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Ken Walker with the 
Kia Soul 3 (copyright image)

Kia Soul 3 (copyright image)

Kia Soul 3 (copyright image)

Kia Soul 3 (copyright image)

Next Car will publish additional Kia Soul
road tests in coming weeks.

ROAD TEST:   Kia Soul 3 (petrol/automatic)

by Ken Walker

14th June, 2009

Home > Road Tests > Kia > Soul

Dare to be different. The Kia Soul is certainly different and it attracts a lot of attention for all the right reasons. It is funky, different and hard to categorise. But you can personalise it to your choice to reflect the required image.

The Next Car team have taken the opportunity to test drive several of the available variants of Kia's newest success story. There are three models; Soul, Soul 2 and Soul 3. Our report, on this occasion, is on the Soul 3, the top of the line model. Our test car is fitted with the 1.6 litre petrol engine matched to a 4 speed automatic transmission. For Soul 3, the petrol engine with auto transmission is the standard fare. However, a 1.6 litre diesel engine, also with automatic transmission, is available with Soul 3.

Power from the double overhead camshaft (DOHC) continuous variable valve timing (CVVT) petrol engine is 91 kW at 6,300 rpm, while maximum torque is 156 Nm at 4,200 rpm. Naturally, the driver will need to keep this small engine revving but be assured, it likes it too. Soul 3 petrol auto weights in at 1,274 kg, with an allowed gross weight of 1,700 kg. The Kia Soul has no problems running along the freeways of this country at the sign posted limits and cruise control would be invaluable, but it is not available. Fuel tank capacity is 48 litres. Fuel consumption is quoted by Kia Motors as 7.0l/100 kms combined city/highway driving (in accordance with ADR 81/01). A trip of about 650 kms between refuelling should be achievable. The CO2 emissions are quoted by Kia as 162 grammes per kilometre. This makes the Soul a 'green' and clean machine.

With six SRS airbags, (front, side and curtain) ESP, ABS, TCS and EBD the Soul is well equipped for any emergency, well almost any emergency, but the driver has to accept personal responsibility as always. Power disc brakes are fitted both front and rear.

Forward vision from the front seats is excellent made possible by the vehicle height, which is not unlike a small SUV, and wrap around ‘A’ pillars. Reclining front bucket seats are fitted with the driver gaining an arm rest on the left side of the height adjustable seat. The rear seating position is quite comfortable too. Entry/egress from the rear is very good. The seat fabric has a glow in the dark style “SOUL” motif woven through out the upper part of the backrests all round. Inside is quite quirky with the interior of the glove compartment and centre dash facia storage compartment coloured red. What is optional on Soul 3 is the so named 'Street Demon' interior consisting of a red dash, door trims and centre hub on the steering wheel. The AM/FM radio with CD player music centre with input jack for MP3 or USB devices. Play your mood through a CD or MP3 and, by setting a dial on the dash, the door speakers will emit a red glow to the beat of the music. It is hard to see red in the speakers during daylight hours though. Power windows all around with an auto down on the drivers’ door is standard, as is power steering, air conditioning and electrically adjustable exterior door mirrors.

With a choice of eleven colours to choose from and a myriad of options to decorate both the inside and outside of the Soul, it can become an extension of your own personality. Whilst 18" alloy wheels are standard on the Kia Soul 3, different 18" alloy wheels are optionally available for Souls. After choosing the external colour, decals in either racing stripes (black or white), hounds tooth check (black) or medieval dragons (black or silver) can be added. Three trim patterns (one standard, two optional), depending on the exterior colour, are available for the Kia Soul 3. The chosen interior will determine the colour of the dash facia (again, three choices exist). Then there are the factory/dealer fitted available options, which will certainly help prove the company war cry “No two Souls are the same”.

The Kia Soul range is priced from $20,990 (recommended price excluding dealer and statutory charges). The Kia Soul 3 (the subject of this test) is priced from $27,390 (recommended price excluding dealer and statutory charges). These prices exclude options, of course.

At an overall length of 4,105 mm, Kia Soul will not take up a lot of space in the family garage. However, it will take up a lot of room in your heart.


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