Nov­elty and value

Herald Sun - Motoring - - FIVE THINGS -

1 Kia has sharp­ened the price

The sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion Soul ar­rived in Aus­tralian show­rooms in 2014 priced from about $28,990 drive-away, putting it largely out of reach of the younger buy­ers it’s aimed at. But late last year, Kia trimmed the price to a more rea­son­able $24,990 drive-away. That’s a lot of car for the money but still not as sharp as when it lim­boed closer to $20,000 in the pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion. That’s the price of progress.

2 It’s fully loaded

The Soul comes with six airbags, rear view cam­era and sen­sors, re­mote en­try (with a flick key), air­con­di­tion­ing and an in­dus­try-lead­ing seven-year fac­tory-backed war­ranty. The only blots on an oth­er­wise im­pres­sive equip­ment list are: no Ap­ple CarPlay or An­droid Auto, no dig­i­tal speedo and the driver’s power win­dow is auto down only (most new cars have auto up as well). Most Kias have full-size spares but not this one — there’s a skinny space-saver.

3 Qual­ity has im­proved

The price is higher than the pre­vi­ous model’s dis­count days but the qual­ity has stepped up a notch. The seat cush­ion­ing and fab­rics feel durable, and the pre­sen­ta­tion of the in­stru­ments is clear and classy. The doors close with a re­as­sur­ing “thwack”.

4 It drives OK

As a city run­about, the Soul is not meant to get the heart rac­ing. In­stead, it feels com­fort­able and safe. The power steer­ing can feel a touch vague at free­way speeds but most of the time the Soul feels se­cure on the road. The brake pedal travel is a touch too long for my lik­ing but I soon got used to it. The 2.0-litre petrol en­gine is not su­per fru­gal but nor is it a gas guz­zler. It’s perky enough, with­out mak­ing a racket.

5 I love the look

“Box cars” are still a rel­a­tive nov­elty in Aus­tralia. I have no idea why. Their roomy lay­out is much more prac­ti­cal than reg­u­lar hatch­backs and they look cool. Kia has blacked out the roof on cer­tain colour com­bi­na­tions with the re­cent price ad­just­ment, to give it a touch more flair. Con­sider a Soul if you want a roomy small car that stands out from the crowd. Just don’t pay $1 more than the $24,990 drive-away price. Metal­lic adds $550. You may be able to hag­gle on this.

Joshua Dowl­ing

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