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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 April 2019

Pope Francis driven around Abu Dhabi in humble Kia Soul

'The People's Pope' is known for his thrift, and the car of choice for his UAE visit reflects this

Pope Francis is often praised for his lack of showiness, and the choice of vehicle for his arrival at the Presidential Palace in Abu Dhabi on Monday was a humble choice: a Kia Soul.

The small car arrived at the palace in a convoy of much larger vehicles escorted by cavalry horses.

The Soul, by Korean manufacturer Kia, sells from around Dh52,000 in the UAE.

It is cheaper than the Sportage, and is the second smallest car in Kia's range. It has been manufactured since 2009.

This isn't the first time the pontiff has been seen in a Soul. In August 2014, 'the people's pope' was driven in one when travelling around South Korea, and again in 2015 in Uganda.

The versions the pontiff used in Seoul and Entebbe, and the one seen in Abu Dhabi, were similar, all sporting a simple black trim.

Francis is also regularly seen in a Hyundai, as well as a Ford Focus and a Fiat Panda.

On Sunday night, when Pope Francis arrived in the UAE – marking the first time a pope has ever visited the Arabian Peninsula – he was seen leaving Abu Dhabi Presidential Flight in a white van.

He was joined by Dr Ahmed Al Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al Azhar and Chairman of the Muslim Council of Elders.

Pope Francis met Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, as well as Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, in the Presidential Palace.

Updated: February 5, 2019 08:03 AM

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