Design & Technology / Product

SOUL-searching: A History February 4th, 2014

Almost ten years ago, Kia was inspired to try something new. Innovation has always been our forte, so ‘trying something new’ actually wasn’t very new to us. But this time, it felt different. We were inspired by the style and practicality of the SUV, but wanted to build a car that carried versatile DNA and riding comfort of a sedan. All of this inspiration gave birth to the Kia Soul, which was first introduced as a CUV (Crossover Utility Vehicle) concept car at the 2006 North American International Auto Show as the brainchild of collaboration between our design studios in California and Korea. Since then, we’ve proven that innovation isn’t just a one-time affair—for us, innovation never stops.

Let’s take a cruise down the SOUL memory lane, shall we?

After being introduced as a concept car in 2006, the Kia Soul made its mass production debut in Korea in September of 2008. The following year, it swept up many first-time design awards for the company, including the much-coveted Red Dot Design Awards.

At the 2009 NAIAS, Kia revealed the next concept car based on the Soul, named the Soul’ster, which was a roofless, 2-door, bright yellow adventurous utility vehicle with 19-inch wheels. The Soul’ster’s interior was redesigned with aluminum accents and focused on functionality over the homey, comfort-centric interior of the original Soul. The Soul’ster also took home a Red Dot award and was even named the 2009 North American Concept Truck of the Year. Innovation is definitely rewarding—but that’s not why we do it.

Over the next two years, the Soul underwent an upgrade—or more of a “facelift,” as we like to call it. While we stuck to most of the original features and improved mileage and safety features, upgrading the lamps to LED lights really gave the Soul a sleek new look.

In 2012 came the Soul in another concept car form: the Track’ster, a.k.a. the coupe version of the Soul. With an extended wheel base, the TRACK Track’ster showed off the Soul’s sporty side, getting much of its inspiration from the world of motorsports.

And this past October, Kia debuted the all-new Kia Soul, the second-generation edition that has taken its iconic design even further, accompanied by more customized features that keep it looking fresh including three two-tone roof/body color schemes, three types of colored wheels and three different interior colors. We wanted the Soul to fit into people’s lifestyles and preferences through a simple upgrade.

So… What’s next?

And in 2014? Well, the Chicago Motor Show is just around the corner… You’re just going to have to wait and see.

Anyone up for some SOUL-searching? Check out everything you need to know about the Kia Soul here.