Kia has taken the right path with its Soul—respecting the distinctive profile and design that it simply got right from the start, and letting it evolve to a second-generation model that's perhaps somewhat sportier and more inspired in its details.
One thing that hasn’t changed much since the first generation is the Soul’s roofline and fundamental proportions. Kia notes that the wheelbase and overall width are both up by nearly an inch—and the new model is built on an all-new platform—yet from the side profile, it still has the same abrupt windshield pillar and somewhat canted-back look to the roofline.
The latest Soul builds on the look of the 2012 Track’ster concept as the point of inspiration for the latest Soul; it helped set the proportions for this current Soul—although in truth they aren't that much different than the first-generation model.
Looking at some of the details, the Soul gets a distinctive lower air intake from that concept design, and with the grille and headlamps tucked upward somewhat, it has a visual effect of making the hoodline seem higher than it is. In back, there's a floating body-color panel, and strategic blackout areas, altogether serving to draw attention to the extreme upright design, and the bulbous, high-contrast taillights.
The look of the 2016 Soul, inside, is a bit more finished than in its previous iteration—and overall, it feels like an inexpensive small car peppered with some surprisingly premium bits. The chunky steering wheel, sporty gauge cluster, and soft-touch materials from elbow level on up add to that impression. Center-stack climate, audio, and infotainment controls are all canted slightly toward the driver, and speakers are elevated atop side vents on the dash.