Kia’s funky Soul crossover SUV has been given a fresh look and a new engine for 2012 – and will be in South Africa later in October. The updated Kia Soul will go on sale in South Africa from late October, 2011, and promises improved efficiency thanks to a new 1.6 petrol engine with direct injection; there are also upgrades to the interior and specification. A six-speed manual gearbox is now standard across the range. The Soul’s quirky styling remains largely untouched, though there is a sportier twist with changes to the high-riding hatchback’s grille, lights and bodywork and interior. It gains a new front bumper with a wider, lower air intake while the indented grille is in line with Kia’s current styling practice and daylight running lights increasing visibility. CHANGES SLIGHTThe vertical rear light cluster has been revised to incorporate brake lights with certain models gaining diode illumination, too. NEW MATERIALS: The facelifted Soul's cabin gets a new look with a redesigned fascia and new materials. Inside the cabin, the fascia has been completely redesigned; other upgrades include improved upholstery and new interior colour combinations. The Soul is now 15mm longer to accommodate its power trains – a new 103kW/165Nm 1.6 petrol engine and a revised 94kW/260Nm 1.6 CRDi turbodiesel. A six-speed manual transmission is standard on each and a six-speed auto replaces the four-speed version.IN SA SOONIn terms of passenger protection, the Soul comes with anti-lock brakes, electronic fluid pressure distribution and traction control. Stability and hill-start control have been added for the 2012 model year. Standard specification is expected to include aircon, power windows all round, central locking and up to six air bags. More details relevant to South African models will be revealed when the Soul goes on sale here at the end of October, 2011.