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Kia has released the first official image of the production Soul. And that's pretty much it. The press release accompanying it is several paragraphs of filler that tells you exactly nothing of value, other than that the car keeps "it's" concept forebear's name and will be formally unveiled in October at the Paris Motor Show (which we knew). Kia also says that the Soul "defies classification," which is elaborate automaker code for, "it's a small crossover that's our answer to the Scion xB." Yes, but this is better-looking.

[Source: Kia]

Kia bares it's Soul – production car keeps original concept name

Kia Motors has confirmed its all-new segment-busting car will retain the name and spirit of the concept from which it evolved – Soul.

First seen as the SOUL concept car at the 2006 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, a trio of concept developments then appeared at the 2008 Geneva Motor Show which gave a strong indication to the many characters the new Kia could take on.

Mr Hyoung-Keun Lee, Senior Executive Vice President and COO, International Business Division, Kia Motors Corporation, said; 'Reaction from the media and public to the three SOUL concept cars seen at the Geneva Show in March and shown subsequently at other international events, has been overwhelmingly positive. This reaction, plus the fact that both physically and emotionally, the SOUL concept cars are so closely related to the new Kia Soul production car, made it a natural choice to retain this evocative name.'

The three Geneva concept cars – SOUL Burner, SOUL Diva and SOUL Searcher – were created by Kia's European design team led by Gregory Guillaume, with input from Kia's Chief Design Officer, Peter Schreyer. The original SOUL concept was designed jointly by Kia's Californian and Korean design studios.

Speaking about the choice of name for the original 2006 Detroit concept car, Tom Kearns, Chief Designer of Kia Motors America, said; 'We wanted to inject some life into this car's design, to give it a soul. And the word 'Soul' is a homophone for the home city of Kia Motors headquarters, in Korea, so it is a fun play on words.'

Peter Schreyer added; 'The name SOUL accurately reflects how people will be able to 'express their spirit – their psyche' with this new product. Through a variety of options, accessories and colours, they will be able to personalise their Kia Soul and create a sense of individuality, making their new car a true reflection of their personality.'

Looking to the 2008 Paris Motor Show, Gregory Guillaume said; 'Because the new Kia Soul is not a replacement for an existing vehicle and is destined to play a unique role within the Kia global line-up, it can be a bit of a rebel. The trio of Geneva concepts were 'appetisers' for the new model introduction at Paris, and you can be certain that the new Kia Soul model will retain the core DNA of the three exciting concepts.'

The Kia Soul defies classification and its design will encourage customers to build an emotional bond with this new car. Production of Soul will begin in Korea in September 2008 with UK cars appearing in early 2009. Kia believes Soul will provide a creative platform for buyers to individualise and match their car to their own personality.

The Kia Soul production car will make its world premiere at the Paris Motor Show in October this year and is expected to go on sale in the UK in early 2009.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      It does look much better than the xWhatever, but that's a bit like being more fuel-efficient than an H2. Doesn't take much.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I still can't believe we're gonna have to wait another 8 months or so before we can buy one. They've been testing this thing for forever! Hurry up, Kia!
      • 7 Years Ago
      Yuck. The orange rear blinkers? Black bumpstrips on the doors? It looks like a mildly updated 95 Suzuki.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Pictured might be the lower "LX" model sans the colored handles, bumper and door strips...

        Hope Kia sells the rumored 140hp 2.0 turbodiesel..along with the already 143hp 2.0 gas engine in use in the Kia Spectra, etc.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Most of the rest of the world requires amber turn signals, and this is a Euro spec car....

        Personally I prefer separate amber turn signals, and I understand the safety rationale for them.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Yeah, I would like the design just a little better if the rub strips and door handles were painted along with the fake vent on the fender.
      • 7 Years Ago
      The SUV ride height ruins it for me. Just doesn't compete with the 1st gen xB for me.
      • 7 Years Ago
      All these "xB sucks" comments are clearly from people who don't own (or have never spent much time in) an xB. I have a 2008, and it's the best car I've ever owned. I think it's also one of the coolest things on the road. The old one -- and the Nissan Cube -- are both hella ugly adult PowerWheels. Mine fits a ton of stuff, is quick, I get 30 mpg regularly in the city, and it's got a lot more ballsy design than the Accord-maxima-camry-sonata-whatever or the Soccer Mom Mivivan or the Hummer H-thirsty that the rest of America drives.

