The original Soul was nothing less than the first product that suggested Kia was more than just a clone of parent brand Hyundai. (Unfortunately, it might have been the last, too.) Its first redesign, for 2014, maintains the Soul's defining characteristic — its profile. Many car designers claim they styled their vehicles to look as if they're in motion even when they're standing still. With a roofline that slopes downward from the front to the rear, a stationary Soul also looks like it's in motion — backward. Whatever the case, I've always liked that aspect.
However, once I walked in any other direction around the vehicle, I wasn't sure Kia had done much to keep the model distinctive — at least not in a positive way. Something about the more prominent headlight clusters says Mini Countryman to me. Around back, I love the now-Kia-signature taillights, which have a diffuse neon-looking glow formerly seen only on concept cars. I'm less wild about the gloss black finish that surrounds the taillights and rear window and traverses the liftgate. It's overdone, busy. Perhaps trim levels lower than the two Exclaim models at the show will be more modest.