With more room, more premium features, improved driving dynamics and true-to-its-roots design, Kia says its all-new 2014 Soul is more fun, funky and functional than ever.
Given the Soul's urban-warrior persona, this week's New York International Auto Show seemed a fitting location for the world debut of the next-generation version of Kia's little urban utility vehicle.
Instantly recognizable as what it is, the new model is clearly refreshed in appearance, with more than a passing resemblance to the Track’ster concept vehicle that made the auto show circuit last year.
Think of it as a Soulthat has grown up but without losing its edge,
It rides on a new chassis that is stiffer, longer and wider, allowing for more passenger and cargo room while reducing NVH levels. Suspension upgrades and a further infusion of torque enhance its nimble performance in in congested urban environments.
Three unique trim levels – Base, Plus and Exclaim – will be available when the new model comes to market in the latter half of this year.
"When the first Soul was introduced in 2009, everyone at Kia believed we had a hit on our hands, but we didn’t realize how big that hit was going to be," said Michael Sprague, executive vice president of marketing and communications at Kia Motors America (KMA).
The Soul has become one of Kia's top-selling cars, establishing a sales niche, and a following, all its own. Acclaimed for its unique design the Soul was one of the top three finalists for th 2009 World Car Design award.
Keeping what made the current Soul special while addressing areas for improvement, Kia's engineers and designers focused on three major tasks: maintaining the iconic design while adding modern cues; providing premium features and content; and improving driving dynamics.
The redesign extended to the new Soul’s interior, which gets a more premium look and feel. Liberal applications of soft-touch materials are featured on the instrument panel, centre console and door panels and the use of high-gloss piano-black trim pieces on the console and instrument panel add a further dash of sophistication.
Prominent in the new instrument panel is an available eight-inch touch screen – the largest ever offered on Soul – which houses Kia’s second-generation telematics and infotainment system, combined with with the company's first use of the Android-based operating platform.
Launching with the Soul, Kia's UVO eServices telematics package is now compatible with the iPhone and Android Smartphone.