Kia is continually pushing its distance to major player status inside the affordable car market, as well as the Soul is at the heart of that push for some time now. (There’s no doubt a “”heart and soul”” line begging to be used there somewhere, but I’ll spare us all.)
It has always been hard to categorize, even though Soul calls itself a hatchback. It looks more or less just like a small SUV – but it’s clearly built for urban use rather than off-road adventure. Those drivers looking for a street friendly five seater with welcoming payload capacity should give the Soul a look – especially with a sticker price kicking off just under $17,000.
For 2014, the vehicle is lowered, making it appear sportier and less top heavy. More stylish design flares surround the rear hatch with new tail lights wrapping around the hatch corners.
The driving experience is comfortable and adequately powered. The base four cylinder, 1.6 liter, 130 horsepower engine joins with either a six speed manual or six speed automatic transmission.
More advanced trim levels add power seats with lumbar support, heated mirrors, rearview camera, privacy glass, alloy wheels and electronic brake force distribution. Kia’s in-dash system (Uvo) provides every one of the necessary flashes, bangs and whistles. Even the voice commands system has a tendency to work better than other more expensive car tech packages.
Canadians on the Toronto show floor for CIAS 2014 will discover Kia’s very reasonable alternative to higher priced small SUVs. Fortunately, the Soul doesn’t ask them to quit too many creature comforts.