The all-new 2014 Kia Soul was unveiled today at the New York Auto Show! Inspired by the hot Track’ster Concept unveiled last year at the Chicago Auto Show, the 2014 Soul rides on a new chassis that is stiffer, longer and wider. Overall width that’s broadened to 1,800mm (increased by 15mm) and the same overall height of 1,610mm.
The 2014 Soul offers premium touches such as high-mounted LED front positioning lights and rear LED halo lights. External Track’ster similarities are easy to spot, as the 2014 Soul features a larger trapezoidal lower air intake, a reworked version of Kia’s signature grille and a unique “floating” body colour panel inset into the boot. Subtle enhancements include a wider (by 61mm over the previous Soul) opening for the boot, allowing Soul to carry more.
While final colour names have yet to be determined, the 2014 Soul will be available in seven new exterior hues, including the two seen on stage in New York: Solar Yellow and Inferno Red. European specification choices will be announced later.
The interior follows the same circular theme found inside Track’ster and as a result, the front and centre is the triple-circle instrument cluster with deeply recessed gauges, while the door panels sculpted circles incorporate the power windows and door locks. The centre console features a round gear-shift knob and push-button start – its location exclusive to Soul in the Kia line-up – which also are direct carryovers from Track’ster.
Most prominent in the new instrument panel is the, available on certain versions, eight-inch touch screen – the largest ever offered on Soul – which houses Kia’s second-generation telematics and infotainment system, UVO eServices, combined with Kia’s first use of the Android-based operating platform. Under the hood there is a 1.6-liter engine delivering 130 hp and 118 lb-ft of torque.
This engine is offered as standard on Base Soul model. The Plus and Exclaim model get the more powerful 2.0-liter Nu power plant delivering 164 hp and 151 lb-ft of torque. The 1.6-litre engine is mated to a six-speed manual transmission or, optionally, to a six-speed automatic. The Plus model may be equipped with either transmission while the Exclaim is available exclusively with the six-speed automatic.
The all-new Kia Soul isn’t just an attractive package. Its contents also deliver. For one, it has a new instrument panel with a prominent eight-inch touch screen. This instrument panel houses Kia’s 2nd-generation Kia infotainment and telematics system, as well as UVO eServices. This is also the first time Kia is using an Android-based operating platform. The UVO Services is also now compatible with Android Smartphone and iPhone.
UVO eServices is optional, taking media interplay and in-car connectivity to the next level and integrating several other Kia firsts. At the top of this list of firsts is the car’s high-definition or HD capacitive touch screen. It has a wide viewing angle that enables better visibility as well as allows you to scroll with just a stroke of your finger. Placed side-by-side in a Kia vehicle for the first time, the audio/video and navigation controls can be viewed on the home screen. Joining your most-accessed ancillary controls together on one screen reduces driver distraction as well as improves ease-of-use and overall functionality. Moreover, the bigger Supervision Cluster/TFT LCD screen in the instrument binnacle shows turn-by-turn directions from the integrated navigation system, helping keep the driver looking forward.
The Kia Soul’s use of Pandora internet radio is another first for the brand. This revolutionary online radio network lets you customize your listening experience. You no longer have to manage Pandora through your Smartphone because Pandora is already preloaded into the head unit and can be accessed through the touch screen or Voice Command. It displays the title, the artist, and the album cover art, and it allows you to easily skip songs, to manage preferred stations, and even to "like" a song using Pandora's thumbs-up rating system.
In addition, the Kia Soul is arriving with a 3-month complimentary subscription to SiriusXM Travel Link and SiriusXM Data Services. This allows access to travel information, including road conditions, weather alerts, and security alerts. You can also keep track of sports scores, stock prices, fuel prices, and even movie schedules through the graphical interface of the screen and the electronic program guide. You will also continue to have access to XM and Sirius channels for merely the price of one should you decide to go on with a paid subscription when the 3-month trial period ends.