Spied! Next-Generation Kia Soul Stays Boxy and Weird
We’re still not sure how we feel about the Kia Soul’s hamster mascots, but ever since we first drove the boxy hatchback, it’s worked hard to win us over with its unique combination of character and practicality. The Soul has been through one redesign since then, now offering extra cargo room, a more refined cabin, and an optional 201-hp turbocharged engine. But even in its current form, the Soul is starting to show its age. Based on these spy shots, though, it looks like the third-generation Soul will be here before long.
As you can see, the new Soul will stick with its predecessors’ boxy design. That said, it looks a little more SUV-like than before, and it might have even grown a bit. Considering how popular subcompact CUVs are these days, it wouldn’t surprise us if Kia used this redesign to fit the Soul more cleanly into that segment. It’s difficult to tell based on these photos, but there’s also a good chance that Kia will finally offer new Soul with all-wheel drive. If so, that might be part of the reason Kia was testing this prototype on a snowy, frozen lake.
The heavy camouflage makes it difficult to identify other significant design features, but if you look closely, those fog light housings are pretty large. Even with the headlights mostly covered, it looks like the Soul’s new front end will borrow the Hyundai Kona’s split headlights. Considering that the Jeep Cherokee already abandoned the look, we’re not entirely sure why other automakers continue to introduce similar headlight designs.
Whether the new Soul’s front end gets the Kona treatment or not, we’ve heard it will share a platform with the Kona. Assuming that’s accurate, don’t be surprised if the Soul offers the same engine and transmission configurations. In the U.S., that would mean a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter or 1.6-liter turbo paired with a six-speed auto or seven-speed DCT. The Kona may also donate its all-wheel-drive system, as well.
The 2018 Hyundai Kona
Then again, if Kia finally decides to sell the Kona-based Stonic in the U.S., figuring out how the Soul fits into the lineup would be a lot more difficult. But since we expect the Soul to debut sometime in 2019 as a 2020 model, there’s still plenty of time to sort all of that out.