The Kia Soul concept, the latest in a string of boxes on wheels from automakers designed to attract younger, hip buyers, debuts at the Detroit auto show Jan. 9, 2006.
It followed the similarly boxy Honda Element and Scion xB and went on sale in the U.S. in 2009.
The Soul advanced design cues from Kia's Mesa concept that was introduced at the 2005 Detroit show.
The styling was overseen by former Cadillac designer Michael Torpey. He joined Kia's Irvine, Calif., design and technical center as a senior designer in 2005 and soon traveled to the company's headquarters in Seoul.
The mission: Help steer a new model aimed at urban consumers and launch a series of vehicles that would establish and burnish Kia's styling bonafides.
Torpey told The New York Times in 2009 that the Soul's design was inspired by a wild boar with a backpack.
While the Element and xB have been discontinued, the Soul, updated in 2017, remains a breakout hit for Kia. U.S. sales peaked at 147,133 in 2015 but slipped 6.4 percent in 2019 to 98,033, marking the first time annual sales have fallen below 100,000 since 2010.
Consumer Reports calls the Soul a solid blend of personality, versatility and style and a frugal alternative to tiny SUVs and crossovers.
The third-generation 2020 Soul has been retooled to ride on an all-new platform with a new engine and transmission. There is an optional all-electric variant as well.