Baring Their Soul: Kia Teases an LA Debut

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
baring their soul kia teases an la debut

Believe it or not, the Kia Soul has been around for nearly 10 years now, carving a nice niche for itself in the subcompact crossover market and lining corporate coffers with plenty of cash.

Later this month, the company will show its third-gen Soul at the LA Auto Show. It’ll retain a familiar shape if the teaser image is anything to go by. One neat detail buried toward the bottom of the press release? A promise of “several drivetrains,” including what the company calls a “gas-free electric.”

Does this mean we’ll finally see an all-wheel drive Soul? The TTAC magic eight-ball tells us Signs Point to Yes.

To date, AWD hasn’t been part of the Soul playbook, a move that may have made sense when the little trucklet appeared a decade ago. Now, however, such a powertrain option would keep the Soul competitive and even give it a leg up on its competition – especially if Kia can keep a lid on price, which they are likely to do.

There’s a dandy chance the new Soul will share much in the way of mechanical guts with the Hyundai Kona. Its brace of four-cylinder engine options include a 147 hp 2.0-liter and a 175hp 1.6-liter turbo unit. The current turbo Soul, it should be noted, features a horsepower count of 201 but an equal amount of torque as the 1.6T Kona.

Kia regularly sells over 100,000 Souls per annum. You’d have to visit Wall Street to find a place where more souls are sold in a single year. Its best year – Kia’s, that is – was 2016, when 154,768 of the diminutive subcompact crossovers found their way out of Kia showrooms. A combination of attractive pricing, good interior space given its footprint, and a funky style have created a winner for the South Korean brand.

Ages ago, Kia showed a concept called the Track’ster, a modified three-door Soul endowed with all-wheel drive and 250 horsepower. To avoid disappointment, don’t expect that level of grunt from the upcoming machine in LA.

[Image: Kia Motors]

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  • APaGttH APaGttH on Nov 14, 2018

    What the Scion xB could of and should have been. I sure hope the build quality is better than the 2017 Kia Optima rental I have right now. 27K miles on it and it is spent.

    • Nels0300 Nels0300 on Nov 14, 2018

      Maybe it’s your rental. I have an Elantra Sport with 20K miles, feels more solid than my Camry did at the same mileage.. Hopefully it doesn’t fall apart in the next 7K miles.

  • Eggsalad Eggsalad on Nov 14, 2018

    I sure hope they will improve the Em Pee Gees. As a former xB1 owner, I've always liked the Soul, but there are several more compelling vehicles that do better than 24-26 city. I realize aerodynamics are an issue, but c'mon, Kia.

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