2014 Kia Soul: fresh styling for quirky Korean box

The second-generation Kia Soul has been captured undergoing testing in Europe by CarAdvice's spy photographers, giving us our first look at the updated design of the funky box-shaped small car.
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Kia is expected to unveil the all-new Soul by the second half of next year before the quirky hatchback rolls out across the US, Europe and Asia, and then Australia in 2014.

The anticipated launch timing of the next-generation Kia Soul suggests the current model will have a shorter than average lifespan, having entered production in South Korea fewer than five years ago in 2008.

The new Soul has been restyled under the watchful eye of the brand’s revolutionary designer, Peter Schreyer, who has had something akin to the Midas touch since joining the company in 2006.

The spy shots reveal the basic shape of the current Soul will be retained but the details will be overhauled in line with Kia’s new design direction.

The two-piece headlight and indicator assemblies will be integrated into a cleaner, more conventional arrangement, while the ‘tiger nose’ grille will be wider and narrower and the gaping lower intake will adopt a new mesh grille and sit more flush with the bumper.

The new model also looks wider than the current Soul, potentially with a lower roofline, while the bulbous bonnet has been toned down, creating a more masculine appearance.

The rear-end redesign will also be evolutionary rather than revolutionary, with upgrades to the vertical tail-light towers and a reshaped bumper with repositioned reflectors.

Earlier spy shots of the car’s cabin have revealed the new Soul will get a complete interior makeover, with a cleaner and more modern dashboard and centre console layout than the current model’s basic, plasticy design.

A convertible version of the Soul, based on the 2009 Kia Soul’ster concept, was originally on Kia’s long-term production plan, but a company spokesman has since confirmed with US publication Car and Driver that those plans have been dropped.

CarAdvice also understands there are no firm plans at this stage to produce a sports version of the new Soul in the vein of the 184kW 2012 Kia Track’ster concept.