Kia unveils all-new 2014 Soul at New York Auto Show

  • Born from the Track'ster concept, the all-new 2014 Soul enhances Kia's urban utility vehicle offering
  • With increased room, more premium features, improved driving dynamics and true-to-its-roots iconic design, the all-new Soul is more fun, funky and functional than ever

NEW YORK, March 27, 2013 /CNW/ - The Big Apple, perhaps America's most iconic metropolis, is playing host to the global unveiling of Kia Motors' most iconic people mover, the all-new 2014 Soul urban utility vehicle, today at the 113th New York International Auto Show (NYIAS). The signature Soul design is instantly recognizable yet thoroughly fresh, with more than a passing nod to the cutting-edge Track'ster concept that was unveiled last year. Riding on a new chassis that is stiffer, longer and wider, the all-new Soul has grown up without losing its edge, allowing for more passenger and cargo room while reducing Noise Vibration Harshness (NVH) levels. Increased torque and significant suspension upgrades make the 2014 Soul a nimble and agile companion in congested urban environments. Pricing will be announced closer to the Soul's launch date in the third quarter of this year.

"Introduced in 2009, the Soul began Kia's design-led transformation and played a vital role in the evolution of the Kia brand," said Robert Staffieri, Director of Marketing, Kia Canada Inc. "Its iconic design exemplifies Kia's commitment to deliver a combination of innovative styling, along with enhanced driving dynamics and functionality."

Keeping what made the current Soul special while addressing areas for improvement was no easy task. As the design team at Kia's California studio began putting virtual pen to virtual paper, engineers in the U.S. and Korea focused on making the Soul a joy to drive. Starting with a solid foundation was a key factor, and the new body enjoys a significantly increased torsional rigidity over the current Soul. With the hard points set, the all-new Soul was boiled down to three focus areas: maintaining the iconic design while adding modern cues; providing premium features and content; and improving driving dynamics that would make the 2014 Soul more desirable than ever.

Iconic Design

Well-known for the close link between its concept vehicles and production models, Kia Motors took no chances with the 2014 Soul. When the wild Track'ster concept made its debut in 2012, Soul enthusiasts and pundits alike urged Kia to turn fantasy into reality.  With 18 months from design freeze to production, the stage was set for the all-new Soul and many of the concept's dramatic design cues can be found in the production vehicle. Tom Kearns, chief designer at the California studio, likened the Track'ster to a bulldog and that theme is expressed from almost any angle of the all-new Soul.

"The all-new Soul was one of the more difficult assignments we've taken on," said Kearns. "Striking the right balance between the wonderful design of the current car with the audacious proportions and stance of the Track'ster was daunting.  It proved to be a truly collaborative effort with guidance from Peter Schreyer in Frankfurt and assistance from our studio in Korea. In the end, we've kept the essence of Soul while infusing it with more presence inside and out."

Premium touches such as available LED front positioning lights and rear LED lights help connect Soul to siblings within the Kia lineup that share similar design cues, such as the 2014 Sorento and 2014 Forte sedani.

Exterior Track'ster similarities are easy to spot. The large trapezoidal lower air intake is nearly a direct carryover of the concept and the location of the available fog lights - down low and pushed to the leading edges - mirror those found on the Track'ster. Kia's signature grille is present, but it's been reworked to more closely resemble the concept.  Adding a touch of flare, the unique "floating" body colour panel inset into the lift gate has its roots based in the Track'ster as well.  Subtle enhancements include a wider (by 61mm over the previous Soul) opening for the lift gate, allowing Soul to swallow more stuff.

Overall, the design team paid particular attention to instilling a more premium look and feel to the 2014 Soul's interior. Liberal applications of soft-touch materials are found on the instrument panel, centre console and door panels. Details such as available leather seating with improved lateral and thigh support, and the use of high-gloss piano-black trim pieces on the centre console and dash elevate the Soul's interior to new levels of sophistication.

Citing the current Soul interior as a starting point, Kia's designers played up the circular theme found inside Track'ster. "With the previous Soul, we kind of dipped our toe in the water when it came to incorporating the circular patterns," noted Kearns. "But for the all-new Soul, we really wanted to lift as many of the Track'ster's circular interior reference points as possible."

