Having never driven the Kia Soul, I always assumed it (along with the Kia Rondo we’ll review next week) was one of the brand’s lesser offerings given its less than flattering sale numbers.
Many makes often have entry level vehicles which are basic, rudimentary and less refined than the rest of their ranges just to make up the numbers or offer something for the budget conscious.
But the Kia Soul couldn’t be further from the truth.
I was thoroughly impressed by the boxy Soul and am surprised it’s not more popular.
Kia only manages to sell a couple of hundred of these a year which really isn’t justified after you’ve spent some time in it.
The better than expected offering comes with what is now being known as Kia’s high quality fit and finish which seems to pervade throughout its range no matter the grade.
The seats, though only fabric are wrapped in tight, durable material, the dashboard is finished in matte black with unique upward facing speakers above the air vents on the far sides.
In the centre is a 5” touch display screen which is on the small side but is still appropriately functional and the A/C controls, while manual, are smooth with a nice feel to the turn.
Small touches add to the appeal like the flush, non-descript latch on the glovebox and the big centre dash receptacle and large door bottle holders.
This particular model I had was made more attractive by the white/red colour scheme also available in red/black.
You do sacrifice some boot space though as it is not deep and belongings will have to be packed in vertically.
On the tarmac the Kia Soul surprised again, with decent acceleration from the humble 2.0 litre engine with proportionately tuned brakes.
It had good get-up-and-go and very smooth, light steering making turning feel like silk.
Of course if you step down hard it won’t respond well but is more than competent for typical driving.
Cruising along I noticed an impressively quiet ride and the wider stance lends to more stability.
Overall, the Kia Soul provided an easy, pleasurable drive and does all that’s required of it. It has all the basic necessities presented in a neat little box.
NUTS and BOLTS 2017 Kia Soul
- Engine: 2.0L petrol producing 112kW/192Nm
- Transmission: Six-speed automatic
- Warranty: 7 Year/Unlimited km
- Safety: Not yet tested
- Origin: South Korea
- Price: From $24,990