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Kia Soul road test

by Stephen Walker

22nd February, 2015

Home > Road Tests > Kia

A funny thing happened as I headed out onto the roadway, when I recently got underway in a Kia Soul. I was picking up good vibrations straight away and my mind immediately engaged in a plot to take this little car on a long drive. By the time I was out amidst the late afternoon Melbourne traffic congestion I had figured that the best drive was going to be interstate.

As the plot thickened in my mind, I was becoming more and more convinced that this little car was ticking lots of boxes as the kilometres started to build. The previous Kia Soul was a neat little car, an urban 'can do' type of box on wheels with a 'look at me' approach to the styling.

So my mind was thinking about destinations to really trial this latest generation of Kia's urban vehicle. Before I had even arrived home I had determined that my long drive would be to the nation's capital, Canberra.

Even though it is an urban type of car the highway drive from Melbourne to Canberra would be a great opportunity to put the car to the test. With two on board, a four-day trip was commenced.

Test car particulars

The test car was the Kia Soul Si in an eye-catching shade known as Acid Green (an optional premium colour). The test car was fitted with the optional automatic transmission.

Variants and prices*

The only engine on offer for the Kia Soul these days is the 2-litre, 4-cylinder petrol engine. There is a choice between manual and automatic transmission.

The Kia Soul Si (the sole model variant on offer) is priced from $24,490* for the manual and $26,490* for the automatic transmission version.

Premium paint is optional on Soul for $620*.

On the road in the Kia Soul

As indicated, the little Soul ticks a lot of boxes. The steering has a good feel to it and the driving dynamics are quite appropriate for this type of car. The slightly elevated seating position is very good for the driver. Visibility is very good all-round and being a small car, this neat little car is quite easy to manage in car parks.

Of particular note is the ease with the entry and egress process. It is quite handy because an average sized individual, such as myself, basically just slides in. The seating is at an excellent height for the average sized adult, hence anyone with a mobility issue is likely to be quietly impressed with the Kia Soul seating up front.

Seating, whilst not in the premium class, was most suitable for a car in this price range. The team drove a total of 1,592 kilometres with an overnight stop in Albury in each direction for our recent trip from Melbourne to Canberra. Both of us were quite satisfied - we could offer no complaint.

Adequate space is upfront and the rear seems OK too, although we carried no back seat passengers at any time. The boot space would be a little tight if there were more than two taking a big trip but for our adventure for four days the boot was quite adequate. This is an small urban car, of course, rather than a cruiser for holidaying.

Connectivity and audio

Soul comes with MP3 compatible audio with AM/FM radio, My Music function (MP3 copy function from USB), 6 speakers (front door, rear door & front tweeters), 4.3" full touch colour LCD screen, AUX/USB input with iPod compatibility (on selected iPod models), Bluetooth functionality for compatible devices (phone/media stream) with Steering wheel mounted audio/Bluetooth controls. There are 3 x 12volt power outlets.

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Standard equipment on the Kia Soul

Cloth trim for the seating areas, 60:40 split folding backrest for rear seats, tinted glass, roof rails, cruise control, power windows (auto down function on driver's window), 4 x cup holders, a bottle holder in each door trim, luggage 'blind' and air conditioning are amongst the standard features.

Specifications

Soul comes along with a 2-litre 4-cylinder petrol fuelled engine that provides 113kW of power at 6,200rpm and 191Nm of torque at 4,700rpm. This is a good output for city and suburban driving chores and it proved quite adequate for the long stretches of the Hume Highway and the hilly terrain of southern NSW. A diesel engine is no longer offered in the Soul.

Electric power assisted steering is standard. It was one of the first highlights I noticed when I picked up the new Kia Soul. Minimum turning circle is 10.6 metres - a very good figure.

Disc brakes are standard, front and rear.

Suspension is the typical McPherson strut arrangement at the front and the rear suspension is a Coupled torsion beam axle. Although this set-up is unsophisticated, it works well for the little Soul.

Four seventeen-inch alloy wheels are standard, with a temporary type of wheel as a 'spare'.

Fuel

The factory indicate the fuel consumption rating for the Euro5 compliant petrol-engined Soul is 8.4 litres per 100 kilometres on the combined cycle.

My average consumption figure was 8.0 litres per 100 kms according to the onboard trip computer. Our mix of driving was about 1,250 kms on the highway and nearly 350 kilometres in urban traffic. Perhaps we could have scored a better fuel consumption figure but it needs to be said that the team never considered fuel economy during my 1,592 kms in the 'saddle'.

The fuel tank capacity is 54 litres. Regular unleaded petrol is suitable for this model Soul - E10 compatible.

Safety

Six airbags, EBD (Electronic Brake Distribution), BA (Brake Assist), TCS (Traction Control System), VSM (Vehicle Stability Management), a reversing camera (an excellent driver's aid - even in a small car) and reversing sensors are amongst the standard safety equipment fitted to Soul.

Dimensions

Length: 4,140 mm
Width: 1,800 mm
Height: 1,619 mm
Wheelbase: 2,570 mm
Luggage capacity: 238 litres (with rear seat in the upright position)
Kerb weight: 1,375 kg (approx).

After Sales

Kia provides an outstanding 'after sales' package. This package is so good that it is worthy of a story in its own right!

The warranty period is for seven years! And there is no mileage limit. Some vehicle uses are excluded from this particular warranty feature - but vehicles used solely for private purposes are covered! Conditions apply, of course, and the warranty can be transferred to subsequent owners in the warranty period (again, conditions apply).

Capped price servicing is part of the deal, too (conditions apply).

Roadside assistance is included for 1 year from the date of the car's first registration. It is renewed when servicing is undertaken by a Kia dealer and compliant with the log book recommendations (conditions apply).

Conclusion

Styling is likely to be a factor in any purchasing decision - that's understandable.

Regardless of whether the visual aspect of the Kia Soul is appealing or not, the urban compatibility and the proven satisfaction on the highway make the Soul a very worthy addition to many people's mobility options. It is sooooo user friendly and it is attractively priced with excellent factory back-up.



NOTE: * Manufacturer's List Price (MLP) excludes dealer delivery fees and the numerous statutory charges (commonly known as on-road costs). Additionally, please note that all prices, fees and charges are subject to change without notice, as are the specifications.


E&OE



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