Kia Soul – 2008 – 2022 Model Year Differences and Improvements

kia soul model year and differences

The Kia Soul is a compact hatchback produced by the South Korean automotive company Kia. The Soul was introduced in 2008 for the 2009 model year. The Soul is based on the Hyundai i20’s platform, with the Soul being more rigid, taller, and with a tough ride than the i20. The Soul is a city car, and this small crossover did well within the city limits, apart from that it was a task too tough.

Let us take a brief look at the history of the Kia Soul and find out how much it has evolved to date. Please follow through.

2008 – 2012

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The first-generation Kia Soul was unveiled in 2008 for the 2009 model year.

The Soul’s exterior styling features an unusual boxy design with an angled greenhouse, sharp-looking blacked-out A-pillars, and rounded edges. The Soul was pitched directly on a territory occupied by the likes of the Nissan Cube, Toyota Matrix, Scion xB, Chrysler PT Cruiser, and Chevrolet HHR as Kia looked at capturing and establishing itself in this market segment occupied by younger drivers looking for something stylish.

The interior of the Soul is spacious and airy with its designated five (two front bucket seats and a rear bench) seats enough to accommodate four adults comfortably, while also providing enough headroom and legroom. The dashboard is clearly and neatly designed with the controls within reach and user-friendly. 

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Standard features include air conditioning, power windows, a six-speaker stereo system, AM/FM radio, CD player, USB, and power door locks. Optional features include an eight-speaker stereo system, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and Bluetooth connectivity.

The Soul offers several storage options which include a large glove compartment, a small round storage compartment at the center of the dashboard, large front door pockets that can function as bottle holders, a boot large enough to handle a couple of bags with the option to extend by folding the split/folding rear seats or making use of an additional tray that can be specified for the boot.

The base 2010 Kia Soul comes fitted with a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder petrol engine with 122 hp and 115 lb-ft of torque, while the higher trims feature a. 2.0-liter 4-cylinder with 142 hp and 137 lb-ft of torque. A 1.6-liter 4-cylinder diesel engine with 113 hp and 188 lb-ft of torque was an option. These engines are paired with either a five-speed manual as standard, a four-speed automatic, six-speed manual, or six-speed automatic transmission.

kia soul blue engine

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2013 – 2018

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Kia unveiled the second-generation Kia Soul in 2013 for the 2014 model. It was based on the Kia Trackster concept and is slightly bigger with its wheelbase now at 101.2 inches, width at 70.9 inches, and height of 63.0 inches while the length remained the same. 

The 2014 Soul’s styling was modernized without jeopardizing its original flavor; its looks were slightly more aggressive while maintaining the chummy bulldog look. Newly redesigned features on the Soul include a large trapezoidal lower air intake, high-mounted tail lights, and a wraparound greenhouse. The all-new “SUV Styling Pack” includes blackened A and B pillars, blackened-out lower fascias, wheel arches, side skirts, and new alloy wheel choices.

The 2014 Soul’s cabin grew in size offering better space to comfortably accommodate four passengers, although it has a five-seat configuration, a fifth passenger is a crowd. 

The second-row seats can be flat-folded to extend the cargo space to 1727 liters. Under the cargo floor, there is a small storage bin with an organizer inside with several compartments. The seats are comfy and the interior is quite accommodating for a small hatchback.

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The cabin is quieter, standard features include a six-speaker AM/FM/MP3 audio system, a tilt/telescopic steering wheel, power windows, and heated mirrors.

The 2014 Soul comes fitted with a base 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine with 130 hp and 118 lb-ft. A 2.0-liter 4-cylinder with 164 hp and 151 lb-ft of torque was available as an option. These engines are paired with a 6-speed automatic or 6-speed manual transmission. 

kia soul red engine

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In 2017, a turbocharged 1.6-liter 4-cylinder petrol engine with 201 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque was added to the lineup to replace the 2.0-liter engine. This engine was paired with a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

2019 – Present

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Kia unveiled the third generation of the Kia Soul in 2019 as a 2020 model. Its wheelbase grew by 1.2 inches, length by 2.2 inches.

The 2020 Soul retained the boxy design, but with freshly sculpted lines and very modern lighting elements. The face features a sizable two-tone false front grille, a thin line of LED headlights, redesigned DRLs and turn signals, and a wide deck of air intakes.  The greenhouse comes with roof rack mounting points and c-pillars designed to create a visual impression of airplane wings. On the sides, the Soul comes with some crisp stamps, bulging wheel arch blisters, rounded edges, and 18-inch wheels, while at the rear the tailgate has a small island of body color with a Kia badge and a large tail light that runs around the rear glass, and a roof that appears to float with a shark fin antenna on it.

The growth in length and wheelbase enabled the Soul to sprout more interior space. The front seats are supportive with the cabin able to accommodate four medium-built adults comfortably with enough leg, knee, and headroom. The cargo area is now 674 liters with the seats in place.

Interior features include wireless smartphone charging, dual auto climate control, a 10-speaker audio system with 640 watts of power, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility,

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Safety-wise, the Soul comes equipped with High Beam Assist, Forward Collision-Avoidance, Lane Departure Warning, Automatic Emergency Braking, Active Lane Control, Driver Attention Monitoring, Blind-spot Monitoring, Smart Cruise Control, and Rear Cross-traffic Warning.

The 2020 Soul comes fitted with a base 2.0-liter 4-cylinder petrol engine with 147 hp paired to either a CVT or a 6-speed manual transmission. A turbocharged 1.6-liter 4-cylinder petrol with 201 hp paired with a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission is an option.

kia soul gold engine

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Conclusion

The Kia Soul is a good car that is almost perfect for urban use. Its entertaining dynamics, characterful personality, and tough looks are a big selling point. 

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Written by: Samuel H. Mponezya

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