It’s the urban warrior for the urbane driver
SLIPPERY, streamlined cars might use less fuel but there comes a point at which practicality rears its ugly head.
Kia’s Soul is a box with wheels. It’s made for congestion and tight parking bays and meets a demand for maximum cabin space without becoming a van. The Soul, now in its second generation, is terrific at what it’s designed to do.
This is not a hatch and not a wagon. Like Toyota’s Rukus, it lives in a half world occupied by florists and urban couriers. So you have to think out of the box — literally — to understand the value in the Soul. If you think it’s funky then you’ve no understanding of the notion. Weirdly, you’re probably the perfect Soul owner.
Seats with a high hip point, lots of room for grandkids, height-adjustable boot floor and definable body corners make this a practical and simple vehicle for older drivers.
Standard equipment is good for the $25,990 price of the automatic version. Ownership costs are excellent — $892 for three years of servicing, fiveyear unlimited distance warranty with roadside assistance and a reasonable 48 per cent resale after three years. All good.
Nothing outrageous here. It uses a Rio platform and the Kia-common 113kW/191Nm 2.0-litre petrol engine mated to a six-speed auto. Kia claims fuel use 8.4L/100km in basic unleaded. That’s quite poor.
The steering is electric-assist and is one of the company’s better jobs. Suspension is parfor-the-course MacPherson front and torsion-bar rear but a lot of tuning has been done in Australia. Soul gets all-wheel disc brakes. It is rated to tow a maximum of 1100kg.
I think you’ve got the picture. Cabin design and ergonomics are its strengths. There are very comfortable seats, high seating and body corners you can almost sense when parking, nice audio and a high-quality materials and build.
The multi-level boot stores a so-so 238L with rear seats up but redeems itself with a big 1251L when the seats are down.
A space-saver spare is standard but a full-size wheel could fit in the hole.
The Soul gets five stars with six airbags, brake emergency display, electronic stability and traction with brake assist. It has auto headlights, rear park sensors and reverse camera. Park assist graphics help with determining the car’s position in a supermarket bay. The spare is a space-saver.
The proof of the pudding is in the eating and even an enthusiastic driver will dine
well on the spirit of the Soul. The bigg(ish) engine puts out a strong and flat spread of torque to be easily delivered by the automatic transmission.
But in slow-fast condions such as winding country roads, the box has a habit of hunting for gears that is best quelled by switching to its manual mode.
Ride comfort and quietness are very good considering that the box shape lends itself to noise booms.
Best of all is its predictable size which makes it so easy to manoeuvre through traffic and park in tight bays. Practical, sensible and roomy and tests your powers of argument skills with family, friends and neighbours.