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]

Comments
Join the conversation
3 of 10 comments
  • 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.

  • Jeff S Corey--We know but we still want to give our support to you and let TTAC know that your articles are excellent and better than what the typical articles are.
  • Jeff S A sport utility vehicle or SUV is a car classification that combines elements of road-going passenger cars with features from off-road vehicles, such as raised ground clearance and four-wheel drive.There is no commonly agreed-upon definition of an SUV and usage of the term varies between countries. Thus, it is "a loose term that traditionally covers a broad range of vehicles with four-wheel drive." Some definitions claim that an SUV must be built on a light truck chassis; however, broader definitions consider any vehicle with off-road design features to be an SUV. A [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crossover_(automobile)]crossover SUV[/url] is often defined as an SUV built with a unibody construction (as with passenger cars), however, the designations are increasingly blurred because of the capabilities of the vehicles, the labelling by marketers, and electrification of new models.The predecessors to SUVs date back to military and low-volume models from the late 1930s, and the four-wheel drive station wagons and carryalls that began to be introduced in 1949. The 1984 [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeep_Cherokee_(XJ)]Jeep Cherokee (XJ)[/url] is considered to be the first SUV in the modern style. Some SUVs produced today use unibody construction; however, in the past, more SUVs used body-on-frame construction. During the late 1990s and early 2000s, the popularity of SUVs greatly increased, often at the expense of the popularity of large [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sedan_(automobile)]sedans[/url] and station wagons.More recently, smaller SUVs, mid-size, and crossovers have become increasingly popular. SUVs are currently the world's largest automotive segment and accounted for 45.9% of the world's passenger car market in 2021. SUVs have been criticized for a variety of environmental and safety-related reasons. They generally have poorer fuel efficiency and require more resources to manufacture than smaller vehicles, contributing more to climate change and environmental degradation. Between 2010 and 2018 SUVs were the second largest contributor to the global increase in carbon emissions worldwide. Their higher center of gravity increases their risk of rollovers. Their larger mass increases their stopping distance, reduces visibility, and increases damage to other road users in collisions. Their higher front-end profile makes them at least twice as likely to kill pedestrians they hit. Additionally, the psychological sense of security they provide influences drivers to drive less cautiously. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sport_utility_vehicleWith the above definition of SUV any vehicle that is not a pickup truck if it is enclosed, doesn't have a trunk, and is jacked up with bigger tires. If the green activists adhere to this definition of what an SUV is there will be millions of vehicles with flat tires which include HRVs, Rav4s, CRVs, Ford Escapes, Buick Encores, and many of compact and subcompact vehicles. The green movement is going to have to recruit millions of new followers and will be busy flattening millions of tires in the US and across the globe. Might be easier to protest.
  • Sckid213 I actually do agree that most Nissans are ultimately junk. (I also think many BMWs are also). I was talking challenging the 3 in terms of driving dynamics. Agree all were failures in sales.
  • THX1136 More accurately said, we are seeing exponential growth in the manufacturing capabilities in this market. Unless, of course, all those vehicles are sold with customers waiting until more a produced so they can buy. Indeed, there are certainly more EVs being purchased now than back in 2016. Is demand outstripping manufacturing? Maybe or maybe not. I sincerely don't know which is why I ask.
  • ToolGuy The page here (linked in the writeup) is ridiculously stupid https://www.tyreextinguishers.com/how-to-spot-an-suvLike, seriously stupid, e.g., A) Not sure that particular Volvo is killing the planet as quickly as some other vehicles we might choose. B) A Juke is "huge"??? C) The last picture shows a RAV4 Hybrid?
Next