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The Evolution of the Kia Soul

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When it comes to iconic Kia vehicles, most people immediately think of the award-winning Kia Soul. From dancing hamsters to intriguing concepts, the Soul has been a staple of the Kia brand for more than ten years and continues to impress drivers worldwide. To celebrate this vehicle’s remarkable history, we thought we’d take a brief look at the evolution of the Kia Soul, including notable concepts along the way.

2006 Kia Soul (KND-3)

2006 Kia Soul Concept
Photo: Kia

The first images of the Kia Soul concept were styled by Mike Torpey at Kia’s Design Center in Irvine, California. Working with the Kia team at the Namyang Design Center, the automaker managed to debut the concept at the 2008 Paris Motor Show, with many praising its funky and creative design.

2008 Diva, Burner, and Searcher (KED-5)

2008 Kia Soul Burner
Photo: Kia

In 2008, the Kia Soul, Burner, and Searcher were introduced by Kia’s European design team to appeal to three different types of drivers. The Diva was created as an accessory for fashion forward females, with gold accessories and trim. The Burner (pictured) was made for the edgy driver, with a black and red color scheme and aggressive accessories. The Searcher was created to appeal to those searching for inner peace, complete with a power folding roof and neutral interior tones.

2009 Kia Soul’ster (KCD-5)

2009 Kia Soulster
Photo: Kia

In an attempt to compete in the truck and off-road market, Kia presented the Soul’ster at the 2009 New York International Auto Show. The bright yellow subcompact crossover featured an open roof over the rear seats, dual chrome exhaust, and 19-inch aluminum alloy wheels. The South East Automotive Media Organization of the U.S. named the Soul’ster the Concept Truck of the Year in 2009.

2012 Track’ster (KCD-8)

2012 Kia Trackster
Photo: Kia

The Track’ster was introduced in 2012 at the Chicago Auto Show and was designed for powerful performance. The 3-door CUV featured an eye-catching design with bright red accents and a different front end than the original Soul. Inside, the Track’ster continued with the sporty trend and showcased red trimmed seating and dash accents.

2015 Trail’ster

2015 Kia Trailster
Photo: Kia

Another Chicago Auto Show debut for a Soul concept was in 2015 with the active lifestyle Trail’ster vehicle. This concept was designed in the U.S. and was offered as another off-road model for the Soul and featured an e-AWD system that optimized driving to adapt to different surface conditions.

2017 Kia Soul

2017 Kia Soul
Photo: Kia

Today, the Kia Soul is one of Kia’s top-selling vehicles and boasts a variety of cutting edge features. This year’s model comes with a new UVO3 infotainment system, a premium Harman Kardon sound system, an optional turbocharged engine, and much more.