‘Huh, that’s...interesting looking.’ Our friend’s offhand comment about the Kia Soul+ surprisingly riled us. We immediately jumped to the Soul’s defense, spouting praise for its look, drivability, and price tag. We shoved our friend inside (the passenger seat, not the more-deserved boot), and as we drove around Sydney he came to his senses.
The styling of Kia’s Soul may be unique, but standing out from the crowd is praise worthy, and the Soul deserves all that it gets.
PRICE AND EQUIPMENT
At $26,990 the Soul+ 2.0-litre petrol comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, roof rails, multi-function trip computer, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio and cruise controls, 12-volt power outlet, ABS, ESC, iPod compatibility, power bass, Bluetooth, six speakers, and a pollen and dust filter for those allergy prone souls.
The front-wheel drive, six-speed automatic, 2.0-litre petrol Soul+ has 122kW@6,500 rpm and 200Nm@4,800 rpm. The official fuel combined is 7.5/100km. We found 10.5/100km fuel combined, 8.5/100km on the motorway and 14.3/100km in the city.
The external design is fairly boxy, but with smart lines, tinted glass, and a dark chrome radiator grille, it works. The boxy frame gives the interior an airy feel, leaving even passengers in back with plenty of leg and head room. While the back seats aren’t as comfortable as the front, they leave little to complain about, though our friend did gripe about the lack of a cup holder in back after we bought him a coffee.
The driver’s seat comfortably places you high above the road. The height of the seating allows for easy entering and exiting, making it a breeze for older passengers to access, though with the option of dragon, houndstooth, and racing stripe decals, the Soul is definitely marketed toward Gen Y.
The cloth door trim blazes the Soul logo, so despite how much you switch off you won’t forget what you’re driving. The boot has 222 litres of storage with seats up, 700 litres seats down. Remove the underfloor tray next to the spare wheel and you get 340 seats up, 818 down.
ABS, ESC, driver and front passenger, front side, and curtain SRS airbags, child restraint anchorage points, three-point ELR seatbelts, and active front headrests help the Soul achieve its five-star ANCAP safety rating.
The Soul+ is a fun drive, with responsive steering, little cabin noise, and a peppy feel. It handles well and has good grip. We have to admit we liked the diesel version better as it gave a bit more oomph, but the 2.0-litre petrol holds its own.
Climbing large hills on the motorway gave the Soul+ a little pause, but once it found the right gear it kicked in just fine. Blind spots to the side and rear were the only real annoyances, and if those bother you too much you can opt for the rear park assist.
While some may think the Soul is quirky we just have to say it’s a really enjoyable drive -- small enough to navigate through tight traffic, and large enough inside for any sized adult. The Soul+ 2.0-litre petrol has plenty of personality.
A fun, unique, and easy drive, Kia’s Soul+ 2.0-litre petrol is calling.
Kia Soul+ 2.0-litre petrol
Price: from $26,990
Warranty: 5 years
Engine: 2L four-cylinder, 122kW/200Nm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic, FWD
Thirst: 7.5L/100Km, 179g/km CO2