Will the Next Kia Soul Have All-Wheel Drive?

This is the Kia Soul Trail’ster Concept from a few years back. It does suggest that all-wheel drive has been on Kia’s mind for a while.

Doing some Soul searching

Recently, while on a family outing into the Rocky Mountains, I caught a brief glimpse of what was (obviously) the next Kia Soul – and it looked like it was all-wheel drive (AWD). The reason I say this is, based on its ride height, it was sitting higher off its wheels than other Kias I’ve seen.

The rest of the next Kia Soul test-mule’s design looked to be an evolution of the current model. The silhouette remains the same, but it was clear that the nose was different. Despite being hidden under the black fabric disguise, it was clear that the headlights are narrower, the hood looked like it had a more aggressive slope and the windshield looked like the rake was more pronounced.

After doing some research, other sources say that the next Kia Soul will use the same platform as the AWD Hyundai Kona, thus leaving the door open for an AWD variant. It’s a pretty good bet that the new Kia Soul will have a 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder base engine, a more powerful 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder and a hybrid, plug-in hybrid or even an all-new all-electric variant.

Kia Trail’ster concept.

Still the best-selling Kia

According to Good Car Bad Car, Kia sold over 125,000 Kia Souls in North America in 2017. While those numbers are a bit down over some previous years, it’s still the hottest selling Kia product on these shores. Adding an AWD variant would make the next Kia Soul competitive in a segment that’s occupied by hot sellers like the Honda HR-V, Jeep Renegade, Mazda CX-3 and the Subaru Crosstrek XV – among others.

The test mule I saw didn’t look high enough to tackle anything other than dirt roads and moderate snow. However, we are talking about a test mule that’s most likely testing out components and emissions at high elevation, so the finished product could be different. That is, if they finally bring us an AWD Kia Soul.

Let’s hope so.

Nathan Adlen
Easily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. Wrecking yards, dealer lots, garages, racetracks, professional automotive testing and automotive journalism - Nathan has experienced a wide range of the automotive spectrum. Brought up in the California car culture and educated in theater, childhood education, film, journalism and history, Nathan now lives with his family in Denver, CO. His words, good humor and video are enjoyed worldwide.