Is the Next-Gen Soul Going to be More of the Same or is Kia Taking a Play from the Nissan Juke Playbook?
By the looks of it, at least the shape is almost unchangedby Michael Fira, on
Kia is merely days away from unveiling the new Soul compact crossover at this year’s L.A. Auto Show. The Korean automaker has released a few sneak previews to get the hype up and what we can see is a car with similar proportions to the previous Soul and with a heavy emphasis under the skin on electrification.
The original Soul will celebrate its 10th anniversary next year. It was an odd appearance in the compact crossover market thanks to its boxy body, high-perched taillights, and truck-like rear window. Since then, Kia launched the second-generation Soul back in 2014, and that model will retire once and for all when the third-generation iteration is introduced next week.
The upcoming Soul will be available in the U.S. in the first quarter of 2019 with an array of 4-cylinder gas engines while, in Europe, some markets will only have the option to buy an electric version.
The new Kia Soul keeps the boxy fever alive
We’ve already seen the new-for-2019 Kia Soul in testing just about anywhere, even on the Nurburgring-Nordschleife. But in all these instances, the Soul stubbornly remained hidden under layers of dazzling camouflage. Now, though, a few days shy of the official unveiling at the L.A. Auto Show, Kia let a few teaser pictures to filter through to the media.
Five images were released in total, and only two actually showcase parts of the car’s exterior. In one of the shots, where the car’s profile fades into obscurity from the waist down, we can clearly see that the Soul’s trademark boxy line with the almost 90-degree slope between the roofline and the taillights has been kept.
However, the windows seem to be narrower, and the third side window has been enlarged although it still gets narrower towards the back, ending to make way for a black line with the Soul nameplate on it.
As before, the roof can be optioned in a different color to the rest of the bodywork.
With that in mind, the car’s front end does look more rounded than before and comes with two narrow headlights positioned up high on the edges of the front fascia which has been given a more beefy look thanks to the protruding fender flares.
We’ve also been given three images which show elements of the interior: the steering wheel, the interior door panels with yellow upholstery and a part of the dashboard with a view of the bigger infotainment display. By all instances, the Korean automaker hopes to keep the Kia relevant to a youthful slice of the market.
The new crossover will bring more technology and increased cargo room which is aimed at pleasing everyone - at least that's what Kia claims.
In the U.S., the Soul will be offered with a 2.0-liter naturally-aspirated four-cylinder engine and a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-pot with power in the 140 horsepower region. An automatic seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox will continue to be available although we don’t yet know what other transmissions are slated for this model. The Soul can be optioned in one of five trim levels: LX, EX, S, GT-Line, and the off-road-apt X-Line.
There will also be an electric Soul which will become only one available in some markets where the Stonic is also on sale, such as the U.K. The Soul EV will feature the same drivetrain as the e-Niro but with a smaller 39kWh battery, which translates to a range of roughly 200 miles, about 100 less than what the $38,320 e-Niro offers. But the Soul will also be smaller and, as such, cheaper by quite a margin.
We’ll get the full picture, and breakdown on the technical specifications, in just a few days. But, what we can tell already is that the Soul isn’t trying to be a Nissan Juke copycat although they will remain competitors due to the almost identical size that we expect to be carried over to the second-generation Juke that will appear next year as well.
Read our full speculative review on the 2019 Kia SOUL.
Read our full review on the 2017 Kia SOUL Turbo.
Read our full review on the 2014 Kia Soul.