The styling update looks conservative, but there's a new platform underneath and possibly all-wheel drive.

[UPDATE] 23 new images have been added.

[UPDATE 2] 14 additional images included in the gallery.

The Kia Soul became a surprise hit for the South Korean automaker when it debuted way back in 2009. That was partly due to the hip hamster marketing campaign, but mostly due to it just being a good compact crossover with interesting styling. It was in the right place at the right time, but the SUV world moves at a blistering pace so to keep up, Kia has completely revamped Soul coming for 2019.

These spy photos offer our first look at the new crossover, and our first impression is that it will still be recognizable with its familiar boxy shape and upturned rear window. It does appear to have stacked headlights behind the camo, and it looks a bit beefier overall. That would lend credence to rumors that the next Soul could offer an all-wheel drive option to give it some off-road cred, borrowing inspiration from the Trail'ster concept we saw back in 2015. The new platform underpinning the model is said to support all-wheel drive, so the bones are apparently there. Still, the platform is front-wheel drive based so there’s also a possibility the Soul could stick to its roots.

2019 Kia Soul
2019 Kia Soul

We don’t yet have information on engine options, but at least some carryover from the current model is likely. Presently, the Soul offers a base 1.6-liter engine with 130 horsepower (97 kW), a mid-range 2.0-liter mill with 161 hp (120 kW), and a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-pot with 201 hp (150 kW) paired to a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox.

Check out the latest Soul spy shots:

Similarly, it’s unclear what technology upgrades could befall the next Soul. The current model offers lane departure and autonomous emergency braking as optional equipment. We see some notable sensors mounted up front on this prototype, which could mean some measure of autonomous driving might be in the cards for the new model.

With this being our first look, we don’t expect to see the next Soul revealed until at least the end of this year, or possibly early next year at the 2019 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Source: Automedia, CarPix

Gallery: 2019 Kia Soul Spy Photos

Photo by: Automedia