Joel Helmes road tests and reviews the 2014 Kia Soul Si.
Kia has simplified the Soul line-up with potential buyers only having to choose between an automatic or manual transmission.
Both transmissions offer six-ratios, the manual starts at $23,990, the auto $25,990.
Previously available with an optional diesel engine, the 2014 variant is fitted only with a 2.0 litre petrol engine that produces 113kW and 191Nm.
I had a week checking out the automatic version of the Kia Soul and again come away feeling somewhat indifferent about this Kia offering.
The styling divides opinion, personally I don’t mind it, my biggest gripe is with the simple lack of grunt.
Weighing in at just over 1400kgs, the 2.0 litre engine just doesn’t have enough power or torque. Acceleration can only be described as dull and in a car that looks to have some life and personality it really lets it down.
During my time in the Soul I did a fair bit of running around in the city and a couple of long highway trips – across the week I averaged 7.8L/100kms, that’s less than the claimed combined rate of 8.4L/100kms and a very good result.
The transmission tries hard and generally does what it should; the steering comes with Flex-steer adjustment and is impressive.
The ride and handling are also better than passable.
Officially known as the Si grade, the Soul boasts a pretty handy list of standard features, including a reversing camera, an easy to program Bluetooth system with audio streaming, tilt and reach steering adjustment and rear park assist.
You also get two well-placed power outlets, auxiliary audio inputs and a USB port too.
Legroom front and back is more than reasonable, the square and boxy shape means the Soul offers quite good headroom, visibility from the driver’s seat is generally good with large wing mirrors a plus.
The seats are a bit firm and the bases, though well-sized, are a touch flat.
In saying that, the seats were comfortable enough, even after a good hour or so.
The Soul also boasts simple air-conditioning controls, good-size cup holders and an absolutely massive glove box!
The gauges and driver info screen are simple and easy to read and the dashboard layout gets a pass mark (though I don’t really like the design of the dash-mounted speakers).
Boot space is pretty good and under the boot floor there are some handy storage spots.
The Kia Soul doesn’t yet have an ANCAP crash rating.
Summing it up: In itself the Soul is a generally pleasing and easy to live with car. The dull engine performance lets it down.
If you aren’t rusted onto the Soul’s styling, I would be saving the difference and jumping into a Kia Cerato, without hesitation!
NUTS and BOLTS – 2014 Kia Soul
- Engine: 2.0 litre petrol producing 113kW and 191Nm
- Transmission: Six-speed manual or auto
- Warranty: Five years
- Safety: Not tested
- Origin: Korea
- Price: From $23,990