ENGINES – From launch there was a straight choice between petrol and diesel. With the Soul viewed by many as an upright compact hatch, low miles motoring should make petrol the preferred option. Those looking to travel further might wish to choose diesel power, although it can’t match European rivals for refinement or economy.
EXTERIOR – A radical departure from the more conservative offerings from Kia, the Soul’s boxy exterior hides a spacious interior. One of a growing number of urban MPVs, it caters for buyers seeking the footprint of a regular city hatchback but one offering more practicality.
INTERIOR – With its lofty driving and seating positions, the Soul is not like your average compact hatchback. That said, the car’s various controls and displays will be familiar to fans of the Kia brand. Occupants are surrounded by reasonable quality materials, with the emphasis on durability understandable given the car’s family-centric audience.
DRIVING – Kia isn’t famous for producing cars for keen drivers and the Soul is no different in this respect. The car’s suspension is a little on the firm side, which can be an issue around town, although it does ensure that body roll is kept in check. The various engines deliver adequate levels of performance, but the focus is clearly on measured progress despite the car’s youthful, racy-looking appearance.
OWNERSHIP – As a five-door, high-rise hatch the Soul offers buyers a competent urban car experience with the ability to confidently go beyond the city limits when required. Its modest footprint ensures that parking is rarely a problem and the lofty driving position is a nice touch. Modest running costs and a good level of standard kit completes the picture.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR – Being a family car, it’s wise to check the Soul’s interior for the usual damage – cracked trim and soiled upholstery. The car’s exterior also warrants close examination as parking dents, stone chips and kerbed wheels are all potential hazards associated with a tough urban life. Being such a new car there’s no excuse for a patchy service record, and it’s also essential to take a test drive to establish that everything works as it should.
2009: Kia launches its urban crossover, the Soul. The upright compact five-door hatch was offered with a choice of small capacity diesel and petrol engines plus a good level of standard equipment. Initially good value five-year warranty later updated to Kia’s across-the-board seven-year plan for added peace of mind.
REASONS TO BUY – good warranty, looks, interior space, reliability
REASONS TO BEWARE – not a driver’s car, lots of conventional alternatives to choose from
PICK OF THE RANGE – Soul 1.6 2
WHAT TO PAY
2009 09 7,545
2009 59 7,840
2010 10 8,645
2010 60 8,965
2011 11 9,830
2011 61 10,205
Figures relate to showroom prices for cars in A1 condition.