At the time, we polled Autoblog readers if they thought bringing the optional visuals to SUV-happy North America was a good idea, and the voting split 70.3 percent in favor, 21.4 percent against, and 8.3 percent undecided.
At the present time, Kia representatives tell us that it has no plans to offer the SUV Styling Pack in our market, so you'll have to take a better look at it with our new gallery to decide whether its absence from North American order sheets is a tragedy or not.
- Kia's funky urban crossover set for UK launch in Spring 2014
- Second-generation Soul to be based on latest Kia cee'd platform
- Improved emissions
- Increased interior and luggage space
- High levels of specification and customisation
The all-new 2014 Kia Soul urban crossover will make its European debut at the 65th Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung (IAA) in Frankfurt on 10 September, before going on sale across Europe early next year.
Inspired by the 2012 Kia Track'ster concept, the 2014 Soul introduces a thoroughly fresh, more grown-up appearance, whilst still instantly recognisable as a Soul.
The new vehicle - shown in European specification for the first time - echoes the outgoing model's upright stance, squared shoulders, wraparound greenhouse, high-mounted tail lights and confidence-inspiring SUV ride height. The new Soul also features an all-new interior, with higher quality materials and a more driver-focused design.
When the car goes on sale in 2014, buyers will also be able to choose between three different roof colours - black, white and red - as well as up to 11 exterior paint finishes.
The pair of new Kia Souls displayed on the Kia stand at IAA Frankfurt will also exhibit a new SUV Styling Pack, featuring piano black bumper trim, side skirts, wheel arches and a black painted roof. The new range of Soul accessory kits are designed to enable owners to fully enjoy and exploit the versatility of this unique compact SUV.
The biggest technical change for the 2014 Soul is the adoption of an all-new platform, based on that of the latest Kia cee'd. The result is greatly improved ride and handling compared with the outgoing model, as well as more mature and refined on-road behaviour. The second-generation Soul will also be the best in its class for refinement, a result of the car's upgraded suspension, 29 per cent stiffer bodyshell and comprehensive soundproofing. Interior noise levels are reduced by approximately three decibels.
Subtly larger dimensions also mean the new model offers buyers a more practical proposition, with a longer wheelbase and wider track contributing to greater cabin space and cargo capacity. Leg, head and shoulder room are increased for all passengers, while the cargo area is increased by 4 per cent to 354 litres (plus additional underfloor storage) with the rear seats upright.
Environmental performance for the new model is also improved. Buyers will be able to choose between the latest versions of Kia's 1.6-litre GDi petrol and CRDi diesel engines, as well as six-speed manual and automatic transmissions. Both engines are carried over from the outgoing model, and feature improved efficiency with lower emissions.
Promising a more rewarding ownership experience, the 2014 Soul will be available in Europe with a range of new premium features (depending on model), including: front LED daytime running lights and rear LED 'halo' lights, xenon headlights, keyless entry and push-button engine start, automatic climate control, cruise control, leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, heated front and rear seats, panoramic glass sunroof and heated and electrically folding exterior mirrors.
The all-new 2014 Kia Soul will go on sale across Europe early next year when the full model line-up, choice of gasoline and diesel powertrains, performance, economy, equipment specifications and prices will be confirmed.