If there’s one Kia that we sorely miss seeing on Philippine roads, it’s the brand’s funky crossover, Soul.
It used to be available in the country in its first and second generations and proved to be quite the popular model for the brand. Unfortunately, Kia decided to quietly drop the Soul from the local lineup several years ago. This meant we didn't get our hands on the sporty third-generation model when it was first revealed during the 2018 Los Angeles Motor Show.
Fast forward to 2022, and Kia has given the third-gen Soul a makeover, inside and out. Featuring a sleeker exterior and a tweaked cabin, the crossover gets a more youthful look complete with new cutting-edge features.
Starting with the most obvious, Kia gave the 2023 Soul a fresh face courtesy of an updated grille design, restyled LED headlights and daytime running lights (DRLs), as well as new LED foglights. As an added extra, Kia also put their redesigned logo on the updated Soul for all to see.
The changes at the back are more subtle and only consist of a mildly-tweaked rear bumper, a new center exhaust design, and what appear to be smoked LED taillights. Depending on the variant chosen, the Soul can come with either 17- or 18-inch alloy wheels.
Rounding up the exterior makeover are new two-tone paint finishes; Clear White with Fusion Black roof, and Surf Blue with Fusion Black Roof.
Pop the doors open and the 2023 Soul still comes with the familiar cabin first seen several years ago. However, keen-eyed viewers will notice it now has a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system. Not only does it come with Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto, but it also comes with satellite navigation as standard.
Aside from the new touchscreen, there’s also a new Harman-Kardon sound system that’s available in the GT Line variant. It features an external amplifier, subwoofer, and door-mounted tweeters. Meanwhile, the speakers come with multi-colored LED lights that pulse in time with the music. Other available features present in the 2023 Soul include; smart cruise control, power-adjustable driver’s seat, high-gloss interior trim, forward collision assist, and a dual-level cargo floor with a cargo cover.
Only one engine powers the 2023 Soul; a 2.0-liter naturally-aspirated inline-four that makes 149 PS along with 179 Nm of torque. Power is then sent to an Intelligent Variable Transmission (IVT) that drives the front wheels. Sorry turbo fans, the 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine is no longer available for the Soul.
For extra peace of mind while on the road, the Soul now comes with intelligent driver aids across all models. These are; forward collision avoidance with pedestrian assist, lane-keeping assist, lane-following assist, driver attention warning, lane-departure warning, high-beam assist, and rear occupant alert.
With the 2023 Soul now in the US, could Kia Philippines actually bring back the funky crossover to the country? Sadly, there’s little to no chance of that happening (for now) as the automaker seems content with the Stonic and the Seltos as its subcompact crossovers. Still, if Kia would be able to launch it here once more, it might become a popular nameplate again (if priced right).