Highlight: An electric Soul will be joining the line up in the near future. The SoulEV will become the first electric vehicle for the brand.
Test vehicle’s MSRP: $24,010 (Base Model starts at $15,695)
Seating Capacity: 5
Standard Safety Features: airbags (front, mounted side, full length); ABS; electronic brake distribution; stability control; front and rear crumple zones; hill start assist system; a traction control system; a vehicle stability management system; and a tire pressure monitoring system
Standard Equipment: 16-inch wheels; 6-speed manual; a rear tinted privacy glass; cloth seats; an outside temperature display; steering wheel mounted audio controls; and a manually operated tilt/telescopic steering wheel
Rear: Torsion beam, gas-filled shock absorbers
Standard Audio: a 6-speaker AM/FM audio with XM satellite
Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles
Powertrain Warranty: 10 years or 100,000 miles
iPod Connectivity: Available
Bluetooth Compatibility: Available
Standard Engine/Horsepower: 1.6-liter, 4-cylinder/130-horsepower
Recommended Fuel: Regular
Standard Fuel Mileage: 23-city/31-hwy
Other Trim Level (s):
What’s New: Riding on a longer and wider wheelbase, the second-generation Soul has been redesigned for the 2014 model year.
Pros: The popular Soul has been refined for the 2014 model year, improving upon the entire driving experience. With its upgraded interior trim and quieter cabin, the fresh looking Soul continues to remain a nimble easy-to-drive vehicle that provides great visibility due to its height. Price conscious consumers have the option of selecting from a manual transmission or an automatic transmission. Buyers can also select from three standard trim levels: base, Soul Plus or Exclaim. And from time to time, Kia will also offer special edition variations. Earlier this year the Korean automaker released a limited edition Red Zone Soul. The vehicle was decked out with an all-white exterior, with accents, skirts and a special interior treatment package. Kia is pulling out all of the stops to keep the vehicle hip and fresh.
So with that being the case, we had an opportunity to spend time with the mid trim Soul Plus. The boxy multipurpose utility vehicle starts out at $18,200. The Soul Plus is outfitted with such standard features as a center rear armrest, a cargo cover, a remote keyless entry system, 17-inch wheels and a peppier 2.0-liter engine, which pushes out 164 horses. To enhance the driving experience, Kia added on $5,000 in options to the compact, bringing the total MSRP to $24,000. The optional enhancements included an oversized power panoramic roof, a high-end Infinity sound system with a limited subscription to satellite radio, a front speaker system which changes lighting, fog lights, an automatic climate control system, leather seats, a power driver’s seat, ventilated (and heated front seats), heated rear seats, a rear camera, an automatic headlight system, a push-button keyless starter system and the brand’s UVO infotainment system (or Ford’s version of the SYNC system).
Buyers seeking out the larger 18-inch wheel, which improves upon the look and the overall ride of the vehicle, can also opt for the top of the line Exclaim, which starts out a $20,300. With the Exclaim, buyers can expect the vehicle to be equipped with the 18-inch wheels, LED lights, power folding outside mirrors, a rear view camera and automatic headlights. Ironically, both the rear view camera and the automatic headlights were options on the Soul Plus we tested.
Yes there is a Soul that Kia can design that will find its way into the heart and soul, no pun intended, with everyone who connects with this vehicle.
Cons: We only had a few minor gripes. One is that a CD player is not an available feature in the Soul. Moreover, the Soul allows the driver to change the steering characteristics from normal to sport to economy. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to determine any distinct steering characteristics, while selecting the different modes.
The Verdict: The Soul’s fresh design appeals to almost every demographic. The boxy Soul was what many assumed to be the brand’s answer to the quirky Nissan Cube and the Scion xB. The Soul, unlike the competition, has been a sales success. In fact, the Soul is the second best-selling vehicle in the Kia family. Furthermore, the Kia Soul recently received five out five stars in the industry respected JD Power Initial Quality Survey. This is a high honor for a brand that wasn’t known for its quality a few years ago.
And to hold the pricing on the Soul, buyers can save roughly $2,000 if they opt for the well optioned Plus trim as opposed to the high-end Exclaim, that is assuming they can live without the 18-inch wheels.
Competition: Nissan Cube and Scion xB