First introduced in 2009, the small crossover has proven a bigger sales success globally than it has in the UK. That has earned the model a second generation, despite the fact that Kia’s SUV line-up has evolved in recent years to include the similarly-sized Stonic and the electrified Niro.
The single teaser image issued by Kia along with confirmation of the car’s debut at the LA Show reveals that it will retain the current car’s distinctive vertical rear hatch treatment – although in truth, this had already become clear thanks to several spy images of the car undergoing testing.
The Soul’s distinctive profile has been ring-fenced for the new generation, therefore – and that’s despite an expected switch of platform. The existing car uses Hyundai-Kia’s PB architecture – but the new Soul should share some of the same set of components, called GB, as the Hyundai Kona and, indeed, the Stonic.
This will allow Kia to fit the Soul with the latest generation of the firm’s engines, including 1.0-litre Kappa and 1.6-litre Gamma petrols. There’s unlikely to be a diesel, given the model’s focus on markets like the United States, but there will also be at least one new Soul EV. Kia says the car will offer “zero-emissions electric options”, which could mean different battery capacities – but in a bid to preserve the e-Niro’s status as Kia’s flagship electric car, UK Souls are expected to get a 39kWh battery instead of the larger 64kWh unit that the company has at its disposal.
The evolutionary styling will incorporate more advanced LED technology, particularly in what look like ultra-slim tail-lights. The cabin should get a ‘floating’ infotainment screen across the range, and the spy pics hint at a slight stretch of wheelbase that could improve interior space, especially for rear-seat passengers.
Kia says the new Soul will go on sale in Europe in 2019; we’d expect it to reach American dealerships in the first half of the year, with UK examples available from the autumn.
Click here for all the latest in the build-up to the 2018 Los Angeles Motor Show…