Kia keeps its Soul young by unveiling the third generation of the boxy hatchback at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show. The overall look remains familiar, but the automaker's make a bevy of tweaks that give the latest model a futuristic feeling.
The changes are immediately evident at the front where the Soul gains narrower headlights that now span across the model's entire nose. To our nerdy eye, the new element evokes the look of the villainous Cylons from Battlestar Galactica. Sharper edges give the lower grille a more angular appearance that grabs the eye more than the previous generation.
Depending on the model, the area between the headlight strip and lower grille can have different styling. For example, the GT-Line variant (pictured above) has a trio of skinny inlets there. Conversely, the X-Line version has a single opening but more prominent fog lights.
In profile, the new Soul looks sleeker due to its more rounded nose, particularly on the green EV model in this comparison. The other major change is at the rear pillar where a new trim strip bears the model name and visually separates the area from the roof, and this creates a floating effect.
There are now embossed panels around the wings that make the Soul's silhouette appear less slab-sided. A prominent crease spanning the area between the doors also creates a more complex appearance.
The rear is the most familiar spot on the third-generation Soul, looking a whole lot like its predecessor. The biggest revision is the vertically oriented taillights that now wrap around the entire back window. At first glance, it looks rather odd, but depending on how much of the area is actually illuminated, the layout could make the tail of the new Soul one of the most visible objects on the road.
The GT-Line (pictured above) also has a sporty look at the back with a pair of rectangular pipes exiting from below the centre of the bumper.
The new Soul is 55.9 mm longer than the previous model, including riding on a 30.5-mm longer wheelbase. Kia puts the extra real estate to use in the cargo area that can carry 141.6 litres more gear. There isn't much of a benefit to legroom, though, because the amount of space increases by just 5 mm in front and decreases 7.62 mm in the second row.
Kia also equips high-end variants of the Soul with a 10.25-inch infotainment screen, and buyers can specify an 8-inch head-up display, too.
The third-gen Soul will go on sale in the United States in the first half of 2019. Buyers will be able to pick a naturally aspirated 2.0-litre with 147 bhp and 132 pound-feet, a turbocharged 1.6-litre four with 201 bhp and 195 lb-ft, or a 201-bhp fully electric version.
No confirmed arrival time yet for the UK market, but you can expect it to be around £29,000, which is the price of the outgoing Soul EV.