The Seoul Motor Show may be starting today, but Kia has chosen to deploy most of its newest and brightest metal in New York, with a number of debutants making their way to the Jacob Javits Center for the 113th edition of the NYIAS. You’ve already seen the new Forte Koup, and now here’s the all-new Kia Soul.

The freshly-minted urban utility vehicle may bear the same general shape and stance as the outgoing model, but the design – which borrows many cues from the Tracks’ster concept – has grown up, figuratively as well. There’s more passenger and cargo room to be had, and the new Soul rides on a new chassis, one that’s longer, wider and stiffer.

Height is unchanged at 1,610 mm, but the wheelbase length is up by 20.3 mm to 2,570 mm, as is the vehicle’s width, by 15.2 mm to 1,800 mm. Meanwhile, torsional rigidity is up by 28.7% from before, aided by the increased use of ultra high strength/high strength steel and reinforcing key connection points.

Exterior Track’ster design cues include the large trapezoidal lower air intake as well as the low down, extended to the leading edge location of the fog lights, and even the Kia signature grille has been reworked to more closely resemble the concept. The unique “floating” body colour panel – inset into the lift gate – is also a Track’ster-based cue.


The cabin naturally gets more space with the expansion in overall scope – marginal improvements are to be had in terms of front leg room (up by 20.3 mm over the outgoing Soul, to 1,089 mm), rear leg room (up 5.1 mm to 993 mm), front headroom (up by 5.1 mm to 1,006 mm) and front seat shoulder room (up 7.62 mm to 1,409 mm).

Ingress and egress has also been improved, with a lower hip point – reduced by 12.7 mm – and reduced step-in height. Other subtle alterations include a wider opening for the rear lift gate, 60.9 mm more than the current vehicle, which allows this Soul to take in more.

Numbers aside, Kia says that the cabin is also a much quieter place (by 3dB), with plenty of noise reduction features coming into play, the introduction of expansion foam into body cavities and polyurethane-layered carpet being among these.

Materials-wise, the interior features plenty of soft-touch panelling and high-gloss piano-black trim pieces on the centre console and dash, among others. Elsewhere, the centre console features direct carryovers from the Track’ster in the form of a round gear shift knob and push-button start, of which the location is exclusive to the Soul in the Kia lineup.


In the US, the Kia Soul will be available in three trim levels, these being Base, Plus and Exclaim, which not only shape up equipment and kit but engine pairings as well. The Base Soul gets a 1.6 litre Gamma GDI NA mill offering 130 hp at 6,300 rpm and 160 Nm of torque at 4,850 rpm.

The Plus and Exclaim models, meanwhile, wear a 2.0 litre NU unit – updated with GDI, the engine offers 164 hp at 6,200 rpm and 205 Nm at 4,000 rpm. As for transmissions, there are six-speed manual and six-speed auto options. In terms of wheels, the Base ships with 16-inch alloys, while the Plus wears 17-inchers and the Exclaim, 18-inch units.

Aside from more refinement, additional space and improved NVH, significant attention has been focused on improving the Soul’s ride and handling through heavily revised front and rear suspension set ups, while the relocation of the steering box has also yielded benefits to on-centre feel. A Flex Steer system, which allows the driver to select from three distinct steering settings (Comfort, Normal and Sport) is on the options list.

Gizmos include a high-definition capacitive eight-inch touchscreen allied to a second-generation telematics and infotainment system, UVO eServices as well as integrated Pandora internet radio, preloaded into the headunit. Elsewhere, the kit list reads off like a storybook, from leather seats and Infinity audio system right through to push-button ignition and front speaker LED mood lighting. Plenty of Soul, indeed.