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Kia Soul Si 2014 review

EXPERT RATING
7
Kia’s Soul is a box with wheels. It’s made for congestion, for tight parking bays and meets a demand for maximum cabin space without becoming a van.

Slippery, streamlined cars might use less fuel but there comes a point at which practicality rears its ugly head. Kia’s Soul is a box with wheels. It’s made for congestion, for tight parking bays and meets a demand for maximum cabin space without becoming a van. The Soul, now in its second generation is terrific at what it’s designed to do.

Value

This is not a hatch and not a wagon. Like Toyota’s Rukus, it lives in a half world occupied by florists and urban couriers. So you have to think out of the box - literally - to understand the value in the Soul.

If you think it’s funky then you’ve no understanding of the notion. Weirdly, you’re probably the perfect Soul owner. Seats with a high hip point, lots of room for grandkids, a height-adjustable boot floor and definable body corners make this a practical and simple vehicle for older drivers.

Standard equipment is good for the $25,990 price of the automatic version. Ownership costs are excellent - $892 for three years of servicing, five-year unlimited distance warranty with roadside assistance and a reasonable 48 per cent resale after three years. All good.

Engine / Transmission

Nothing outrageous here. It uses a Rio platform and the Kia-common 113kW/191Nm 2.0-litre petrol engine mated to a six-speed automatic. Kia claims fuel use 8.4L/100km in basic unleaded. That’s quite poor. The steering is electric-assist and is one of the better units from the company. Suspension is par-for-course MacPherson front and torsion-bar rear but a lot of tuning has been done in Australia. Soul gets all-wheel disc brakes. It is rated to tow a maximum of 1100kg

Design

I think you’ve got the picture. Cabin design and ergonomics are its strengths. Very comfortable seats, a high seating position with body corners you can almost sense when parking, nice audio and a high level of quality in the materials and the build.

Multi-level boot stores a so-so 238 litres with back seats up but redeems itself with a big 1251 litres when the seats are down. Space-saver spare is standard but a normal-size wheel could fit in the hole.

Safety

Soul is a five-star rated car with six airbags, brake emergency display, electronic stability and traction sensors and a reverse camera, together with park assist graphics to determine the car’s position in a bay. The spare is a space-saver.

Driving

The proof of the pudding is in the eating and even an enthusiastic driver will dine well on the spirit of the Soul. The bigg(ish) engine offers a strong and flat spread of torque that is easily delivered by the automatic transmission.

But in slow-fast conditions such as winding country roads, the box has a habit of hunting for gears that is best quelled by switching to its manual mode. Ride comfort and quietness are very good considering that the box shape lends itself to noise booms. Best of all is its predictable size which makes it so easy to manoeuvre through traffic and park in tight bays.

Verdict

Practical, sensible and roomy and tests your argumentative skills with family, friends and neighbours.

 

Pricing guides

$13,334
Based on 6 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$9,990
Highest Price
$17,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
(base) 1.6L, ULP, 6 SP MAN $6,600 – 10,230 2014 Kia Soul 2014 (base) Pricing and Specs
+ 1.6L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $9,500 – 14,300 2014 Kia Soul 2014 + Pricing and Specs
Si 2.0L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $7,900 – 12,210 2014 Kia Soul 2014 Si Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7
Neil Dowling
Contributing Journalist

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