Despite its boxy shape and its odd breadbox-like profile, the Kia Soul has always been popular with young, budget-conscious shoppers (and seniors!) ever since the car was first introduced in 2009. In fact, the Soul has been such a hit with this demographic that it is Kia’s second largest seller behind the Kia Optima sedan. Rivals like Toyota and Nissan have tried to emulate the car’s success with models like the Scion xB and the Cube, respectively. But so far, those attempts have failed to impress the market in quite the manner that the Soul has done for the past few years.
Poised to Succeed with a New Look
With the 2014 Kia Soul, the South Korean carmaker appears all set to build on the success of the introductory model. Like the outgoing version, the new Soul is funky, stylish, roomy and relatively inexpensive all at once. The 2014 model comes with two engine options, a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder unit and a chunkier 2.0-liter engine. When combined with the car’s six-speed transmission, the 1.6-liter engine delivers a modest 130 horsepower with 118 pound-feet of torque, while the 2.0-liter engine cranks out a brawnier 164-hp and 151 pound feet of twist.
The 2014 Kia Soul’s real appeal, though, is not found under the hood. Rather, its appeal lies in the improvements that have been made to the car’s exterior and interior. From the outside, the new Kia Soul is noticeably wider and longer than its predecessor. It also rides lower to the ground than the outgoing model and has an incrementally longer wheelbase. Additional touches, like a flattened rear end and blacked-out A-pillars surrounding the windows, give the car a refined and sophisticated appearance.
Sophisticated Interior & Funk Vibe
Nowhere is the 2014 Kia Soul redesign more evident than the inside of the car. For one thing, the interior is noticeably bigger than the older version. Unlike the first-generation Soul, which featured a hard plastic material inside the car, the 2014 edition’s door panels, dashboard and center armrest are topped with a spongy-soft material that is soft and yielding to the touch. The buttons and the switches mounted on the dashboard console have piano-black accents that lend a sophisticated touch to the new Kia Soul interior. The car is also equipped with a colorful dash-mounted GPS navigation system. Consumers have the option of choosing either an Android-based navigation system, or one that is based on Microsoft’s operating system technology.
In keeping with its funky vibe, the 2014 Kia Soul offers optional extras, such as a 10-speaker stereo system and light-up speakers that change colors and pulsate with whatever music is being played. Consumers prepared to splurge a little extra money can also get heated and ventilated driver and front passenger seats. The new Kia starts at a modest $15,500 for a stripped down base model, and can go all the way up to $27,000 for a fully loaded, all options included package.
Value for the Money
Auto critics consider the 2014 Soul to offer good value for the money. The car offers relatively decent fuel economy. The 2.0-liter version of the new Soul delivers 23 miles per gallon around the city and 31 mpg on the highway, while the smaller 1.6-liter engine version offers comparable city miles but fewer miles on the freeway. Compared to the outgoing Soul, the new model is slightly more expensive. However, the increase is more than offset by the many improvements Kia has made to the car.