2014 Kia Soul +

2014soul1Reviewed by Susan Frissell, editor WWW

Is this not the cutest car ever? This sounds terribly female, but I love this car. Have since it was introduced. It’s only gotten better: smoother, quieter, more refined and Hipper; if that is possible! Our test vehicle, the Kia Soul + came equipped with all the goodies, including the “Primo” package which includes a knockout-almost a convertible-panoramic sunroof that covers the length of the car. The dogs love it. I love it!

The 2014 Kia Soul is proof that things DO get better. The Soul appeals to not only the young set which, no doubt, it was designed to do, but also to those of us in our ‘second half of life.’ One is never too old to have fun and combining fun with what we drive is all the better. Right away I noticed the switch for directing the speakers to beat to the music or just change colors, on/off. Can’t wait until it’s dark and I can drive the Soul and operate this feature.

Our top-of-the-line Soul + came equipped with several options, sky-rocketing the total vehicle price to over $24,000; high for a Soul. Options included two packages: Audio and the Primo package. The former includes automatic climate control and navigation with 8-inch screen and SiriusXMTraffic ($1,400). The Primo package includes front fog lights, Panoramic sunroof with power sunshade, push button start w/smart key, leather seat trim, power driver’s seat, heated and ventilated seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel/shift knob, heated steering wheel, engine immobilizer ($3,000). Additional options were UVO with e-Series (rear camera display, automatic on/off headlights, $500), and carpeted floor mats ($115).

One could do without the expensive $3,000 Primo package as it includes those goodies one expects in a luxury vehicle. The Kia Soul, hardly a luxury boat, is categorized as a ‘small wagon,’ not what one would call luxury. Except that those who are into this car love decking it out; it is a candidate for modifying.

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The 2014 Soul brings the first major redesign to this 4-year-old beauty, complete with a redesigned chassis and frame (very noticeable), and a quieter, more soothing riding car. The word quality comes to mind. Kia offers two engine choices for 2014: The 1.6-liter and the 2.0-liter, both 4-cylinders. Opting for the 2.0-liter engine is the best choice. Smooth, quiet and peppy, the 2.0-liter handles the Kia respectfully. Paired with Kia’s six-speed automatic transmission, the Soul also sports the active Eco system, saving on fuel.

Standard features are plentiful, as is the case with all Kia vehicles. Anti-lock brakes, traction control, Electronic stability control, vehicle stability management and hill assist are the kinds of safety features not expected on a small compact car. Oh, and tire pressure monitoring system, too.

The Soul’s interior quality is much improved, cargo capacity is larger and new items, such as the panoramic sunroof have been added as upgrades.  A UVO eServices package is available and includes streaming internet radio capability for Smartphone users. Owners may think twice about coughing up the extra dough for SiriusXM radio just so they can watch the graphics displayed on the screen.

The pros outweigh the cons in the new Soul, like loads of available features, an attractive cabin with user-friendly controls and ample passenger space. The generous warranty is also a plus, of course, The cons, well, they are few, such as the desirable options can only be purchased in expensive packages.

Three trim levels are available: Base, + (plus) and ! (exclaim).  Our test Kia Soul + adds the more powerful engine, 17-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry, cruise control, front seat center console storage with armrest, and a fold-down rear seat armrest.

This five-passenger, 4-door hatchback of a wagon offers 16, 17 and 18-inch wheels. An alternative to the usual sedans and hatchbacks, Soul has so much more personality.soulhamsters

SPECS

MSRP: $18,200 total vehicle price $24,010; destination $795.

Engine: 2.0-liter 4-cylinder, 164 hp., 151 lbs.ft.torque

Transmission: 6-speed automatic, active Eco-system; 5-passenger

Wheelbase: 101.2 in.

Length: 163.0 in.

Width: 70.9 in.

Height: 63.0 in.

Tires: 205/60R16

Wheels: 17-inch alloy

EPA fuel economy: 23/31 mpg., 26 avg.

Warranty: 5 yr./60,000-mile limited basic, 10-yr./100,000-mile limited powertrain; 5 yr./60,000-mile roadside assistance

 

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