COOL, funky, quirky – that’s the Soul.
An urban crossover that dares to be different, Kia’s great little mover is bursting with personality.
It looks like a hotrod, has the feel of a 4×4, but is actually something between a hatchback and a small estate, yet not really fitting into either category.
With the rugged edges smoothed out and styled in eye-catching colours and decals, one thing’s for certain – drive the Soul and you’re shouting from the rooftops that you’re glad to be alive – you’ve got soul.
With five doors, five seats and SUV looks, it’s over four metres long, and has a high boxy back end that gives you van-like carrying capacity. Its 340 litres of luggage space rises to 800 with the back seats folded.<!–more–>
It’s competitively priced, from under £10,495, and comes with a five-year peace-of-mind manufacturer’s warranty. With a choice of 1.6-litre petrol or diesel engines and five trim levels, Soul 1, Soul 2, Samba, Shaker or Burner, the range is fairly simple.
But it’s well spread out to provide a model to suit all tastes – from sober and sensible, to fun and funky. Each injects a different personality into the Soul. The test car, the Burner, for example, will appeal to the young, trendy music lover.
And it drives very well. It was lively, with a 1.6-litre diesel engine that was not much slower than the petrol model (11.3 seconds compared to the 1.6 petrol’s 11 for the 0-62 sprint) yet returns a combined 54mpg. It’s top speed is actually slightly , higher than the petrol model -113mph.
Only available in quartz black, it has a red “tiger nose” grille and door mirrors, and it has dragon-shaped bodywork decals and a seriously fine sound system. The speakers actually glow in
the dark and you can cho-ose either seductive mood¬lighting or a pulsating son et lumiere effect as the lights change with the beat of the music. It’s not just cosmetic though. There’s a 315-watt
stereo amplifier, an extra speaker in the middle of the dashboard and a PowerBass sub-woofer in the luggage area.
The Samba, in a bright tornado red, is based on the Soul 2. Much more refined is the Soul Shaker. It’s got a totally different character. Elegant even. It comes in vanilla paintwork and a tasteful cream interior with cream and black houndstooth upholstery.
But it’s also got classy 18-inch alloy wheels, privacy glass, an electric sunroof and, unusual for a car in this segment, an advanced reversing camera system.
When you select reverse a section of the rearview mirror becomes an LCD screen with a perfect view of hidden objects behind the car.
This can be switched off, and another switch changes the mirror to an electrochromic night view mirror.
The pricing structure is clear and straightforward. There’s a £1,000 step up between trim levels and diesels cost £1,000 more than petrol models. Even the entry level comes with front and rear electric windows, aircon, MP3-compatible CD, USB/ AUX ports and a six-speaker sound sytem.
Step up to Soul 2 and you get 16in alloy wheels, front fog lamps, electric mirrors, height adjustable driver’s seat, leather steering wheel, wheel mounted audio controls, iPod compatibility – all for £11,495.
KIA SOUL BURNER
Engine: 1.6 diesel
Power: 126 bhp
0-62 : 11.3 secs
Top Speed: 113mph
Combined mpg: 43.5mpg
OTR Price: £14,995