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Kia Soul 2014 Review
When the Kia Soul was first released back in 2009, it was sent out to challenge the other boxy urban crossovers such as the Nissan Cube and Scion xB.
No-one really expected the domination of the category that followed, with the Soul quickly become the cool car everyone wanted to be in.
That popularity led to its competitors falling by the wayside in rather fast fashion.
It’s 4 years later and now the all-new Kia Soul 2014 is upon us.
Does it measure up to the original? Let’s hear what the good folks at KBB think, as they got to drive and review it.
Kia Soul Road Test Facts
Every automaker will tell you that one of the biggest mistakes they can make is to make drastic changes to an iconic vehicle.
Regular folks will have a hard time distinguishing the new Soul from the old, at least on the outside, but there are some nice changes there.
The lines and curves that made the Kia Soul so popular are still there, but they have been refined in a way that makes the car look that much more sophisticated.
This is a case of Kia making sure the customer is happy, whilst also seeing the need to evolve.
Major Changes Found Inside The Kia Soul
The biggest changes can be found on the interior of the new Soul. There have been some subtle changes to the dimensions, but it was never passenger space that was an issue for Soul drivers.
The biggest bone of contention was the materials used on the inside, all of which have been upgraded for the new model.
Run your hand across the interior and you will encounter soft-touch materials where hard plastic used to exist. If you want to talk about a more sophisticated Soul, look no further than the interior.
The circular theme used in the original model has been expanded upon to make the cabin seem decidedly upscale.
The artsy looking speakers placed atop the dash vents and the heavy, ergonomically sound steering wheel are just a couple of highlights.
Speaking of the steering wheel, it may be fun to hold, but how does it turn?
The engine start-stop button’s gotten a new position too and that is at the bottom left of the gear shift, giving the console a stunningly sporty look!
Experienced drivers who like to feel some sort of symbiotic connection with the car through the wheel may be disappointed, but the fact is that most drivers simply don’t care about feel.
What they do care about is the noise level and ride comforts, which are both very nicely addressed in the new Kia Soul 5-door.
During the KBB test drive, the new Soul crossover vehicle was taken across a number of different road surfaces, handling them all with consummate ease.
There was also an occasion where the test driver got a little lost and was forced to make some tight turns, which the vehicle negotiated without the skittering that tended to occur when such moves were performed in the original model.
A new level of comfort has been added thanks to the softer seats that replace the firm versions found in the old Soul.
It’s not just all about ergonomic comfort, though, as the seats come with the option of ventilated front seats, giving the ability to heat or chill your behind as you see fit.
If that all sounds a little upscale, just take a look at what else the new Soul has to offer: automatic climate control, a heated steering wheel, a 350-watt Infinity premium audio system and a nifty navigation system with a fast-reacting 8-inch touchscreen.
The feeling is that with so much added, there has to be something that was taken away or left as is in order to keep the pricing affordable.
KBB Drives A Soul With 2,0L GDI Engine
The answer might be found under the hood where the 2.0-liter engine remains flat at 164 horsepower with only a slight bump in torque.
The 1.6-liter engine actually loses a little power over the old model, but this is done with a purpose in mind.
Kia wanted to increase torque in the lower rpm range in an attempt to give the car a little more zip without having to overtax the engine.
KBB tested the 2.0-liter version and found that Kia had indeed succeeded in doing just that.
Overall, the good folks at KBB declared themselves fans of the new 2014 Kia Soul.
Kia seemed to be aware that good looks could only carry the Soul so far, so they have given the interior an upgrade to ensure that the looks are more than just skin deep.
The starting MSRP comes in at $15,495, including destination, and will be available in October 2013.