By on November 14, 2018

Image: Kia Motors

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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