It’s different looking, funky even and is well endowed! Welcome to the relaunched Kia Soul, a compact SUV that first landed here in 2008.
The Soul drives into a segment that has doubled in size this year, and looks set to grow. For an idea of the style and shape of Soul think Skoda Yeti, but with a more edgy design.
Think fashion. Think different. If Yeti built a solid reputation around average looks and dependability, this Kia can be the life and soul of your driving party because it is so different to look at, so assured in the hand. Oh, and yes, it comes with a 7-year warranty!
I loved the original. It was a fun car, and the drive was serious....seriously good. The latest version didn’t make as strong an impression, but I like Soul 2014, a lot.
The adventurous styling - the front hints at a scaled down Land Rover with Kia badge prominent in the centre of the bonnet; glistening grille and fog lamps while the rear end is straight up - may not be for everyone. The car is built on an all new platform based on the latest Cee’d.
Plenty of room
All the outer panels are new. The restyling offers greater length, longer wheelbase and wider body which leads to a bigger cabin that benefits from the use of a fine grade of materials and fittings. There is plenty of head, knee and elbow room all round.
Funky? How about upwards facing speakers each side on top of the dash’, and circular mood lights - the colour changes as you motor along - in the side panels in the foot wells in the front?
The speakers do the biz, but at a time the hurling is going well in Kilkenny, the mood lights were superfluous. Maybe another time?
The boot is small and shallow, although there is a neat and secure storage area under the removable floor. The get you home spare wheel is accommodate deeper down again. A clever use of the box design, much like with the entire car.
The Soul is available in two generously equipped spec levels, EX and Platinum. Both are powered by an easy working, strong pumping 1.6-litre common rail direct injection diesel engine. Economy is good.
Soul has an upright stance, but Kia have lowered the body (-10mm). Perhaps it was that, coupled with a suspension upgrade, that made Soul feel so good on the road.
I liked the car. I liked it a lot. Because of the ‘out there’ styling, Soul might not be for everyone, but don’t scratch it off any list without first having a look. Go one, be daring!
Standard features - on EX, including the 7-year warranty, 17” alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, LED type rear combination lamps, front fog lamps, folding electric rear view mirrors with side repeators, privacy glass (rear doors, tailgate), rear park assist sensor, auto up and down front, rear powered windows, climate control automatic air conditioning, auto cruise control with speed limiter, Bluetooth® hands-free with voice activation, DAB/RDS radio with MP3 capability, rear view camera and parking sensors, audio mood lamps, chrome door handles, AUX and USB, ABS (anti-lock brake system), electronic stability control (ESC).
Kia Soul 1.6-litre CRDi, EX 5-door €24,495 (ex-works), 1582cc, four cylinders, 16 valves, 128bhp at 4,000rpm, 260Nm at 1,900 to 2,750rpm, 6-speed manual transmission, top speed 180kph, 0 to 100kph in 11.2 seconds, consumption 6.6 l/100km (urban), 4.4 (extra urband), 5.0 (combined), C02 132g/km, annual road tax €280.