When the Kia Soul dropped onto the U.S. market in 2010, hipsters everywhere saw Kia in a whole new light. This boxy compact car had all the tuning capabilities the Honda Civic had when it was a tuning phenomenon through the late 1990s and early 2000s, plus it had a catchy commercial with hip hop hamsters. All was well in the world of the Soul, and it’s about to get even more real with the preparation of the future-generation model.
Fresh off of its facelift in 2011, the most sold model from Kia has just entered a new generation. The 2014 Kia Soul was unveiled at the 2013 New York Auto Show and will be put on sale in the third quarter of this year.
For the new generation, the Soul has switched to a new chassis, received a new design language inspired by the Track’ster concept and features significant suspension upgrades.
Updated 03/29/2013: This review has been updated with the official details, images and specs.
Launched at the 2008 Paris Motor Show, the Kia Soul has soon become one of the best-sold models from Kia in the U.S. The model received its first facelift last year, and now the company decided to bring an all-new model in order to keep interest at top.
Even though the car is heavily camouflaged, it looks like the roofline is slightly lower on the new Soul and the body seems to be a little wider. These updates will offer the new Soul a more masculine appearance.
Other updates includes a typical Kia grille moved up a bit, bigger air intakes, plus redesigned headlamps that now look more square and it received an LED stripe on top. On the interior, it looks like the dashboard has also been redesigned.
Under the hood, you should expect the same engine lineup and transmissions as the one used in the new Kia Cee’d.
British customers will enjoy a new addition to their already very impressive Kia Soul Originals collection. The new addition, the Soul Shaker will be offered in both petrol and diesel engine variants and will carry a relatively low price.
The model sits above the "2" specification version and shares some high-tech features with other models in the Soul Originals range, including iPod and Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control and air conditioning.
When compared to other Soul models in the lineup, the new Shaker edition will be distinguished by an exclusive paintjob, a new set of alloy wheels, and premium interior in a new unique ’Houndstooth’ design.
Kia also paid intensive attention to the car’s safety level and equipped the new Shaker with technologies like electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution, vehicle stability management and hill-start assist control.
Hit the jump to ream more the 2013 Kia Soul Shaker.
While other automakers are taking the traditional route of developing tuning programs for a number of their models to be shown at the 2012 SEMA Auto Show, Kia is taking a route that touches the comic book geeks in all of us.
The Korean automaker is partnering with DC Entertainment to build a number of superhero-inspired vehicles in the former’s model line-up. We’ve already seen what they did with the "Batman" Optima and we’ve also been treated to a teaser photo of the "Flash" Forte Koup. Today, Kia dropped another one of their teasers involving the Soul crossover and the superhero it’s been dressed to feature: the Green Lantern.
We weren’t surprised that the Soul Green Lantern was finished with a two-tone green and black paint scheme and the green mirror-chrome tint on the windows because these are the colors of the Emerald Crusader. What was surprising about this car is that the two back doors have been welded shut to "streamline" the crossover’s appearance. Then, there are the green projector beam headlights, a feature that we admit we find pretty sick. Add the customized Green Lantern-logo fog lights in the widened front fascia, green LED lighting, and 18" deep-dish wheels with Green Lantern’s logo on the center and that completes the Soul’s exterior superhero makeover.
Inside, a custom rear cargo compartment features the Green Lantern power battery with his signature lantern logo etched into a clear panel displaying the superhero’s oath lit by LEDs. Over at the rear deck, there’s a video monitor that displays DC’s "We Can Be Heroes" promotional video. At the front, the car’s steering wheel and the front seats have been fitted with green and black leather and the Green Lantern logo prominently displayed and stitched into the seat backs.
Like the rest of its kind, the Soul "Green Lantern" Edition was built to raise awareness for the We Can Be Heroes campaign against hunger in the Horn of Africa, for which DC Entertainment is a huge advocate of.
If, about 15 years ago, we would have said that Kia would turn out to be an innovative and trend-setting car company today, you likely would have looked at us in amazement as you laughed us off. Well, here we are in 2012, and Kia – along with its parent company, Hyundai – is setting the bar pretty high for the likes of Honda and Toyota.
Onto one of the odder and somewhat trendier vehicles in Kia’s lineup, the Soul… Kia has just announced that, along with the 2014 redesign of the Soul, it will also boast an all-new electric variant. No, not a hybrid or a extended-range EV: straight electric.
The details are still very scarce on the upcoming Kia Soul EV, but we do know, via Kia’s president of the European division, that it will be released in the middle of 2014. This isn’t Kia’s first EV, as it already sells the Ray EV in its home market. Likely, the Soul will feature a drivetrain based off of the Ray’s 50 kW electric drivetrain that also boasts a 16.4 kWh lithium-ion battery that nets it an 86-mile range.
As for styling, we have seen a few spy shots of the upcoming Kia Soul and we anticipate that the EV model will feature the same styling language, sans a few minor modifications. We know from these shots that the headlights are a little more square than the current generation, the grille is positioned slightly higher, and there is something new going on in the back end, which was covered in heavy camo. The remaining details on the 2014 Soul’s exterior are a mystery.
