The Kia Soul was designed at the design center of Kia located in California. It is a compact car and was first shown at the Paris Motor Show in the year 2008. It is made in South Korea and has been marketed around the globe since the year 2010.
The concept for the Soul was created by Mike Torpey. He was a new member of the Kia design team located in Irvine California. He was sent by Kia to brainstorm for a new vehicle. He was fascinated by a documentary that he had watched about wild boars. He then sketched out a boar caricature and put a backpack on it for practical reasons. The idea behind this sketch led to the combination rectangular shaped roof with the sloping line. It was reported by the New York Times that the attitude of the boar combined with the animal’s capability and strength was the image that was desired for the new model of Kia that was aimed to meet the needs of hip urban youth.
Kia hired Peter Schreyer as their Corporate Design Chief. Schreyer worked as a designer for Volkswagen and was the designer for the Audi TT. He added a few touches to the concept of the Kia Soul including the grille, which is now the corporate grill and is called the Tiger Nose.
The interior of the Kia Soul has 2 semi bucket seats located in the front and in the back the seats are flat and can be folded in order to create more storage space for the vehicle. It is sold with a stereo system that features six speakers, a CD player, Sirius Satellite Radio, as well as a USB port that can be used for an iPod connection. Some of the additional features that are available for upgrades include more speakers, audio controls on the steering wheel, and Bluetooth technology.
The Kia was designed in order to add more appeal to the Kia range of cars. It can be ordered with several different design options. There are several themed special editions of this particular make available. Some of the customized upgrades include cruise control, 18 inch alloy tires, racing stripes, hounds tooth or dragon graphics, LED turn indicators, and a steering wheel wrapped in leather.
In 2011, the Soul received several updates. The handles were changed to a more conventional pull out style, the trim was changed to a standard metallic, the instrument cluster was redesigned, and a leather boot shifter was added. There was also a switchblade style integrated remote and key with the option of a Smart Key.
In the model year 2012, a more thorough update was completed. The exterior and the interior stylings were revised and new powertrains were added. Other new features included a navigation system, leather seats, heated seats, infotainment, and climate control.
The North American Soul had several refreshers done to it in the year 2013 as well. There were 3 new colors offered, the grill was revised to have black chrome accents, the hood was bulged, a red taillight using LED was added as well as LED turn signals and yellow flashers. The badges on the exterior are now smooth instead of being raised.
On the interior the audio controls are now on the steering wheel and Bluetooth comes with the standard make. The upper line models have folding heated mirrors that include turn signal repeaters. The center display is not fully colored.
Perhaps the best known marketing campaign for the Kia Soul is the hamster commercials. These commercials feature the “cool” hamsters that drive the Soul. The campaign was created by David and Goliath, an ad agency based in Los Angeles.