All About Kia Soul

The Kia Soul is a compact car designed at Kia‘s design center in California, unveiled at the 2008 Paris Motor Show, manufactured in South Korea and marketed globally beginning with model year 2010.[1]

First Generation (2010-2013)

The Soul concept was the brainchild of Mike Torpey, who in early 2005 as a new member of Kia’s Design Team in Irvine Californiai, was sent to KIA Korea to brainstorm a new vehicle. He had an inspiration for the design…using a mental visual picture of a powerful Boar with big front shoulders sloping back to its rear legs…and for utility… wearing a back pack! So the KIA Soul was born with a sloping roof line and a “trunk” on the hatchback.[citation needed]

Peter Schreyer, formally the designer of the Audi TT and other cars at Volkswagen, came on board with the KIA Automotive Group as the new KIA Corporte Design Chief, and added some touches to the new Soul Concept for the upcoming Auto Show, adding to the Soul Concepts nose his now Signature Kia corporate grille, known as the Tiger Nose.[citation needed]

According to the Automotive news, the Soul has been criticized for a plasticky interior and a harsh ride.[2]


Kia Soul concept (2006)

Kia Soul Concept at the Montreal International Auto Show, January 19, 2008

The design was based on the Kia Mesa concept. It included a 2.0L I4 engine, 5-speed automatic transmission with manual shift capability and adaptive cruise control.

The vehicle was unveiled at the 2006 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan.[3]

By late 2006, Kia announced it would put the car into production as a 2009 model.[4]

Kia Soul Burner, Diva, Searcher (2008)

The Kia Soul Burner, Diva, and Searcher are concept vehicles, created by Kia’s European design team, under the guidance of Kia’s Chief Design Officer, Peter Schreyer.[5]

Kia Soul Diva concept

The Soul Diva was created as a fashion accessory for a style-conscious young-at-heart woman, who regards her car to be as important as her entire outfit. It included a white, gold and black colour scheme, full-length tinted glass panoramic roof, glossy black imitation leather, using ‘quilted’ stitching and trimmed to look like sofas, and black long-pile ‘Pony-hide’ carpet.

Kia Soul Burner concept

The Soul Burner was described as the ‘bad boy’ of Soul concepts. It included a solid roof panel and no roof rails, 245/40R19 tires, 4 bucket seats,[6] and L-shaped day-light LED driving lamps around the outer edges. At the rear, two vertical exhaust pipes were placed at the extremes of the bumper.

Kia’s Soul Searcher was designed to capture the spirit of Korean and Far Eastern culture, with a focus on achieving personal inner peace and creating a calm cocoon for the occupants. It included an old leather finish on the bonnet, powered folding roof, tailgate panel, dashboard, door panels and steering wheel rim, plus grey-beige felt floor and seats.

The Soul Hamstar Edition, introduced in 2011, featured body colored bumpers, rear sport spoiler, black 18-inch wheels, black fender vents w/side marker repeater, rear bumper applique, matte alloy fuel door, hamstar exterior graphics, black leather seating, heated seats, hamstar edition floor mats, smart key push button starting, automatic climate control, fog lights, and leather steering wheel and shift knob.

The vehicles were unveiled at the 2008 Geneva Motor Show.[7] The Soul Burner later appeared in the 2008 SEMA auto show.[8]

Kia Soul Hybrid (2008)

Kia Eco-Soul concept

The Soul Hybrid/Eco-Soul is a concept vehicle with Gamma 1.6L petrol engine, an electric motor rated 15 kW (20 PS; 20 hp) and 105 N·m (77 lbf·ft), continuously variable transmission, ISG (Idle Stop&Go), regenerative braking.

The vehicle was unveiled at the 2008 Paris Motor Show[9][10] and later at Auto Shanghai [11] and later at the Canadian International Auto Show.

Kia Soul’ster Concept (2009)

Kia Soul’ster concept at the 2010 Montreal International Auto Show.

The Soul’ster is a concept vehicle with two doors and four seats with an open roof over the rear seats. It includes dual chrome exhaust, polished aluminum exhaust tips featuring carbon-fiber interior sleeves, and 19-inch 5-spoke aluminum alloy wheels. It is similar to the Jeep Wrangler. The vehicle was unveiled at the 2009 NAIAS.

The production version includes a choice of 1.6L I4 rated 120 hp (89 kW) with 5-speed manual transmission or 2.0L I4 rated 120 hp (89 kW) with 5-speed manual transmission.[12] It will go on sale in 2010.[13]

Kia Soul Denim (2009-)

The Denim is a limited (1200 units) version of 2010 Kia Soul Soul+ for US market. It includes Denim body colour with white racing stripes, white painted side-view mirrors, white 18-inch alloy wheels.

The vehicle has MSRP of $17,300US for 5-speed manual, $18,250 for 4-speed automatic.[14]

Soul Flex (2010)

Kia Motors presented the Soul Flex at the 2010 São Paulo International Auto Show. The Soul Flex is the first Korean flexible-fuel vehicle capable of running on any blend from E20-E25 gasoline (mandatory Brazilian blend) to E100 (neat ethanol). The new Soul Flex delivers a 44% improvement in fuel efficiency compared with the existing gasoline model, as well as superior power and torque.[15]


The interior features two semi-bucket seats in the front. In the rear there are flat-folding seats that can be moved in order to increase storage space.[16]

2011 Kia Soul Plus (US)

The Kia Soul is sold with a six-speaker stereo system that includes a CD player, a USB port for iPod connection, and Sirius Satellite Radio. Additional features available for upgrade include additional speakers, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls and Bluetooth for hands-free connectivity.[17]

Designed to introduce an emotional appeal into the Kia range, the car can be specified with a number of design options and is available in several themed special editions. Custom upgrades include 18-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, leather-wrapped steering wheel, racing stripes, “dragon” and “houndstooth” graphics, and LED turn indicators.[17]

For 2011, the Kia Soul was updated with more conventional pull-out door handles, standard metallic interior trim, redesigned instrument cluster, leather boot shifter, and switchblade style fold-in integrated key and remote, with an optional Smart Key available in the Exclaim (“!”) trim.