We’ll keep an eye on this upcoming EV and add to our review as the info becomes available.
Kia has officially confirmed today the launch of the new special edition Soul Red Rock. The model has been inspired by the beautiful rock formations found in the Southwest United States. The new model is now on sale at a starting price of just $20,600.
The model will be distinguished by a number of unique features designed to set it apart from other Soul variants. These particular elements will start with a Canyon exterior color and continue with a high-gloss black front fascia and mirror housings. The interior is adorned with exclusive black leather trim and brown cloth seats. Standard amenities include automatic climate control and heated front seats.
"The wildly popular Soul has been a game-changer for Kia since it arrived in 2009, and our series of special editions over the past three years have added individualism and exclusivity to an already fun and youthful vehicle," said Michael Sprague, vice president of marketing and communications, KMA. "Style and flair are key to Soul’s success, and the Red Rock Special Edition, which has plenty of both, will help drive sales into 2012."
The Chicago Auto Show is one of America’s biggest auto events, yet it doesn’t hold the same glamorous standards as that of its counterparts in Detroit, New York, and even Los Angeles.
That being said, a lot of automakers have used Chicago as the venue for their concept debuts and it’s no different this year as Kia prepares to roll out the Track’ster Concept.
The Tracks’ter Concept is being touted as "the ultimate performance" Soul that features an aggressive hatchback body with a low and aggressive bodykit. Looking at the Soul’s overall design, it should be easy to paint a picture of the Tracks’Ter as a concept that carries a far edgier look to coincide with the Korean automaker’s evolving design language, one that’s a far departure from the conservative approach the company used to be known for.
Performance details on the Tracks’ter Concept have yet to be announced, but considering what we’re looking at and how it’s being touted, we wouldn’t be surprised if it packs the same 1.6-liter four-cylinder powertrain that can be found under the hood of the Hyundai Veloster Turbo.
Whatever the case may be, we’re all looking forward to seeing the Kia Tracks’Ter Concept make its world debut in Chicago later this month.
Kia’s burgeoning quirky reputation is about to be taken to a whole new level at the coming SEMA Auto Show next month after announcing that they’re bringing six "sports-themed" projects to the world’s biggest aftermarket auto event.
We sincerely hope that we don’t see any rapping hamsters and from what we’ve been told, there won’t be any. Instead, the Korean automaker will be fielding a couple of custom-modded 2012 Kia Souls inspired by some of the world’s best athletes, including golf star Michelle Wie and NBA dynamo Blake Griffin.
In the case of the hotshot golfer, Kia dressed up the Soul - with the help of West Coast Customs - using a funky "So Blue" exterior paint scheme, the same colorful artwork she uses on her golf bags. In addition to that, the
Soul also carries a new set of 20" five-spoke wheels that incorporate her original artwork. Inside, the modifications include the golfer’s artwork and personal logo also that have been integrated into the Soul’s "Snow White" leather headrests. There’s also a baby blue painted dash and pink headliner and seating accents, completing the interior’s whimsical look. There’s also an artificial glass flooring and at the back, you’ll find a 26" LED TV monitor mounted into the rear hatch with a Microsoft X-Box 360 console and Microsoft Kinect system to play golf out of the back of the vehicle. Two of Wie’s tournament-used golf bags are also mounted behind the TV, which conceals the car’s eight-inch speakers and subwoofer.
UPDATE: 11/01/11: This review has been updated with official photos from Kia
The new Kia Soul White Tiger Special Edition will be distinguished by a bright white exterior with gray graphics, color-keyed bumpers, a sporty rear spoiler, 18" black alloy wheels, black fender exits, a rear bumper applique, and door alloy fuel. The interior was not left untouched as it received black leather seats, heated front seats, a leather steering wheel and shift knob, a smart key to press the start button, illuminated sill plates, automatic climate control, and front fog lamps.
It seems Kia is taking the Soul’s popularity to a whole new level with as many special edition models as the public can take. Haven’t they ever heard of too much of a good thing?
Kia’s highly popular ’Hamster’ campaign drew some rave reviews from a lot of people when it began airing a couple of years ago. It’s become so popular that Kia actually developed a special edition Soul late last year, which it previewed at SEMA last October.
What we didn’t know and what the Korean automaker recently announced is that they’re in the process of releasing a special edition Kia Soul called the ’Hamster Edition’ in the very near future. Details behind the special edition model have yet to be announced, but there have been whispers saying that the Hamster Edition will come with black exterior graphics, a rear spoiler, and a set of 18" alloy wheels outside while its interior will boast of a push-button ignition, automatic climate control, black leather seats, and special edition floor mats commemorating the car’s exclusivity.
It’s very rare that a commercial can be so popular that it leads to a special edition car being built to celebrate it. Kia’s "This or That" ads paved the way for the Soul Hamster Edition, proving that the auto industry won’t hesitate on riding a popular campaign and milking it for all its worth.
Note: Photos are of the 2010 Kia Soul Hamster Concept.