Time flies when those Hamsters are having fun, well, Kia Soul-driving hamsters that is. Kia’s strong-selling subcompact crossover has gathered quite a loyal following. But with an all-new, third generation model on the horizon, will we see a radical change?
Let’s delve further and illustratively explore what we can expect from Kia’s Hyundai Kona rival.
Whilst the roofline appears the same, those large headlights have been ditched for a split-lamp setup, slim turn signals and LED daytime running lamps sit above the grille. The main units are now located lower down where fog lights would normally be positioned.
There will be a pure electric version of the new Soul too (pictured above), with this model to sport a unique front-end styling, while the sportier turbo variant will get a mesh-style grille and center-mount exhaust outlets.
The rear of the small crossover features chiseled c-pillars and vertical, boomerang-style LED taillights which flow downward into the middle of the hatch.
Stylish Accommodation Inside
The interior will be roomier with higher-quality touches, like door inlays with jewel-like geometric patterns (think latest Lexus LS), piano black and aluminum finished inlays on the leather steering wheel, digital instrument cluster and a heads up display.
Moving away from the current trend of high-mount, tablet-style infotainment screens, the Soul has its touchscreen located below the center air vents. The traditional-style gear shifter has made way for a rotary dial setup, with the stop-start button, park assist, seat heating and drive mode selector all found in the same cluster too.
Under The Skin
It’s expected the Soul will share Hyundai/Kia’s B-SUV platform, which bodes well for torsional rigidity, handling and ride quality. A significant portion of the body structure will consist of hot-stamped, advanced high strength steel (AHSS); aiding in improved crash-worthiness.
An all-wheel drive system will be available, again shared with Hyundai’s Kona, this drivetrain is likely to be mechanical in nature, as opposed to the Kia Trail’ster Concept’s rear-mount, electric motor setup.
Electric & ICE
There’ll be four-cylinder units in 1.6 and 2.0-litre guises. The latter will be normally aspirated and serve as an entry level offering, while the 1.6-litre will be turbocharged with up to 200 horsepower on tap. Expect the base engine to offer a six-speed manual or six-speed auto, whilst the 1.6-litre will be paired with an seven-speed, dual-clutch auto.
However the biggest news will be the all-electric variant. Our spies have snapped images of the interior, capturing the battery range readout. These show the electric version can travel 271 miles (437 Km) at 92% charge. Overall range could hit the 300 mile (~480 km) mark, which not only betters the current Soul EV at 111 miles (180 km), but also Hyundai’s Kona electric at 258 miles (415km). The latter uses a 64 kWh lithium-ion battery arrangement, so it is possible that the Soul has a bigger pack.
Subcompact SUV Rivals
Kia’s third-generation funk-box sits in a growing segment where rampant automotive breeding has gotten out of control. It will compete against the likes of Jeep’s Renegade, Nissan Kicks, Ford EcoSport, Toyota C-HR, Mazda CX-3, Honda HR-V and Chevrolet Trax – just to name a few.
Recent reports indicate the all-new Soul could debut late next month at the Las Angeles Auto Show. If so, expect sales to start around the middle of next year as a MY2020 offering.
Does Kia’s next Soul do it for you? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Photo Renderings Copyright Carscoops.com / Josh Byrnes