GL AT), the Soluto is being sold with significantly higher asking fees:

  • LX MT – P625,000
  • LX AT – P675,000
  • EX MT – P685,000
  • EX AT – P735,000
Kia’s very familiar tiger-nose grille helps make the Soluto look like a different car than the Reina. PHOTO FROM KIA

It’s obvious that the Soluto’s LX trim is a fairer match for the Reina’s sole GL edition, even if the former is markedly more expensive. The Soluto’s EX trim—with its 14-inch alloy wheels, front fog lamps, side mirror-mounted turn signals, leather steering wheel, leatherette seats, rear parking distance sensors, and vehicle immobilizer (all features on top of what the Soluto LX comes standard with)—is definitely superior to the Reina by a long shot, package-wise.

To assess the Soluto’s—and, by extension, the Reina’s—value proposition, we need to compare the former’s lower LX trim with the latter’s GL offering. Both the Soluto LX MT and the Soluto LX AT cost P27,000 more than the Reina GL MT and the Reina GL AT. The idea now is to find out what accounts for this price difference, and whether it is worth said amount.

Which rear do you prefer: the Soluto’s or the Hyundai Reina’s? PHOTO FROM KIA

Besides the basic specs already mentioned above, the Soluto LX and the Reina GL share other common features, including 14-inch steel wheels, front disc/rear drum brake setup, antilock brakes, MacPherson struts in front and coupled torsion-beam axle at the rear, halogen headlamps, remote keyless entry, power windows, power door locks, fabric seats, rear window defogger, high-mount stop lamp, and two front airbags.

The standard features on the Soluto which aren’t found on the Reina are the following:

  • Rear fog lamps
  • Steering wheel-mounted audio controls
  • 7-inch touchscreen in-car entertainment unit (the Reina has a 1-DIN AM/FM head unit)
  • Bluetooth connectivity, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and voice control (the Reina has a USB port)
  • Four speakers plus two tweeters (the Reina has only two speakers)
  • Rear-camera display
It’s like having a mobile tablet on your Soluto dashboard. PHOTOS FROM KIA

The question now facing someone trying to choose between the Soluto LX and the Reina GL is this:

Are these features worth P27,000 to me?

Notice the words “to me” in our question. Which means it is not an absolute question. If it were—Are these features worth P27,000?—then the answer seems to veer toward the affirmative. But not everyone needs or wants these features. Many first-time car buyers, for instance, will be more than happy to just purchase a decent ride—people who have limited resources and don’t really care for extra bells and whistles. Or people who are the very target market of these sibling rivals from Korea (by way of China).

On the other hand, there are also individuals looking at these cars for whom the bonus features are a must. Like gadget-loving college students or trendy young professionals.

So that’s how we would advice anyone comparing the Soluto and the Reina to assess things. That’s assuming, of course, that the buyer is evenly torn between the exterior designs of the two cars—a personal (and very subjective) preference that we can’t impose upon anyone.

Vernon B. Sarne

Vernon is the founder and editor-in-chief of VISOR. He has been an automotive journalist since July 1995. He became one by serendipity, walking into the office of a small publishing company and applying for a position he had no idea was for a local car magazine. God has watched over him throughout his humble journey. He writes the ‘Spoiler’ column.