The all new 2014 Kia Soul compact SUV offers a quieter cabin with higher quality materials throughout, and it hits the Irish market this week with a luanch price of €24,495.
The smooth new-look exterior is inspired by the 2012 Kia Track’ster concept. There will be two models available initially, the EX (€24,495 ) and the Platinum (€28,495), both powered by a 128hp 1.6 diesel engine.
The EX is generously equipped, with features including 17” alloy wheels, Bluetooth, cruise control/speed limiter, climate control automatic air con, digital radio and rear view camera.
Features on the Platinum includes the above plus18” alloys, sat nav, leather upholstery with heated front seats, electrically adjustable drivers seat, panoramic sunroof and an Infinity sounds system.
Although the Soul is ‘all new’ – none of the exterior body panels are carried over, and the interior is a new design – the 2014 car’s upright stance, squared shoulders, wrap around greenhouse, high-mounted tail lights and confidence-inspiring ride height are all hallmark design elements which will ensure the new model is instantly recognisable.
Exterior similarities between the new Soul and Track’ster concept are clear. The large trapezoidal lower front air intake is carried over from the concept, and the fog lights – located low down and pushed to the outer edges – mirror those on the concept.
Kia’s signature grille is retained, though reworked to more closely resemble the concept and bring it in line with other models in the product line-up.
The biggest technical change is the adoption of an all-new platform, based on that of the latest Kia cee’d. The re-engineered bodyshell is now made of 66% ultra-high strength or high strength steel, with stronger connections along the cowl, upper and lower B-pillars and between the C-pillars.
The result is a 29% increase in torsional rigidity compared to the outgoing model. Thanks to the use of ultra-high strength steel, the A-pillars are 20 mm narrower, improving forward visibility.
The stronger bodyshell, together with suspension upgrades, has enabled Kia engineers to create a car with significantly improved driving dynamics, ride quality and greater refinement.
The Soul has larger dimensions - overall length (+20mm) to 4,140mm; wheelbase (+20mm) to 2,570mm. Soul is also 15mm wider (to 1,800 mm) and lower (+10mm) to now 1,600 mm.
The tailgate opening is now 60mm wider, providing easier access to a larger cargo area, which now has a capacity of 354 litres (+4%) with the rear seats upright.
Driver and passengers in the new Soul will enjoy a significantly quieter cabin, with higher quality materials throughout, and greater sound proofing. The cabin is also larger, with increased front headroom (by 6mm), 1,040 mm front leg room,and increased shoulder room (up 7.5mm).
Rear legroom is increased by 4mm. The new Soul’s step-in height has been reduced (-5mm), while seat hip points are lower (-12mm), front and rear.
Choice of interiors
Customers have a choice between single and two-tone interiors, with black, brown and grey leather and fabrics available.
“The Soul has been an iconic model for Kia since its launch in 2008 and has clocked up sales of over 700,000 worldwide. We are delighted to re-launch the car in Ireland into a segment that has doubled in size this year. We are confident we can sell 300-400 Souls in 2015,” insisted Kia Ireland MD James Brooks.
Kia were now firmly established as a top 10 brand in Ireland. Mr B rooks suggested that the car market here this year should be close to 90,000 units.