Next-generation Kia Soul spotted testing - disguised - front three-quarter dynamic view

Be it the upright seating arrangement, the utility in a compact package, or just buyers captivated by dancing hamsters, the Kia Soul has proven to be one of the Korean automaker's best-selling models. Its popularity has driven Kia to renew the funky hatch for the 2014 model year, perhaps with some unexpected variants.

The sleuths at CarPix have nabbed the next Soul testing in the desert, and even with the camouflage disguise, our spies say it looks like the redesign has left the Soul slightly lower and a little wider. Additionally, the headlights have a more squared-off, masculine appearance. This prototype features a larger lower grille, with the Kia corporate grille moved farther upward.

And while the prototype above is likely a look at the bread-and-butter model, AutoExpress is reporting the new generation may spawn a convertible variant. This appears to be purely rumor at this point and thus should be taken with one very big grain of salt, but Kia clearly has aspirations for the range beyond a single bodystyle. It has shown a number of envelope-pushing Soul-based concepts, including the Soul'ster pickup that sported an open roof. That concept was rumored to be headed for production at one time, but was later said to be killed due to the flaccid global economy.

A more likely spinoff is a Soul GT with augmented performance and sportier aesthetics. There is reason to believe that a GT model could come with a different bodystyle – after all, the Soul-based Track'ster concept that stole the Chicago Motor Show earlier this year was a three-door.

Either way, the Soul appears poised to be the last "box car" standing – The segment-pioneering Honda Element is already out of production and both the Scion xB and Nissan Cube face murky futures.
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