KIA Soul Models/Series Timeline, Specifications & Photos

Generations: 5
First production year: 2008
Engines: Gasoline, Electric, Diesel
Body style: Hatchback
KIA Soul photo gallery

Kia refreshed the Soul lineup for the 2023 model and unveiled it at the beginning of 2022, boasting a wider choice of trim levels and increasing the safety features.

When the Korean carmaker introduced the first generation of the Soul in 2008, it was a surprise on the market. Few people expected that shape from Kia. Moreover, the vehicle appeared during the world financial crisis when the automotive world was badly wounded. And yet, by 2019, the Soul reached its third generation, and it was already available with electric and electrified powertrains. Three years after the model's introduction, the carmaker refreshed the lineup.

The front of the vehicle featured the most distinctive visual change of the car. Its narrow headlights and the slim line between them, combined with the broad lower grille on the lower bumper, offered a front fascia that resembled the Star Troopers. The Soul's profile kept the same two-box shape but enhanced with a black area on the C-pillar to give the impression of a floating roof. As expected, all lights (headlights and taillights) sported LEDs.

Kia offered the Soul in no less than five trim levels, starting with the LX and going up to the GT-Line Tech level. Apart from the former, all the other versions featured a 10.25" touchscreen placed atop the center stack. Another improvement was on the safe side, where Kia added Blind Spot Collision Avoidance (BCA) and Rear Cross Collision Avoidance (RCCA) for the base trim level.

The biggest surprise was under the hood, where Kia dropped all engines but one. It left the Soul just with the 2.0-liter inline-four that driven the front wheels via an automatic (CVT) transmission.

full description and technical specifications
gasoline engines:

KIA Soul 2.0L (145 HP)

KIA Soul photo gallery

The new KIA Soul was revealed at the Los Angeles Auto Show in 2018.

The eccentric subcompact had been a success in the US market and the Soul reached its third generation.

Its boxy design was kept for the new model, however, the KIA Soul came with newly sculpted lines and futuristic lighting elements. The exterior design included refreshed daytime running light and turn signal indicator, a larger two-tone front grille, roof rack mounting points, C Pillars that were designed to create the visual sensation of airplane wings and others.

The cabin was equipped with wireless charging, dual auto climate control, and other nice features.

The KIA Soul was offered with 2 engines, a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder delivering 147hp mated with either a 6-speed manual or the KIA’s in-house IVT. KIA also released a sportier version of the Soul, with a 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder offering 201 hp, mated with a 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox. The car could be ordered with a front-wheel-drive or an all-wheel-drive system.

The new KIA was equipped with the ultimate safety systems, such as the FCA (Forward Collision Avoiding), LKA (Lane Keeping Assist), LCA (Lane Changing Assist), DAW (Driver Attention Warning), BCW (Blind-spot Collision Warning), RCW (Rear Cross Collision Warning), SCC (Smart Cruise Control) and HBA (High Beam Assist).

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KIA Soul EV photo gallery

The 2020 Kia Soul EV has evolved from a niche electric car to a downright best-seller. And it evolved to a range of EV-variants for the Soul, even if an electric motor used to be the single option.

The 2020 Soul might look like a facelift, but it is a brand new car. The outside is still a two-box body with short overhangs, great for the city's tight parking spots. The front bumper is bigger now, with the headlights smaller and positioned higher, to avoid hitting them during parking. Its overall size still places it in the small-segment category: it's 4195 mm (13.7 ft) long, 1800 mm (5.9 ft) wide and has a height of 1605 mm (5.2 ft). But the biggest changes are on the technical side.

There is a new 64 kWh battery installed under the floor, in the middle of the car. Now it is liquid-cooled, which means it can last more and charge faster. On the rear, Kia has finally installed an independent suspension for a better ride and handling. The cabin was improved with a better infotainment unit and a 10.25” screen, which supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

To power-up the vehicle there are two options available: 100 kW and 150 kW motors. While the base model is equipped with a smaller, 40 kWh battery, the latter can have the 64 kWh unit and have a bigger range, subsequently.

full description and technical specifications
KIA Soul photo gallery

Two years after establishing a new lineup, the Soul got a refresh for the American market, and the new model was unveiled at the 2011 New York Auto Show by KMA (KIA Motors America).

When the Korean automaker introduced the Soul at the Paris Motor Show in 2008 (with sales starting in 2009), times for the automotive industry were harsh due to the world financial crisis. Still, the carmaker didn't back down and supported the sales and its new product, which conquered customers thanks to its versatility and spacious interior combined with the compact exterior sizes.

For the 2012 model-year, the Soul got bigger headlights and the “tiger-nose” styling for the upper grille, placed above the bumper. In addition, a second and broader cooling area was integrated into the apron and was flanked by lower-mounted round fog lamps. To further emphasize the crossover styling, Kia added plastic molding around the wheel arches and on the side sills. Finally, at the back, the vertical tailgate was flanked by better-integrated taillights installed high on the C-pillars.

Inside, the dashboard was redesigned from the ground up and featured new vents on the sides and above the center stack. Drivers were fronting a similar instrument cluster with binocular styling. For the upper trim levels, Kia offered a package that included a sat-nav system with a touchscreen mounted on the center stack and a rear-view camera as well.

Underneath the hood, the most significant upgrade was the replacement of the former four-speed automatic gearbox with a six-speed one. This was offered as an option for the entire range, while a six-speed manual was available on some versions.

REVIEW: 2015 Kia Soul EV   full description and technical specifications
KIA Soul photo gallery

A vehicle designed for urban traffic, the Kia Soul was unveiled to the public in 2008 at the Paris Auto Show and started selling in 2009. The concept car was presented earlier in 2006 at the North American Internation Auto Show in Detroit.

With its unusual boxy design, the Kia Soul could’ve been either loved or hated, no in-between.

Based on the Hyundai i20’s platform, the Kia Soul was a lot taller and more rigid, offering a tough ride. While within city limits the small crossover did well, motorways were not its favorite place to be.

Offered with a choice of two engines both developing 126 hp, the Diesel was the most desired option, as the gasoline engine was a little lazy. A 5-speed manual transmission was standard, with the 1.6-liter diesel powerplant could be mated with an optional automatic gearbox.

The 5-door hatchback was available with a front-wheel drive system only and it offered great passenger space due to an unusual long wheelbase. While most vehicles in its class did not offer great storage capacity, the Soul’s trunk had a capacity of 340 liters, the same as the Kia C’eed.

Safety wise, the standard Kia Soul was equipped with optional electronic stability program, traction control, brake assistance, ABS, EBD and even a rear parking assist system.

REVIEW: KIA Soul   full description and technical specifications