Front and centre is the triple-circle instrument cluster with deeply recessed gauges.  Along 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 lineup - which also are direct carryovers from Track'ster. The front door-mounted speakers mirror the circular, high-mounted "floating" tweeters. The steering-wheel mounted controls are housed in Soul-exclusive circular groupings along the lower spokes with the buttons for the audio system and trip computer falling readily to the  thumbs, enabling the driver's hands to remain on the wheel at all times.

"If you think about droplets falling into a still pond, you begin to visualize the inspiration for the all-new Soul's interior design," said Kearns. "The design is organic, like the human body, and we feel it makes the interior that much more appealing to the driver and passengers." Taking that appeal a step further is Soul's desirable list of standard and optional equipment.

Improved Driving Dynamics

Built on an all-new chassis that is significantly stiffer than before, the Soul's stout skeleton provides the base for a vehicle that places a premium on driving dynamics. Engineers put their efforts in strengthening the body at key connection points along the cowl, upper and lower B-pillars, cross members, and at the C-pillars. Fully, 66 per cent of the chassis utilizes either Ultra High Strength Steel (35 per cent) or High Strength Steel (31 per cent). The A-pillar is 20mm narrower, allowing for improved outward visibility, but through the use of Ultra High Strength Steel, it's lighter and stronger. The application of structural adhesive around the door openings and along the roof also helps improve torsional rigidity.

Significant attention has been focused on improving the all-new Soul's ride and handling through heavily revised front and rear suspension set ups. The front subframe utilizes four bushings (none are used on the current Soul) to reduce ride harshness and impact booms over rough pavement. The stabilizer bar has been moved rearward on the McPherson strut front suspension, while the steering box has been moved forward, lending better balance and subsequently improved handling.

Relocating the steering box has also yielded benefits to on-centre feel. The new one-piece steering gear housing is stronger than the two-piece unit used on the current Soul, improving steering response and reducing impacts felt through the wheel. Kia's FlexSteer™ system, which allows the driver to select from three distinct steering settings: Comfort, Normal and Sport, is also found in the all-new Soul.

The shock absorbers on the torsion bar rear suspension have been turned vertically (they were positioned at an angle on the current Soul) and lengthened. This arrangement allows for more suspension travel, improving ride comfort.

Motivation for the base Soul is delivered by a gasoline direct injection (GDI) 1.6-litre all-aluminum DOHC four-cylinder engine. Other available Soul trims will enjoy a more powerful 2.0-litre GDI power plant. Both engines have been tuned to provide more low-end torque for an improved around-town driving experience.

About Kia Motors Corporation:

Kia Motors Corporation (www.kia.com)  - a maker of quality vehicles for the young-at-heart - was founded in 1944 and is Korea's oldest manufacturer of motor vehicles. Over 2.7 million Kia vehicles a year are produced in nine manufacturing and assembly operations in five countries which are then sold and serviced through a network of distributors and dealers covering around 150 countries. Kia today has over 47,000 employees worldwide and annual revenues of US$42 billion. It is the major sponsor of the Australian Open and an official automotive partner of FIFA - the governing body of the FIFA World Cup™. Kia Motors Corporation's brand slogan - "The Power to Surprise" - represents the company's global commitment to surprise the world by providing exciting and inspiring experiences that go beyond expectations.

About Kia Canada Inc.:

Kia Canada Inc. (www.kia.ca - www.facebook.com/kiacanada) a maker of quality vehicles for the young-at-heart is a subsidiary of Kia Motors Corporation (KMC) which was founded in 1999 and sells and services high quality, class leading vehicles like the Soul, Forte, Optima and Sorento through a network of 181 dealers nationwide. Kia Canada Inc. employs 162 people in its Mississauga, Ontario headquarters and four regional offices across Canada, with an all-new state-of-the-art facility in Montreal. Kia's brand slogan "The Power to Surprise" represents the company's global commitment to surprise the world by providing exciting & inspiring experiences that go beyond expectations.

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i 2014 Forte Sedan expected Q2 2013.


SOURCE: KIA Canada Inc.

For further information:

Cathy Laroche
Public Relations Manager
Kia Canada Inc.

C: 514.554.0843
E: claroche@kia.ca

Daniel Ponzini
Public Relations & Events Coordinator
Kia Canada Inc.

T: 905.755.6415
C: 647.462.8986
E: dponzini@kia.ca


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