When Kia got Soul

Here’s a rare thing – the per­fect car for the young and el­derly alike

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Used Car - GRA­HAM SMITH gra­ham.smith@cars­guide.com.au

NEW

The Soul was cre­ated to ap­peal to younger driv­ers seek­ing to per­son­alise their ride. Such an idea might put the fright­en­ers on older mo­torists but it shouldn’t, be­cause un­der that funky skin is a re­ally prac­ti­cal small car that makes per­fect sense for the times. It’s called a hatch, looks like a wagon and has oo­dles of in­ner space yet com­pact di­men­sions.

With its up­right style, it is easy to get in and out of the Soul. Once inside, thanks to the squar­ish shape, you find it’s quite spa­cious with good head and legroom for front and rear oc­cu­pants alike.

The rear seats split and fold down, and the big square open­ing in the rear al­lows big, boxy items to be loaded eas­ily.

A prac­ti­cal lit­tle de­vice that should ap­peal to a broad spec­trum of buy­ers, the Soul is also funky enough to ap­peal to the younger set, par­tic­u­larly with such fea­tures as mood lighting, and USB and iPod con­nec­tiv­ity. There are two engine op­tions, a 1.6-litre four­cylin­der petrol with de­cent rather than breath­tak­ing ac­cel­er­a­tion and a 1.6-litre turbo diesel that de­liv­ered good fuel econ­omy and some grunt.

There was also the choice of a four-speed auto and a fivespeed man­ual, the for­mer a smooth op­er­a­tor but lack­ing a sport-shift func­tion.

Kia had three vari­ants of the Soul, start­ing with the en­trylevel hatch then mov­ing to the 2 and on to the 3 at the

top of the range.

NOW

As the Soul is rel­a­tively new to the mar­ket and the ear­li­est ex­am­ples are yet to reach 50,000km, it’s too early for abid­ing is­sues to sur­face.

Equally, we re­ceive rel­a­tively few com­plaints about Kias in gen­eral, which means the fu­ture looks quite rosy for the Soul. A re­cent spin in a Soul re­vealed it to be well-built and nicely fin­ished— there was noth­ing about it to sug­gest it had any hid­den demons.

The petrol ver­sion drove sweetly, with enough punch to hold its own in traf­fic. The auto was smooth and un­fussed and, lack­ing sport-shift, it was happy to shuf­fle along with the lever in D. On the road it was quiet, the ride was com­fort­able and there was plenty of room inside.

Any­one think­ing of buy­ing a used SUV should add the Soul to the shop­ping list as it gives you the up­right stance with­out all the com­pli­cated gub­bins that come with all-wheel drive.

When as­sess­ing a used Soul be­fore pur­chase, look for a ser­vice record that con­firms it has been prop­erly main­tained and make the usual checks for dodgy crash re­pairs.

SMITHY SAYS

Neat, roomy and eco­nom­i­cal lit­tle ur­ban cruiser that makes per­fect sense.

Hatch­ery: The Soul prom­ises easy ac­cess and am­ple space within com­pact di­men­sions

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