The Kia Soul
- Vital Stats
$20,990 - $31,290
Diesel and Petrol
Free your Soul
Three Words to describe the Kia Soul
Cool, different, fun
What was your first impression of the new Kia Soul?
Funky and functional. This is a young, hip car with the finger on the pulse of the driver who wants to be noticed. I liked the boxy styling and the small car feel combined with the height and roominess normally associated with an SUV.
Kia says not two souls are the same. This is a Gen Y car for sure! The Soul comes in 11 different colours and the options include "body art" - you can opt for houndstooth or a dagon effect ... I drove the Cocktail Orange Soul.
Check out notwosouls.com.au where you can design your very own - worth a look before test driving, just to get your creative juices flowing.
The small-car-meets-SUV feeling is a strange on. Jumping into the Soul every day I couldn't help but try to compare it to other cars, like the Honda CRV, Mini Clubman (on seroids) or Jazz for comparison. But the Soul has carved out a little niche of its own, thanks very much.
The Soul comes in two 1.6 litre engines, a petrol and a diesel version adn three model ranges: the basic Soul, Soul2 and Soul3. I had the Soul2 diesel version, a 4-speed auto, and drove it to death for two weeks on less than a tank of fuel, so I was impressed. Officially the auto version gets about 5.9L/100 km. It's turbocharged too, and is no slouch from a standing start.
It's a great car for city-driving, handling responsively. Manoeuvering in and out of traffic jams and challenging car spaces is where this car really kicks into gear. And as vertical as it is by appearance, it feels stable and comfy on bumpy surfaces. The performance is reliable and practical, Kia's hallmark, but with that extra zing in performance and styling.
I found the Soul to be extremely roomy inside, with lots of legroom, headroom and shoulder space. The cloth seats are funky with the Soul logo embossed into the fabric. No same-old here! More fun, more personality. Good on you, Kia.
The instrument panels are all centralized conveniently, so no looking around to find stuff. The seats were comfy and there are cupholders in every seat position. However, I must add that although my 7 year old niece loved the car ("It's strange but cool!") she was miffed that I was the only one with my own drop-down armrest and she as the front passenger, got nada. Oh well, you can't have it all!
I thought the glove-box storage compartment was extra large, and storage in the centre console, overhead, in-door, in-dash and back or seat pockets provided for any and all maps, mugs, sunnies you could throw at them. Plus it features some fun design surprises and colour splashes.
Who would this car be best suited to?
Young, active single girls, style leaders, trendsetters. And cool mums who know that just because you're a mum doesn't mean you have to live - or drive - in Dagsville. Styling and profiling in your Soul cold be on the cards ...
Comes in 11 colours: Vanilla Shake, Bright Silver, Titanium Silver, Blue Stone, Green tea, Cocktail Orange, Tomato Red, Java Bronw, Moonlight Blue, Black Sold and ... white.
The Cool Stuff
Any car designed with Gen Y in mind, would simply have to be fully integrated for digital music, and the Soul didn't let me down here. And you would expect that a car called the Soul would have nightclub-style front seat speakers that glow to the beat of the music you're listening to. You've got to test-drive it to believe it. Way cool. That won over the niece.
The USB, auxilliary and iPod compatibility is all there (with all models) and it's all seamlessly integrated into the car's detailing. And the sound is awesome.
Easy to Park?
I found the Soul easy to park but because it feels like a smallish car, you can easily forget that it's also a crossover so more care is needed in double checking your vision in reverse.
The 5 seats are nicely upholstered and contoured. Seat settings include lots of options (as well as steering wheel settings) and there is loads of legroom in all seating positions.
There are 3 child restrain anchors also.
The cupholders are good-sized and there are two in the front centre console as well as large drink bottle holders (think Pump) in the doors. There are two cupholders in the rear as well.
Cool, different, but how safe is it?
The Sol has a 5 star EuroNCAP rating currently (the highest rating)
it features dual front advanced airbags, front side and full length curtain airbags as standard in the base model, as well as ABS brakes.
The next models up, the Soul2 and Soul3 have ESP as standard (which helps to maintain control of the car in critical driving situations by adjusting engine output and braking individuals wheels, hence returning more control to the driver).
Overall, if the Soul had a star-sign it would be Gemini, dually fun but practical. So go ahead and so some Soul-searching on the site then book a test drive.