It will feature styling inspired by the Track’ster concept, which was revealed at the Chicago Motor Show last year.
A source has revealed - and now these pictures confirm - that the new model will stick to the same formula as the current Soul, with a boxy and practical silhouette. But the details will be all new.
The chunkier C-pillars, sporty roofline and narrow rear lights from the Track’ster are expected to be carried over to the new car, as well as the more upright windscreen and smaller headlights. Blacked out A-pillars - a key feature of the current car that creates a wraparound effect for the glass area - will also feature.
The new Soul will be based on a heavily modified version of the current Kia Rio platform, and is likely to be powered by engines ranging from a 1.4-litre petrol with 98bhp to a 1.6-litre diesel producing 126bhp. Kia is aiming to produce at least one variant with sub 100g/km CO2 emissions, too.
While the quirky model has enjoyed steady rather than spectacular sales in the UK, it has been a huge hit for Kia in the US with more than 10,000 units sold per month at its peak, and 102,267 units sold in total in 2011. This explains why the original Track'ster concept was unveiled in Chicago and why the next-generation Soul will be revealed in the States, too.
Its popularity in America means it’s likely to go on sale there first in the middle of 2013, but we’ll have to wait a little longer. It should arrive in the UK late next year with prices starting from around £11,000.