My wife just LOVES the Kia Soul – she thinks it was made just for her… I like it a lot, and every time I drive one I come away impressed – reluctantly so. For me the Soul is one of those vehicles that I have a love/hate relationship with. I don’t want to love it, but I kinda do. It’s enjoyable to drive, fun and quirky enough to be different from all the other blah cars driving up and down the road in boring silver or snore gold. The TV commercials tell us it is fun to drive and to be seen in… and damn-it – they’re right!!
What Is It?
- Sorta smallish CUV or tall compact hatchback
- Affordable to buy and operate unless you option it up
- Surprisingly refined
- The SE comes with a 2.0L 4-cylinder engine
- 6-speed Sportmatic transmission
- EV Version is also available
How Does It Look?
- Unique and lovable
- Like nothing else on the road today
- Looks particularly fetching in the Two-Tone paintjob – it makes all other Soul’s look mundane
What’s It Like Inside?
- Well thought out and comfortable
- Surprisingly quiet at highway speeds
- More grown up than the original first-generation
- The seats are far more comfortable than you’d think – even without any lumbar adjustment
- Perfectly flat floor in the rear, no more fighting for foot space when 3 passengers are there
- 60/40 rear seat folds almost completely flat, plus there’s a nice storage compartment under the rear cargo floor
So How Quick Is It & How Does It Handle?
- It’s no Ferrari, but it scoots off the line
- Torque-steer is easy to induce – too easily in fact
- No noticeable difference between regular and Econo mode when driving – including fuel consumption
- Steering is adjustable – Sport mode is perfectly weighted and responsive
Horsepower: 164 @ 6,200 rpm
Torque: 151 @ 4,000 rpm
Top Speed: unknown
0 – 60 mph: 8.5 seconds
- Rear View Camera
- Power Folding Rear View Mirrors with Turn Signal
- LED tail lamps
- Smart key w/Push button start
- Heated front seats
- Heated Steering wheel – once you’ve had one of these you’ll never want a vehicle without it
- Driver selectable steering assist
- UVO Infotainment
- Cooling glovebox
What Does It Cost?
To Buy… 2016 Kia Soul SE Sport
Canada: $25,995 [Entry-level Soul starts at @ $17,195]
U.S.: $22,000 [Entry-level Soul starts at @ $16,650]
- Fuel economy was so-so. I got a consistent 8.7 L/100 km on the highway or about town
- My best was 8.4 L/100 km on the highway at 80 kph… for about 3 kilometres
- I expected closer to 6.5 L/100 km for a vehicle like this
- (L/100 km) is rated at: City – 9.8 / Highway – 7.5 / combined – 8.8
- S. (MPG) is rated at: City – 24.0 / Highway – 31.4 / combined – 26.7
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
- The Good: Always enjoyable to drive – puts a smile on your face
- Good: Available with a manual transmission!
- Bad: Only available on the base model :>(
- The Bad: Disappointed I still haven’t seen any Hamsters driving one! Have to order ECO trim to get Idle Stop & Go (you only save .01 L/100 km so it’s redundant anyway)
- The Ugly: Price-tag. It’s creeping up into territory that gets you a whole lot more for similar money
- Panoramic Sunroof not included unless you spend even more money and move up to the SE Urban (base price:$26,395) or SX Luxury (base Price: $27, 495)
- No Cooled Seats
- No Lane Departure Warning
- No Front Collision Warning
- No Hill Assist
What’s The Verdict?
I really like the Soul and this one looks really good with the Two-Tone paint job and fancy rims. I was taken aback when I saw the MSRP considering the panoramic sunroof wasn’t even included in the price (as well as other items), along with an upgraded audio system. Kia’s build-quality is without a doubt up there with Honda and Toyota, so we can’t expect them to be in the ‘budget’ spot for vehicles any more – I think perhaps that’s just a psychological thing we’re all going to have to get used to – in fact they’re going to leave the Japanese manufactures behind in the very near future.
Copyright © 2016 by Iain Shankland
Text: Iain Shankland / Images: Iain Shankland & Kia
Also published at: Flagworld