first-generation kia soul in front of blurry city background with Flashback Friday text superimposed

Flashback Friday: First-Generation Kia Soul

First-Generation Kia Soul History and Images

There’s a movie that’s currently on Amazon Prime and we’re not explicitly recommending it, but we must draw a connection. It’s called the “Similars.” It’s a Mexican, surrealist horror film in the same vein as anthology horror shows like the Twilight Zone. The plot is strange and the execution even more so. The film centers on a bus station where a handful of patrons and commuters find themselves trapped by a storm.

One by one, the trapped group finds themselves being morphed into the same bearded face of one of the patrons. After they have fully transformed, however, they’re no longer capable of seeing the oddity that is all the unique people with the exact same head and face.

[Read our Pop Culture archives here]

We’ve used this blog to rave about films we like before, but this one has more of a point. Something is only outlandish or visually-shocking because it’s different. Once a new and bold aesthetic starts popping up everywhere, it’s no longer a strange or foreign sight – be it a bearded man’s face or the sports box design of the Kia Soul.

Kia Soul Model History

Beginning as a concept car in 2005, the Kia Soul’s inspiration is one you wouldn’t be able to guess in a million years. Concept designer Mike Torpey watched a documentary on wild boars and how central the figure of a boar was to Korean lore and culture. Sketching a photograph of a wild boar with a backpack on, Torpey drew out strength and capability as characteristics to begin designing his next concept.

These two characteristics flow through the Soul’s DNA to this day!

The production-ready Kia Soul made its global debut at the 2008 Paris Auto Show and was released for national consumption with the following model year of 2009 attached to it.

Going back to that interesting film, the Soul arrived to a range of reactions. These weren’t necessarily critiques over the vehicle’s expressed purpose, features or specs, but rather gut-level reactions that were either love-at-first-sight praise or revulsion. Editor-in-chief of Automobile Mag, Jean Jennings, described it as “funky,” a word we think still suits the Soul.

The public was divided. Rather than overhaul the Soul to make it more of a standard crossover, however, Kia continued producing the first-generation Soul for four model years with minimal re-styling.

In 2014, the first-generation Kia Soul gave way to the second-generation Kia Soul, of which you can find dozens of variants of here on the Friendly Kia lot.

[Shop our entire new Kia Soul inventory now!]

The first-generation Kia Soul’s enduring legacy would set the tone for Kia’s next ten years. By doubling down on the Soul’s bold and unapologetically-refreshing exterior, Kia proved that they’re not the company to bow under criticism.

These days both first- and second-generation Souls are fun to see and even more fun to drive. They’re personality-infused crossovers in a sea of vehicles that kind of look like a dog hunched over to do its thing in your backyard.

One thing they are not anymore is shocking.

First-Generation Kia Soul Images

Typically, we’d jump right into Instagram to try and dig up photos of our Throwback Thursday/Flashback Friday subjects. Today, however, we can show you images straight from Kia themselves. Enjoy this short collection of photos that will bring you back to the halcyon days of 2010 when the Soul was the most polarizing vehicle on the market.

2010 kia soul in front of building

rear hatch of 2010 kia soul first-generation

cargo area in 2010 kia soul

iPhone 3g in 2010 kia soul next to gear shift


2010 kia soul infotainment stack with radio

Even the radio in the Kia Soul challenged the industry.

2010 kia soul rear seating

Houndstooth fabric is just one of the personality marks of the first-generation Kia Soul.

Get Some Soul in Your Life!

We love the Kia Soul. Beginning its life as a strange and polarizing model, it has grown to become a reliable favorite among drivers who want the efficiency and handling of a car with best-in-class cargo abilities and an insane list of standard technology features.

While our unanimous opinion is that the Soul got better with the second-generation, if you absolutely love the first-generation and the unapologetic design and direction it represented, we’d love to show off a used model in person! You can view our entire pre-owned Soul inventory by clicking here.

For more information on old Kia models or to schedule a test-drive with one of our in-stock Soul sport boxes, contact us today!

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