The new Kia Soul has a much more masculine look to it. Picture: SUPPLIED
The new Kia Soul has a much more masculine look to it. Picture: SUPPLIED

I like boxy cars, which means I’ve always loved the Kia Soul. It's zany and different and — thanks to those square dimensions — a joy to load-up with luggage and groceries and stuff.

Yep, it’s no secret that cars designed with a ruler are easier to fill with all the material trappings of life. If you want further proof of this just revisit the original Mini and the Daihatsu Materia, a car that proved it was hip to be square. Anyway, I digress.

The 2018 LA Auto Show is in full flight and one of the standout cars to make its unveiling is the new third-generation Kia Soul. An evolution of its second-generation predecessor, Soul version 3.0 comes served with an extra shot of visual aggression, particularly up front where a massive radiator grille and a pair of narrow, squinting headlights dominate proceedings.

Boomerang tail lights dominate the rear. Picture: SUPPLIED
Boomerang tail lights dominate the rear. Picture: SUPPLIED

The silhouette is classic Soul while the rear has been jazzed-up with swooping boomerang-esque tail lights. Haters will continue to hate but I think the new Soul looks awesome. It’s a great big slab of rolling quirk that’s the perfect antidote to cars like the Nissan Qashqai et al.

Revised looks aside, the third-generation Soul rides upon a brand new platform that promises more in the way of driving refinement. Engine-wise there are two four-cylinder motors to choose from: a naturally-aspirated 2.0l good for 110kW, plus a more advanced turbocharged 1.6l unit that makes a useful 150kW.

While the turbo engine only comes mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, the naturally-aspirated motor can be had with either a six-speed manual or CVT.

Revamped cabin can be customised with everything from a 640-watt Harman/Kardon sound system to mood lighting. Picture: SUPPLIED
Revamped cabin can be customised with everything from a 640-watt Harman/Kardon sound system to mood lighting. Picture: SUPPLIED

The interior has been worked over and can be customised with everything from a 640-watt Harman/Kardon sound system to mood lighting equipped with no less than six moods. Bluetooth audio streaming is standard and both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are supported.

There’s also wireless charging and dual-zone climate control. Trim lines? You're looking at six — LX, S, X-Line, GT-Line, EX, “EX Designer Collection” — plus an all-new Soul EV that probably won't be making its way to SA anytime soon.

The X-Line is likely to be popular with those who prefer a more adventure-style look; its body kit has rugged body cladding, overfenders for a chunkier look, and other off-road inspired accents. Unique 18-inch alloy wheels are added, as are fog lamps, optional two-tone paint and roof-rail inspired accents.

The petrol-powered models will be landing here in 2019.