- Distinctive looks
- Spacious, attractive interior
- Quiet diesel engine
- Electric version available
- Small boot, reduced on EV
- Thirsty petrol engine
- Too niche for some
Cars from Kia aren’t renowned for being the most characterful of machines – reliable, value for money and practical maybe, but not exactly packed with personality.
The new Kia Soul is different - it’s more extrovert and all the more likeable for it. When the original model was launched in 2009 it was the start of a more youthful design direction for the Korean firm, and now it’s time for an all-new second-generation model.
More space inside
Although every body panel is different, the new Soul still looks very similar to the outgoing model. It’s not simply a facelift though – this is a new model that’s longer and wider than before with a greatly improved interior.
The bigger external dimensions and a lengthened wheelbase mean there’s greater head, leg and shoulder room than before and the Soul really is a car that feels bigger on the inside than the outside. It feels far more spacious than the larger Kia Sportage 4x4 for example, especially for rear passengers.
In fact, it would make a strong proposition as a family car were it not for the disappointingly small boot which, though bigger in volume than that of the old Soul, struggles to accommodate more than two or three medium sized travel bags.
Interior fit and finish has come on in leaps and bounds and the Soul is a comfortable place to spend time with strong levels of equipment across the range.
All Souls feature air conditioning and DAB radio and although the entry-level Start model is otherwise a little short of kit, the rest of the range is generously equipped with items including a reversing camera, satellite-navigation and heated seats, depending on trim.
Petrol, diesel or electric
Buyers can choose between the latest versions of Kia's 1.6-litre GDi petrol and CRDi diesel engines from launch, the latter with the choice of either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. Both engines are carried over from the outgoing model but feature improved efficiency with lower emissions.
The diesel will make up the bulk of sales and with good reason – it’s quieter, punchier and far less thirsty than the petrol.
Joining the range at the end of 2014 was the electric Soul EV, with a claimed range of 132 miles from its lithium-ion battery packs.
Kia’s sales expectations for the Soul are rather modest and that’s a shame because it’s one of the more interesting models the company makes and a worthy alternative to competitors such as the Nissan Juke.
Click on the headings at the top of the page or the ratings below to navigate through the full 2014 Kia Soul review.