Pope Francis is currently in South Korea for a five-day goodwill visit, and already he’s winning points with the locals for his choice of vehicle, a black Kia Soul After his arrival, the pontiff was shown on live television leaving the airport riding in the back seat of the affordable compact.
Instead of enclosing himself in a bulletproof Popemobile, Francis opened the rear window and waved to bystanders as his Soul traveled through Seoul. This moved surprised and pleased many South Korean citizens, who took to Twitter to praise the head of the Catholic Church. One user praised Pope Francis’ commitment to a non-armored vehicle, saying that it showed His Holiness’s faith in the South Korean people.
Heads of state and other dignitaries in South Korea typically travel in large luxury sedans, but the Pope is known for his frugal choice in automobiles. He has urged priests around the world to drive “humble cars” and has also been seen riding around Vatican City in a blue Ford Focus hatchback. He has eschewed displays of ostentation in his clothing and seating choice as well, and has also gone on the record as an environmentalist.
The Soul ride has earned Pope Francis much admiration in South Korea and beyond as media outlets around the world reported on his unusual car selection. One South Korean Twitter user commented, “The pope rode the Soul because he is full of soul.”