Kia may offer a new version of the Soul hatchback next year, an executive said during a recent investor’s meeting in Seoul. Reuters reported that this new Soul may have its launch in 2013. A U.S.-based Kia spokesman said that he can’t confirm or deny whether there will be a new Soul coming out. The current model is aging as it had been released four years ago.
A new Soul may use the so-called “tiger” front grille that appeared on new Kia models such as the Rio and Optima. Kia is currently developing a new version of the Forte sedan and a new Rondo carrier. The automaker will also be launching the Quoris flagship sedan.
The 2008 Los Angeles auto show was where the current Kia Soul was unveiled. It started selling in spring 2009. Its box-on-wheels form became inexplicably popular especially at a time when Kia was still establishing its reputation in the U.S. In the first year that it was selling, 31,621 Souls were sold in the U.S. In 2010, its sales increased to 67,100. It increased to 102,267 units last year.
For the first half of 2012, the Soul is the No. 2 highest-selling model in the U.S. So far this year, around 63,635 units have been sold, making the model on course to reach record sales.
Reuters also reported that Kia was aiming for a new target of 450,000 units throughout the globe next year. This figure is probably a mistake since the company had practically eclipsed this sales figure already. Last year, Kia sold 485,492 cars in the U.S. and has sold a total of 1.58 million throughout the world.
During the 2011 New York International Auto Show, Kia Motors America officially unveiled two models with the first being the sub-compact 2012 Kia Rio sedan. The other vehicle was the completely upgraded 2012 Kia Soul. The unveiling of the 2012 Kia Soul is significant not only because this model is making a return to the Big Apple but this is the same model that took the lead in the transformation of the brand.
Not only does the new Soul have a completely upgraded appearance but it also delivers more power. Despite that, it still has that funky attitude that customers around the world have grown to love from this excellent compact crossover. The 2012 Soul also has a number of new technologies fitted to it as well as improvements to the powertrain so that not only will it be able to deliver more power but also display better fuel efficiency.
Poweringg the 2012 Soul is the new GDI 1.6-liter engine which is capable of 135 hp (100 kW), an increase of 11% compared to the engine in the previous model. The increase in horsepower means that the fun-to-drive quality is increased as well and the engine is paired to the new six-speed transmission. Kia revealed that the new engine allows for fuel economy of 34 mpg highway.
Customers who want even more power can have the advanced technology being offered, which is rare for this particular class. Specifically, they can have the four-cylinder 2.0-liter engine which is paired with a six-speed transmission, both in automatic and manual formats. Michael Sprague of Kia revealed that in merely two model years, the brand has come up with a new version that has the style, power, and fuel economy, all enhanced.
While already iconic, he added, the new 2012 Soul is perfect for those who want something that is beyond what others are offering. Since it was first released, the Soul has managed to stand apart from the rest and was the reason the brand managed to attract new customers, he continued.
Sprague said further that the Soul was also responsible for a number of successes, with some of them even breaking records. The new Soul is more relevant considering the rising price of fuel. Not only does it have a fresh style and a performance that is more fun to drive, the fuel economy is now better by 10%, he concluded.