2012 Kia Soul Plus (US)

The 2012 model year brought a more thorough update, with revised exterior and interior styling and new powertrains. In North America the updated 1.6, now featuring direct injection, makes 138 hp/123 lb-ft, the 2.0 makes 164 hp/148 lb-ft of torque. The 1.6 now delivers 25-26 mpg in the city and 30-31 on the highway. The 2.0 returns 23-24 in the city and 28-29 on the highway.[18] New features include navigation, UVO infotainment, leather and heated seats and automatic climate control.[19]

As part of the 2012 upgrades, European models were fitted with new 1.6-litre GDI petrol or 1.6 CRDi diesel engines, both of which can be specified with an automatic gearbox or a new six-speed manual gearbox, replacing the five-speed unit in the old version. As a result, the petrol offers a 14 bhp uplift in power compared to its predecessor, while returning improved fuel economy. The modified 1.6 CRDi diesel returns 57.6mpg and has cut its CO2 emissions from 138g/km to 129g/km – particularly important for the European market where taxation is based on carbon emissions.<re>[2]</ref>

The 2013 North American KIA Soul received some more modest upgrades (called “Refreshers”) including 3 new colors, a buldged hood, revised grill with black chrome accents, LED Red Tail light, LED Amber front turn signals under the headlights and white LED running lights under the front turn signals. The exterior Kia badges are now smooth instead of raised lettering. Inside, audio controls are now located on the steering wheel and Bluetooth is standard even on base manual transmission equipped cars. Also upper line models now come with power folding heated mirrors with built in turn signal repeaters. The center display for sound system was all red LED but is now full colored.


2010 Kia Soul base (US)

The North American version of the Soul is initially available with one of two inline four-cylinder gasoline engines. The base model is powered by a 1.6-litre unit producing 122 bhp (91 kW) and mated exclusively with a six-speed manual transmission. Higher trims feature a 2.0-litre unit producing 142 bhp (106 kW) connected to a standard five-speed manual transmission with a four-speed automatic available as a stand-alone option.[20] A 1.6-litre diesel engine producing 126 bhp (94 kW) and 260 N·m (190 lb·ft) torque is offered in European models instead of the 2.0-liter gas, mated to a five-speed manual gearbox.

For the 2012 model, it acquires 2 new powertrains and a new engine. Mated with a 6 speed manual or a six speed automatic, with either the new Nu 2.0-litre D-cvvt engine or the slightly older Gamma 1.6-litre d-cvvt. The Gamma 1.6 gets a new dual variable valve timing (128 hp), and in some countries, gets a direct injection fuel system.[21]


Kia Soul earned a maximum five star safety rating from Euro NCAP .[22] In 2009, According to Euro NCAP, the five star safety rating places Kia Soul among the safest B-segment family cars in the world.[23] The Soul was awarded the maximum five star safety rating by the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP), but only on the New Zealand version. Australian versions get 4 out of 5 stars.

[24] The Kia Soul was awarded ‘Top Safety Pick’ from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in the United States.[25]


Kia Soul exhibit at the 2009 SEMA auto show in Las Vegas.

“Hamster” commercials

Soon after the vehicle’s release, Kia launched a series of commercials as part of their “A new way to roll” campaign. The ads, created by Los Angeles-based ad agency David&Goliath,[26] features (a combination of motion-captured and costumed) hamsters on stationary Hamster wheels on city streets, which are then all passed by “cooler” hamsters riding in the Kia Soul. The commercials have attracted a cult following and have surged in popularity on video-sharing sites like YouTube.[27] The commercials were awarded “Automotive Ad of the Year” at the Nielsen Automotive Advertising Awards.[28]

Songs featured in the ads include “Do What You Do” by Marz, “Fort Knox” by Goldfish, “Junkyard” by The Potbelleez, “Colours” by Calvin Harris, “The Choice Is Yours (Revisited)” by Black Sheep and, during the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards, “Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO.

For the 2013 Kia Soul commercial, the song played is “In My Mind (Axwell Remix)” by Ivan Gough and Feenixpawl featuring Georgi Kay.[29] The hamsters were seen rocking out at a 18th-century opera house to the song. It was released on August 30, 2012.

In October 2011, the Kia Soul Hamsters were inducted into the Madison Avenue Walk of Fame, advertising industry’s equivalent of Hollywood and Vine. As of 2011, Kia is also the only car manufacturer to be inducted.

Michelle Wie

From 2010 to 2012, Kia released a series of commercials for the Soul featuring professional golfer Michelle Wie.[30][31]

Kia Aero Soul APRIL System

As an April Fool’s Day joke, Kia published a press release on a new environmentally friendly concept based on the Soul in 2010, called the Air Propulsion and Retardation Installation Line. The concept used sensors on the bumpers and retractable panels to harness the flow of wind.[32]

Kia Soul sales quantities

Kia sold 67,000 cars into the US market in 2010—the first full sales year—followed by 102,000 in 2011 and 116,000 in 2012. They have sold 52,000 vehicles in the US through the first five months of 2013.[33] In the Canadian market, Kia has sold 9900, 11600 and 7600 in 2010 through 2012, respectively, with 2800 sold in 2013 as of May sales data.[33]

All Info from

Official Website


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