Currently reading: New York motor show: Kia Soul
Kia promises more dynamic prowess and improved interior space from its new Soul, unveiled at the New York motor show today

The all-new Kia Soul, unveiled today at the New York motor show, is claimed to offer a more engaging driving experience and more interior space than the car it replaces. 

Kia says the new Soul is based on a chassis that’s longer, wider and 28 per cent stiffer than the current car, which has allowed engineers to reduce NVH and maximise space in the passenger and cargo compartments. The suspension has also been revised, with improved geometry.

The styling has been influenced by the Kia Track’ster. Kia’s Californian-based design team have retained a number of design cues from the current Soul, but elements such as the trapezoidal lower grille and positioning of the front fog lights are a direct carry-over from the Track’ster. Kia’s grille has been reworked to closely mirror that of the concept.

Tom Kearns, the boss of Kia's Californian design centre, said "The Soul was the first car to show Kia's design potential. We wanted it to look good and be an affordable halo product.

"We want to maintain all that with the new one but make it a bit more special and fun to drive. There's lots of inspiration from the Track’ster concept in this. The long wheelbase and pushed out wheels for instance. We kept all the iconic design touches from first car like the wraparound screen and vertical taillights"

A “floating” body colour panel in the tailgate is another signature from the Track’ster. Kia says the tailgate is six centremetres wider to aid access. 

The new Kia Soul records increases in front and rear legroom and front head and shoulder room, and is claimed to be easier to climb in and out of. A range of noise-reducing materials sees noise levels reduced by 3db.

The new Soul improves on the hard plastics fitted to the current car. Soft-touch materials are fitted to the instrument panel, centre console and door panels. Leather trim will be offered as an option.

Interior features include an eight-inch touchscreen, which operates Kia’s latest telematics and infotainment system and combines with an Android operating system and Pandora internet radio. Options include LED front and rear lights and a panoramic roof.

Although UK specification is yet to be revealed, US-market models will be offered in three trim levels: Base Soul, Soul Plus and Soul Exclaim.

Kia says it has focused attention on the Soul’s chassis. The front subframe uses four bushings – the current car has none – and the shock absorbers on the rear torsion bar are now mounted vertically allowing for more suspension travel.

Two petrol engines are offered in the North American market. The 1.6-litre engine develops 130bhp and 118lb ft, while a 2.0-litre unit produces 164bhp and 151lb ft. 

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The new Soul will go on sale in the UK in early 2014. It will initially be offered with a 1.6-litre petrol or a 1.6-litre diesel engine.

Kearns added "'There's lots of limited edition models planned that are designed for the young and young at heart."

Click here for more New York motor show 2013 news.

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Outoftowner1969 28 March 2013

Interior design

The interior looks rather sombre compared to the extroverted exterior. I'd have expected some colour, in there.

However KIA have come a long way since the ex Mazda 121 hatch they brought out in the mid eighties. And much more interesting than Hyundai. Most people are still too cool to buy one though.

Mini2 28 March 2013

Prefer the original

I also prefer the original. This reminds me slightly of what Nissan tried to do with the Cube, and we all know how that ended here in the UK. I think it's lost some of the character, which is a shame.

TegTypeR 27 March 2013

Back end treatment remins me

Back end treatment remins me of the VW Up!

It appears the overall design has been refined a bit over the previous model and when it comes to Europe, it will be aimed at the Juke.