Kia Motors America announced the North American debut of its all-new Soul hatchback at the 2008 Los Angeles Auto Show. Designed in Southern California, the Soul is the newest product offering to join the company’s line-up.
The Kia Soul’s bold and edgy design is indicative of the new Kia design theme, with more package and styling combinations than any previous Kia vehicle.
The Kia Soul is available in four trims: Base, Soul+, Soul!, and Sport.
The Base trim comes powered by a 1.6-liter Inline-4 engine and offers plenty of standard features, including power windows, a 4-speaker audio system with CD-Player and SIRIUS Satellite preparation, 4-way front seats, 60/40 split-folding rear seat, tire pressure monitor, ABS, ESC, and six airbags.
Upgrading slightly to the Soul+ adds a 2.0L 4-cylinder and keyless remote entry, solar glass, privacy glass on the rear side and rear windows body-color handles and power side mirrors along with 16-inch alloy wheels with P205/55R16 tires.
Enhancing to the Soul! adds a power moonroof, fog lights, 18-inch alloy wheels furnished with P225/45R18 tires, while the dynamic Soul Sport features side sills, rear spoiler, 18-inch alloy wheels, unique front and rear fascias, wholly personifying the sporty, urban look Soul embodies.
Originally debuted as a concept vehicle at Detroit’s North American International Auto Show in 2006, the Kia Soul’s exterior remains true to the original Soul concept. With an angled window line, rounded nose, large flared back headlamps and chrome grille, the Soul is given a friendly face and exudes a youthful exuberance.
The beltline rises from the front wheel arch to create a gentle wedge shape and continues under and around the rear side window. The rear is dominated by the vertical combination tail lamps set into the body color panel with clear outer lenses. The body and wheel arch crease line extends around the bumper for a tough style matching the look from the front.
The Kia Soul offers seating for five passengers.
The Soul’s interior design is decidedly influenced by the car’s audio system. An uncluttered dashboard with a three-dial instrument cluster, LCD illumination, a floating center stack design is the key visual feature and offers enticing access to the AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system outfitted with SIRIUS Satellite Radio capabilities and three months complimentary service. Standard auxiliary and USB input jacks can also be found in the center console with full iPod® controllability via the audio head unit and steering-wheel controls.
Additional standard interior features include a tilt steering column, power door locks, power windows with driver’s side auto-down, reading lights, and a rear wiper and washer.
Soul+ offers additional standard features including air conditioning, cruise control with steering wheel-mounted controls, Bluetooth® hands-free connectivity, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, privacy glass and tweeter speakers. Available upgrades for the Soul+ trim include an audio upgrade package power moonroof and floor mats, which become standard on the Soul!.
Advancing to the Soul! adds unique beige-black interior trim and cloth seats and metal-finish trim. For the Soul! and Soul Sport, an Audio Upgrade Package enhances the sound with center speaker, subwoofer, and 315-watt external amplifier.
For consumers with more athletic and active lifestyles looking for even more excitement, the Soul sport offers a sport-tuned suspension, metal pedals, unique red-black interior trim with sport cloth seats and metal-finish trim.
Technology and Engines
The Kia Soul's base engine is a 1.6-liter four-cylinder producing 122 hp. For those looking for a little more power, all models except for the Base trim receive a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 142hp. All engines come mated to a five-speed manual. A four-speed automatic transmission is available with the 2.0L Inline-4.
The Kia Soul is built on a totally new platform, featuring front-wheel drive, a high roofline, and a relatively long wheelbase of 100.4 inches. With more than 70 percent high-tensile-strength steel to enhance structural strength without adding a lot of weight, the all-new, Kia-engineered body achieves high torsional stiffness, benefiting handling, ride quality, and refinement. Additional measures to help ensure good noise vibration and harshness (NVH) qualities are fitted throughout the Soul.
Mounted on the front subframe that supports the engine and transmission, the Soul is fitted with a fully independent front and twist-beam rear suspension system, with front MacPherson struts and coil springs, designed to deliver responsive handling and an agile ride. In the rear, the Soul suspension is sub-frame-mounted with a transverse torsion beam axle with trailing arms for a smooth ride and minimum intrusion into the cargo space. For optimal space, the rear anti-roll stabilizer bar is mounted inside the torsion beam.
The Kia Soul offers a wide array of standard safety features, including front seat active headrests, dual front advanced airbags, front seat-mounted and full-length side curtain airbags, a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS), anti-lock brake system (ABS) with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), and electronic stability control (ESC). Rear disc brakes are standard on all models except the Base trim.