      Yes, design is subjective, and it often divides along generations. How many of "The Greatest Generation" liked the original Beetle? That was a baby boomer car, and it's one of the most beloved designs (in America, at least) of the 20th century.

      By the way, this Kia Soul is an xD, not xB fighter. It's also got a cool factor of about -7, and there won't be jack squat for aftermarket goodies.
        • 7 Years Ago
        You sound like a previous commenter on a previous article that was plugging his new 2008 Ford Focus as the greatest thing alive. Hmmm I wonder if you are the same person with a different ID.

        Either way all i can say is "nice try". The majority of us just don't buy into this.

        Good luck with your xB
        • 7 Years Ago

        And everyone loves that gauge cluster in the middle of the dashboard. What a crap design. Enjoy taking your eyes well of the road while you check your gauges. However, it probably doesn't make much of a difference while you're focused on your equally gay partner in the passenger seat.

        You hate on the Koreans because of your insecurity with their rising in popularity. Japan killed thousands in WWII with aspirations of taking over the World, while South Koreans have done nothing. If I was on the market for a new car, the Soul would be somewhere on the list. But, I've driven the lethargic to the point of almost being dangerous 1 gen xB and the now less fuel efficient new xB and they are nothing special. Toyota missed the mark and Scion sales are down as a result. Deal with it fanboy.

        What an idiot.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I test drove both a 2006 and 2008 xB back-to-back. There was no contest. The 2008 drives like a truck compared to the go-cart feel of the 2006. And, through some evil I've yet to understand, the 2008 has less room even though it's over a foot longer. Throw in crappy fuel mileage and I found myself considering a Kia Rondo over the new xB. That can't be good.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Looks good..........details are nice, save for the outdated door handles (should have gone with 'grab&pulls')
      • 7 Years Ago
      It's not just "better looking" than the xB. It's a whole helluva lot better looking than the xB. This thing is actually a pretty good looking car. Can't say I have a burning desire to own one, but I wouldn't rule it out.

      Kia should focus on simple, somewhat sporty cars like this. Kind of like late 80s/early 90s Hondas. It's a good niche.
        • 7 Years Ago
        A high end last gen S40? Isn't that a bit of an oxymoron?
        • 7 Years Ago
        One of the more interesting looking cars to come out of Kia (Hyundai). I think it looks better than the new xB.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Is this the new Hondaa CRV?
      • 7 Years Ago
      Based on this Kia World Net site, the confirmed features in the Soul includes the ff:

      Engines: 1.6L diesel (90hp and 115hp) and 1.6L gasoline (122hp)

      Wheels: 18-inch alloy wheels as an option, 15″ or 16″ as standard

      Avaliable features: 6x Airbags, ABS/EBD, CD/MP3, air conditioning, power windows, dual 12V power outlets in center console, standard USB port

      • 7 Years Ago
      Not only will the Koreans not stop at ripping off designs from the major manufacturer's, they see it fit to rip off the font from Ford's SYNC.

      Way to go asshats.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I think what John's trying to say is that he DID go back to Jalopnik. But once he started ranting about fonts, they told him to go back to Autoblog. I think he should take a hike over to Motor Trend.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Thats actually kind of funny tanooki2003, because the vast majority of jalopnik is loving this thing too and for the same reasons. Infact, I'm seeing some of the exact same comments there as here.

        As for inteller, meh, ignore him.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Go back to Jalopnik. It's perfect for ignorant commenters like yourself
      • 7 Years Ago
      Though the 1.6 would be a good base engine, methinks that a 2.0 will be it. Not bad. Its also too bad that the practical rub stripes and plastic handles are hated. They are so useful. Make them options, that will make folks happy.
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