Kia has announced details of a range of upgrades to the Soul compact SUV, and the introduction of a powerful new 201 bhp 1.6-liter T-GDI engine variant, the most powerful Soul ever engineered by the Korean brand.

2016 Kia Soul

The 2016 Kia Soul has received a light update to its exterior and interior design, and is now available with new safety and infotainment technologies. The upgraded Soul and Soul 1.6 T-GDI will be displayed at the Paris Motor Show, beginning 29 September.

Powered by Kia’s 201 bhp 1.6-liter T-GDI (turbo gasoline direct injection) engine from the cee’d GT and pro_cee’d GT, the new Soul 1.6 T-GDI is the most powerful Soul that Kia has produced. With the new engine, the car will accelerate from 0-to-100 km/h in a little over 7.5 seconds, with a top speed of 196 km/h (122 mph) and produce CO2 emissions of 156 g/km.

The engine transmits its power to the front wheels through Kia’s advanced new seven-speed double-clutch transmission (7DCT), providing instant gear changes and decisive acceleration at all speeds. A new Drive Mode Selector, available across the Soul range on models equipped with the 7DCT, lets Soul T-GDI drivers switch between Normal, Eco and Sport modes, each subtly adapting the level of steering assistance available, to allow for normal, light or heavy steering depending on driver preference and driving conditions.

The Soul 1.6 T-GDI is differentiated from conventional models in the Soul range with a series of exterior modifications, including a bolder front bumper and air intake grille design, twin exhaust pipes at the rear, and its own 10-spoke 18-inch aluminium alloy wheel design. Completing the sportier appearance of the T-GDI model are red highlights to the front bumper and side sills. Further updates include remodelled front and rear bumpers with a metallic skid plate, LED highlights with DRLs, updated Tiger-nose grille, gloss black wheel arches, and new rear foglights and reflectors.

The revised Kia Soul receives new gloss black and metallic highlights and switchgear on the inside. Other changes made to the interior of the Soul 1.6 T-GDI comprise of the distinctive cabin color scheme, with black cloth and leather upholstery paired with orange stitching, plus a D-shaped steering and orange highlights throughout the cabin, including orange metal paint on the gearstick.

New technologies will further enhance the appeal of the Kia Soul, with buyers able to choose from the latest 5.0-, 7.0- or 8.0-inch color touchscreen infotainment HMI (human-machine interface). The new HMI systems provide smartphone-style touchscreen control over the audio-visual navigation system, and is available with CarPlay and Android Auto for full smartphone integration.

The Soul 1.6 T-GDI is available with larger brakes than the standard Soul. The car is fitted with 17-inch ventilated front discs, the solid rear discs remain the same size. The revised brakes reduce the stopping distance of the Turbo model slightly, to 35.3 meters when stopping from 60 mph (down from 35.5m), with the changes primarily made to ensure fade-free braking power under consistent use.

Safety is also improved in the Soul with the adoption of Blind Spot Detection (BSD) with Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) for the first time, giving drivers better all-round visibility on motorways and during low-speed parking manoeuvres.