All eyes on styling of 2014 Kia Soul at New York Auto Show

Article by Anita Panait, on April 1, 2013

The work of Kia’s design team on the second-generation Kia Soul is expected to be under scrutiny at the New York Auto Show. The 2014 Kia Soul will likely be compared with its widely popular older sibling, the first-generation Soul. The Soul, which is the first production vehicle under chief stylist Peter Schreyer, boosted the brand’s styling prestige when the model was launched in 2009.

The Soul, a boxy subcompact having a wide stance, introduced Kia’s "tiger nose" grille, which made its appearance on every new Kia model since.

Kia only expected to sell around 40,000 Souls every year, but managed to sell over 100,000 units in 2011 and 2012. Sales of similarly designed boxy subcompact like the Scion xB and Nissan Cube paled in comparison to the Soul, with figures of under 20,000 units last year.

The 2014 Soul will receive a new exterior and interior styling, while there is little change in its proportions. We could expect Kia to improve on the areas of criticism for the Soul – plastic-like interior and a bumpy ride on less-than-perfect surfaces.

2014 Kia Soul will be underpinned by a new platform that will also underpin compact and subcompact cars from Hyundai-Kia. Ed Kim, a former Hyundai product planner now involved with consulting firm AutoPacific, remarked that every successive Kia has “been very appealingly styled and has pushed the design envelope." The 2014 Soul will be rolled out this fall.

Kia Motors, famous for its ingenuity between its concept cars and productions models, is back at it with its monster rendition of the 2014 Soul. When the ferocious Track’ster concept was premiered in 2012, Soul aficionados and experts alike prompted Kia to transform fantasy into reality.

With around 18 months from design freeze until production, the stage has been set for the brand-new Soul and several of the concept’s sensational design cues which can be discovered in the production car. Chief designer at the California Studio, Tom Kearns, compared the Track’ster to a bulldog and that idea is revealed from almost any corner of the brand-new Soul.

The freshly produced Kia Soul was one of the most challenging undertakings the company has taken on. The daunting challenge was to strike the perfect balance between the superb visuals of the modern vehicle with the daring parts and posture of the Track’ster. It has been revealed to be a complete team effort with help from Peter Schreye in Frankfurt and Kia’s studio in Korea. As the creation was completed, they’ve maintained the spirit of Soul while introducing a more commanding presence inside and out.

The upright position, unique fender flares, and square shoulders are easily distinguishable as Soul. Mixing an elongated 101.2-inch wheelbase (up 0.8 inches), total width that’s expanded to 70.9 inches (increased by 0.6 inches) and the same overall height of 63.4 inches, intensifies an enhanced bespoke vibe to the brand-new look of Soul. Also, the wraparound greenhouse, tall ride height, and high-mounted tail lights are all trademark design components of Kia.

Premium features such as available LED front positioning lights and read LED “halo” lights help link Soul to siblings within the Kia lineup that have the same design nods, like the 2014 Sorento CUV and 2014 Forte sedan.

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