This is our first look at the production version of Kia’s new Soul, which will be on sale in the UK early in 2009. The Soul is based on an all-new platform that will find its way into other Kia products in the near future. Despite the mini-SUV looks, it will only be sold with front-wheel drive, with no four-wheel drive system in the current model plan. Engines at launch will be limited to the Ce’ed’s 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines, with a six-speed manual transmission. An automatic option should follow after the launch. Although Kia hasn’t issue any pictures of the interior, the three Soul concept cars that were at this year’s Geneva show had near-production ready cabins. Based on hand-made pre-production Souls, the cabins were “95 per cent” of the real thing, according to a Kia company source, and gives us an accurate idea of how the car’s interior will look. Autocar’s source said the finish will be of noticeably higher quality than anything Kia has built yet. Despite the ostensible similarity to the Nissan Qashqai, Kia says the car is smaller and will offer better value for money. That doesn’t necessarily mean it will be significantly cheaper – it’s more likely to offer better equipment pound-for-pound. The Soul will also be available with a customisation and personalisation options, in the style of the Fiat 500 and Mini. Colour and trim choices will be updated every six to 12 months to keep the Soul’s appeal fresh to the sort of young, fashion-conscious buyers it’s intended to appeal to.The Soul will go into production in Korea in September, with the public unveil at the Paris Motor show in October.