Exclusive: Kia Track’ster still on table, Soul turbo possible

Filed under: Concept Cars, Plants/Manufacturing, Hatchback

2012 Kia Track'ster concept live at Chicago Auto Show

The Soul is a massive success – no news there.

We’ve just finished up in San Diego at the launch of the 2014 Kia Soul (sit tight for our First Drive next week), and we’ve learned a few things about the Korean automaker’s box-car future.

In the main, the Soul is a massive success – no news there – with Kia officials telling us that the US is gobbling up 80 to 90 percent of production coming out of the company’s Gwangju plant. Counterintuitively, it’s doing so well that its demand is actually hurting the viability of potential spinoff models like the 2012 Track’ster concept shown above, along with other variants. The issue is production capacity – or rather a lack thereof. In 2012, the Soul sold 112,000 copies here (its best-ever performance) and Michael Sprague, Kia’s Executive Vice President of Marketing and Communications, says “we could have sold a lot more.” The problem is, Kia Motors America can’t get any more units, the factory is running flat-out. Thus, with the standard car selling so well, there’s no room and little incentive to develop new models.

Response to the widebody Track’ster was off the charts.

That isn’t going to stop Kia from coming to market with a Soul EV, which is expected to be shown at a US auto show some time this upcoming season, but it is making it hard to justify adding something like the Track’ster or a Soul turbo. This, despite company officials telling Autoblog that they’d love to see the 201-horsepower, 1.6-liter turbo from the recently introduced 2014 Forte SX snugged in the Soul’s engine bay. The engine fits and the new K platform is up to the task, but there’s also the question of price – Executive Director of Product Planning, Orth Hedrick, tells us that such a model would likely have to cost around $2,500 more, and the automaker isn’t sure they want the Soul’s pricing bandwidth to extend that high, especially with the turbocharged Sportage already available.

Sprague admits response to the widebody Track’ster was off the charts and the project is still very much on the table, but to hear him tell it, the model sounds unlikely as long as the Soul continues to be capacity constrained. Reading between the lines a bit, it would seem that if US demand continues to be as robust as it has been, Kia is going to have to find a way to build the Soul in North America soon – possibly by expanding its West Point, Georgia plant, which is itself maxxed out building the Optima and Sorento. Given how long it would take to build out and tool up West Point, though, it seems like the Track’ster’s window of viability is closing. In the meantime, the buying public will have to be happy with the redone styling of the Track’ster-influenced 2014 Soul.

Kia Track’ster still on table, Soul turbo possible originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 29 Aug 2013 15:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: 2014 Kia Soul priced from $14,700*

Filed under: Car Buying, Budget, Crossover, Kia

2014 Kia Soul

Kia has announced pricing on the refreshed 2014 Soul. At $14,700 (*plus a destination charge of $795), the new funky crossover undercuts its two primary competitors, the Scion xB and Nissan Cube, by $2,850 and $2,060, respectively. That base model includes 16-inch alloys, cruise control, wheel-mounted audio controls and a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine with 130 horsepower and 118 pound-feet of torque.

The mid-range model, the Soul Plus, demands $18,200 and adds a spate of exterior items, like 17-inch wheels and chrome trim, to class up the Soul’s look, not to mention a 164-horsepower, 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine. Plus customers also have access to a number of option packages, including a $400 pack that adds Kia’s UVO infotainment system and a backup camera. A $1,400 Audio Package adds navigation, an eight-inch display, an Infinity stereo and automatic temperature controls. A $3,000 Primo Package adds a few notable luxury items, like a panoramic sunroof, heated leather seats, and push-button start. Finally, a $400 Eco Package adds stop-start technology and replaces the 17-inch wheels with 16s shod in low-rolling-resistance tires.

The top-of-the-line Soul Exclaim starts at $20,300 and comes with LED running lights, LED taillights, 18-inch wheels and the Plus’s UVO Package as standard. Buyers can opt for The Whole Shebang, a $2,500 option pack that apes the Primo Package from the Plus. Weirdly, the Audio Package from the Soul Plus is an extra $1,200 on the Exclaim, and has been rebranded the Sun and Sand Package. Feel free to peruse the press release below for more.

Continue reading 2014 Kia Soul priced from $14,700*

2014 Kia Soul priced from $14,700* originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 28 Aug 2013 14:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: 2014 Kia Soul to get quasi-SUV look for Europe [w/poll]

Filed under: Budget, Europe, Crossover, Kia, Design/Style

European 2014 Kia Soul will come standard with a SUV Styling pack that won't be available in the US.

The 2014 Soul is bigger and more refined, and Kia says its look has been inspired in part by the Track’ster concept. Interestingly, European buyers will get the option of a different look than what we’ll see in our showrooms. They’ll be able to specify the SUV Styling Pack seen here, which includes matte-black cladding on the front and rear fascias, along with what Kia refers to as piano-black trim on the wheel wells and side skirts. The roof is available painted black, white or red. With all of that black trim and slightly tougher look, the styling reminds us of the Fiat 500L Trekking, a model the Soul will compete directly against.

