Five years ago, affordable vehicles that feature youthful appeal and hip styling hit the market and became popular. But many of these vehicles were forgotten and eventually left the market—except the Kia Soul. For 2014, Kia offers us a totally redesigned Soul—and that which still sells until today.
UNDER THE HOOD
The base engine for the 2014 Kia Soul is a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder that produces 130 horsepower and 118 pound-feet of torque. Front-wheel drive system and a 6-speed manual transmission are standard. Also available is a 6-speed automatic.
Meanwhile, a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine powers the Soul + and ! models. It generates 164 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque and comes with only a 6-speed automatic transmission.
The EPA fuel economy ratings of the 2014 Kia Soul stand at:
|2.0-liter 4-cyl w/ Eco Package||24/31/27|
ON THE ROAD
The Soul can be powered by a competent 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine which makes the hatchback a fun vehicle to drive every day. But reviewers complain about the engine’s sluggishness when accelerating uphill. The smaller engine gives the Soul adequate power and performs well around town too.
The automatic transmission is responsive and changes gears smoothly. But some reviewers aren’t satisfied with the Soul’s fuel economy noting that it’s not impressive for a hatchback.
With the upgraded suspension, the Soul’s ride quality and overall handling has significantly improved. The ride remains comfortable and steady even when the Soul encounters bumps. It handles corners well and steers accurately. The more serene cabin also adds to the pleasant ride quality.
INSIDE THE 2014 SOUL
The interior design and quality of the 2014 Kia Soul is quite surprising. For its price, the materials are of fine quality and the design is modern. These gave the hatchback a sophisticated look and feel.
The gauge cluster is easy to read and the UVO system is laudably intuitive. And we have to remind you that many infotainment systems today, most of which are more expensive than Kia’s, are more complicated to learn and use.
The Soul also offers decent headroom and legroom all around, thanks to its boxy shape. Cargo room is a generous 19-cubic-foot. This expands up to 61 cubic feet when the rear seatbacks are folded down.
The 2014 Kia Soul has three trim levels: base, + and !.
The base Soul is standard with 16-inch steel wheels, privacy glass, 6-speaker AM/FM/MP3 audio system, USB/auxiliary audio jacks, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, driver-selectable steering, tilt & telescopic steering column, Bluetooth, trip computer, cloth upholstery, 60/40 split folding rear seat, hill start assist, brake assist, traction and stability control systems, and antilock brakes.
The Soul + adds 17-inch alloy wheels, side-mirror turn signals, steering-wheel-mounted cruise controls, rear center armrest with cup holders, center console armrest with storage, Active Eco System, and remote keyless entry.
The top-of-the-line Soul ! gets 18-inch alloy wheels, UVO infotainment system, rear-camera display, LED taillights, fog lights, auto-dimming rearview mirror, automatic headlights, cooling glove box, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, 10-way power driver seat, and black gloss interior accents.
Heated seats, leather seat trim, ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel, smart key with push-button start, voice-activated navigation system, supervision meter cluster with 4.3-inch TFT color LCD, automatic climate control, HD radio, Infinity audio system, HID headlights, panoramic sunroof, and Idle Stop and Go system are some of the optional features offered.
Photo credit: kia.com