This is the new Kia Soul. For its second generation, Kia’s quirky supermini crossover has adopted design cues from the 2012 Trackster concept, and sits on a wider, stiffer chassis. The boxy Soul has been a huge hit with young drivers in America, but can this second-gen version also woo British buyers? Read on for the details, and deliver your Kia Soul verdict in the comments below.
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Kia’s 2013 Soul: what’s new?
The new Soul’s chassis is longer and wider, but 28% stiffer than the outgoing car. Under the skin, new suspension components are said to improve the ride quality, and reduce road noise levels. The 20mm narrower A-pillar improves forward visibility too.
The styling is a joint effort between Kia president and design boss Peter Schreyer, and Kia’s design teams in California and Seoul. The exterior was signed off 18 months after the project started, with cues inspired by the tough stance of a bulldog, we’re told. The bluff nose and upright tail hallmarks of the existing Soul are carried over, but that inset ‘floating’ metal boot panel is new, as is the large front grille and bulging ‘pods’ of the foglights. Indeed, the whole look of the car has been rounded off. Do you like the makeover? Click ‘Add your comment’ below to sound off.
What about inside the new Kia Soul?
If the interior looks oddly familiar, you might recall CAR scooped the new Soul’s cabin back in 2012. Now it’s finished, we can see Kia is chasing a more premium look (and feel) than the outgoing Soul. How are they going about it? Liberal application of soft-touch plastics on the instrument panel, centre console and door panels, and the option of leather seats and gloss piano-black trim inserts.
High-end versions come equipped with an 8in touchscreen interface. There’s sporty detailing inside too, in the form of red ambient lighting, and an engine start button.
At present, only US-market engine specs have been announced: a 130bhp 1.6-litre motor, and a 164bhp 2.0-litre. Kia currently offers UK-bound Souls with 1.6-litre petrol and 1.6-litre diesel powertrain options, and either a six-speed auto or manual gearbox. We expect similar engine options to be confirmed just before the new Soul goes on UK sale in spring 2014, priced from around £14k – £19k.