European markets also have the ability to spec their Souls like our North American version, which substitutes body-color trim for most of the black pieces. Currently, there are no plans to bring the SUV Styling Pack to the US. But that doesn’t mean we’ll never be able to buy this butch-look Soul on our side of the Atlantic. Company spokesperson James Hope confirms to Autoblog, “[Kia] has no plans to offer something similar to the EU-spec Soul at this time. However, we are always monitoring the market and if we saw an opportunity we would certainly look into it.”

Feel free to peruse the press release below for more details on the Euro-spec Soul – which is slated to debut at next month’s Frankfurt Motor Show – and then let Kia know if they should bring the SUV Styling Pack here by participating in our poll below.

View Poll

Continue reading 2014 Kia Soul to get quasi-SUV look for Europe [w/poll]

2014 Kia Soul to get quasi-SUV look for Europe [w/poll] originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 24 Aug 2013 13:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: 2014 Kia Soul gets new ‘Totally Transformed’ hamster commercial

Filed under: Marketing/Advertising, Videos, Crossover, Kia, Humor

Kia Hamsters

The lovable, anthropomorphic hamsters from Kia are known for electronic dance music, head bopping, and of course, a certain funktastic Korean box-on-wheels. With a new Soul on the way, the adorable rodents need to be ready to appear alongside the resculpted crossover. Only one thing could get them ready in time – cue the training montage.

The commercial, called Totally Transformed, features Lady Gaga playing in the background, along with gratuitous footage of the hamsters shedding some weight. The Kia designers also get some attention, as they’re hard at work designing the hamsters’ new ride. Take a look below for the full, 91-second spot.

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2014 Kia Soul gets new ‘Totally Transformed’ hamster commercial originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 23 Aug 2013 12:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: Kia prices 2011 Soul Hamstar special edition at $20,295*

Filed under: Car Buying, Marketing/Advertising, Hatchback, Kia

2011 kia soul hamstar special edition

2011 Kia Soul Hamstar special edition – Click above for high-res image

You can get with this… for $20,295. Kia has officially announced that you’ll need that much dough (*plus $695 for delivery) if you want to purchase a 2011 Soul Hamstar special edition. An ode to the award-winning hip-hop hamsters seen in Kia commercials, the four-speed auto-equipped Hamstar becomes the sixth special edition Soul that Kia has offered up for sale.

The limited-production box on wheels wears Molten Red pain, which is offset with a pair of black stripes across the front doors and black trim. Black is also the color of choice for the 18-inch wheels, fender vents and fuel-filler cap. A Hamstar logo sits on the hood, and can also be seen throughout the interior.

That interior space can be filled with music thanks to the Audio Upgrade Package. A 315-watt amp pumps sound out through the speakers, but it’s kicked up a notch thanks to the center speaker and subwoofer.

The full press release on the Soul Hamstar is posted after the jump. You can check out the concept version shown off at the 2010 SEMA show, by clicking through the gallery below.

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Kia prices 2011 Soul Hamstar special edition at $20,295* originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 26 May 2011 16:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Kia Soul Hamstar edition rolling onto dealer lots this spring

Filed under: Car Buying, Kia

Kia Soul Hamstar

SEMA 2010: Kia Soul Hamstar Edition Concept – Click above for high-res image gallery

The Kia Soul and special editions go together like hip-hop and hamsters. That is to say, some people love them and other folks might have heard enough of this, and heard enough of that. Regardless, the Soul is getting another special edition, and this time around it’s the Hamstars that are getting the attention.

We saw the concept version of the Kia Soul Hamstar Edition at the 2010 SEMA show. Now, we’ve received confirmation from Kia that this stars and stripes-wearing Soul is coming to dealer lots in time for the 2011 spring season. Stripes run up the doors and on to the fenders while a star Hamstar logo sits on the hood and rear hatch. The Soul Hamstar will get a unique wheel package, and the inside will feature more Hamstar logos throughout. No word yet on pricing… but it’s safe to assume it will cost you a little bit of this, and a little bit of that. Sorry.

Kia Soul Hamstar edition rolling onto dealer lots this spring originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 06 May 2011 15:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Refreshed 2012 Kia Soul to bow at New York Auto Show

Filed under: New York Auto Show, Budget, Hatchback, Kia

Kia Soul spy shots

2012 Kia Soul spy shots – Click above for high-res image gallery

According to a newsletter sent out by the New York Auto Show organizers, Kia will debut its refreshed 2012 Soul hatchback as part of next week’s festivities. In addition to a slightly revised front fascia complete with LED running lamps, the funky hatch will receive a number of powertrain enhancements for the 2012 model year.

