The Kia Soul sits in the very large compact SUV segment and therefore it has plenty of competition that are currently outselling it. The Soul has unique stylings and is boxy in appearance, which means that it would be a more likely contender with the likes of the Skoda Yeti and the Jeep Renegade. However, the curvier competition is huge too with competition from the Nissan Juke, the Renault Captur, the Mazda CX-3, the Opel Mokka, the Fiat 500x, and much more. This segment is really growing and it’s a hard one for less familiar cars like the Soul to truly contend in.
The Soul is available to the Irish market with just one trim and one engine. It is powered by a 1.6 litre diesel engine that offers 128 PS and a maximum torque of 260Nm at between 1,900 and 2,750rpm. We’re told that it will bring you from 0-100km/h in 11.3 seconds and it is mated to a six-speed manual transmission.
This car is fun to drive - that feeling may come from its unique styling. Apart from that it handles well enough. You would expect a vehicle with its dimensions to roll a lot on corners, but surprisingly it doesn’t. The steering is light and is slightly vague. Ride suffers as you drive over bumps and ramps too.
Put the foot down in the 1.6 litre diesel and you will be all too aware that the engine is there. It can be noisy when pushed, but take things easy with it and the engine is refined and quite. Road noise is not terrible, but the boxiness of the vehicle and the large wing mirrors do tend to pick up wind noise that seeps into the cabin.
The interior of the Soul is funky and spacious. Typical of Kia the plastics within the cockpit and around the vehicle do not feel cheap and they are presented in a nice way. The infotainment is easy to use and navigate around too. The car benefits from Bluetooth and USB connectivity as standard. Another nice touch is that the radio has DAB and the car has parking sensors. The ride height is just what one would want from a compact SUV and this coupled with the large windscreen means that the Soul offers a commanding view of the road. The seats are comfortable and both passenger and driver will enjoy what’s on offer.
One of the best things that Kia offers is a seven year warranty, it’s amazing how much peace of mind something like this can offer. However, like with any warranty it must be read properly and owners must stick to the agreement.
The Kia Soul scored four stars in the Euro NCAP. It received a score of 72% for adult occupancy and a very good 82% for child occupancy. What really stopped the Soul from achieving the full five stars was its low scoring for pedestrian protection (59%) and safety assistance systems (56%). What the Soul does offer is 6 airbags surrounding the interior of the car, Vehicle Stability Management and Hill-Start Assist Control.
The Kia Soul offer plenty of space. Head and leg room is not an issue in any part of the vehicle. The front area is especially spacious. Four adults would fit in here easily. Five could fit, but the middle seat would be too narrow to offer good comfort. The boot area is nicely laid out, but it doesn’t offer anything beyond what the competition has.