Most significantly, the Soul will benefit from the addition of new six-speed transmissions, likely in both manual and automatic forms. According to Kia, this means the 2012 Soul will achieve nearly 35 miles per gallon on the highway – a healthy boost over the current car’s fuel economy rating of 24/30 mpg city/highway when equipped with the 2.0-liter engine and five-speed manual shifter.

As we reported earlier, Kia will also debut the 2012 Rio in New York, boasting new direct-injection technology and fuel economy ratings of over 40 mpg. Stay tuned for the full details next week.

Gallery: Spy Shots: Next-generation Kia Soul

Spy Shots: Next-generation Kia SoulSpy Shots: Next-generation Kia SoulSpy Shots: Next-generation Kia SoulSpy Shots: Next-generation Kia SoulSpy Shots: Next-generation Kia Soul

[Source: New York Auto Show | Images: CarPix]

Refreshed 2012 Kia Soul to bow at New York Auto Show originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 14 Apr 2011 13:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Rumormill: Kia planning Mazda MX-5 fighter, all-wheel-drive Soul

Filed under: Convertible, Crossover, Kia, Rumormill

kia mx-5 close cropKia is seriously considering adding a two-seat droptop along the lines of Mazda’s MX-5 to its portfolio. European CEO Paul Philpott has stated that the automaker will expand and enhance its volume offerings during 2011 and 2012, but that a roadster could be in the cards shortly thereafter.

Philpott is not alone in his desires for a Kia sports car. Paul Schreyer, Kia’s Chief Designer, believes that the Korean automaker needs a truly sporty vehicle in the lineup (sorry, Forte Koup).

UK-based magazine Auto Express has put together a rendering of such a vehicle, and it clearly draws heavily from the Pontiac Solstice. However, it should be noted that the idea of a sports car in the lineup is not a totally foreign concept. From 1995 through 1999, Kia held licensing rights to the Lotus Elan and produced the Kia Elan for the Korean Market.

Kia is also reportedly working on a small, all-wheel-drive vehicle to slot below the Sportage. The Soul is due for a revamp within the next two years, so it makes sense that the funky hatchback could get all-wheel drive as part of its overhaul.

[Source: Auto Express]

Rumormill: Kia planning Mazda MX-5 fighter, all-wheel-drive Soul originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 25 Mar 2011 14:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Spy Shots: Facelifted Kia Soul hanging out in the cold

Filed under: Spy Photos, Budget, Wagon, Hatchback, Kia

next generation kia soul spy photo

Spy Shots: Next-Generation Kia Soul – Click above for high-res image gallery

Kia is hard at work crafting an update to its funky little Soul. Our spy photographers in Germany have spotted a camo-clad example hiding an updated look.

Kia evidently plans on keeping up with current automotive trends, so the next-generation Soul will wear LED running lights (which are hiding beneath the amber stripes in the above photo) and sport turn-signal indicators in the mirrors.

Up front and out back, the Kia Soul will get revised bumpers. According to our sources, the Soul’s revised mouth will mimic the style found on the Kia Picanto, while the rear bumper cap are expected to seee the fog lights pushed further to the outside edges on Euro models.

There’s no word yet on when we’ll see this Soul sans-camo, but anything can happen when the auto show season is in full swing. In the meantime, we’ll have to use our imagination to figure out what’s going on under that camouflage, and you can try do the same by clicking through the gallery below.

Gallery: Spy Shots: Next-generation Kia Soul

Spy Shots: Next-generation Kia SoulSpy Shots: Next-generation Kia SoulSpy Shots: Next-generation Kia SoulSpy Shots: Next-generation Kia SoulSpy Shots: Next-generation Kia Soul

[Source: CarPix]

Spy Shots: Facelifted Kia Soul hanging out in the cold originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 10 Feb 2011 15:21:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Spy Shots: Kia readying Soul, Tiger Edition?

Filed under: Spy Photos, Budget, Crossover, Kia

Kia Soul Tiger Edition

Kia Soul Tiger Edition? We think not – Click above for high-res image gallery

User AiboPet over at the SoulHamsters forum happened upon one very interesting Kia Soul Sport while cruising the Kia North America fleet lot recently. The boxy hatch was caught wearing some unique vinyl graphics, complete with tiger stripes down both sides and large paw print on its hind-end. While the forum immediately caught fire with the notion that Kia is planning yet another special-edition version of its youth-oriented crossover, the truth may be a little tamer.

Kia tells Autoblog that it has no plans to roll out a new Tiger Edition Soul, nor will any other big-cat themed models be available from dealers anytime soon. Sorry, feline fans.

Of course, that doesn’t exactly answer what’s up with this particular graphics package. Kia says that when the company’s designers are done with special show-circuit jobs, it just parks them outside with the rest of its testers. This could be a stillborn special edition or a SEMA package that never made it to the show floor. Your guess is as good as ours. Thanks to everyone for the tips!

Gallery: Kia Soul Tiger Edition

[Source: SoulHamsters]

Spy Shots: Kia readying Soul, Tiger Edition? originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 14 Sep 2010 17:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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