This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest Kia Soul (14-19) review.

Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

Kia Soul performance is limited to one petrol and one diesel engine, which is offered with the choice of a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic.

Petrol engine

The Kia Soul’s 124bhp 1.6-litre petrol engine that was used from launch in 2009 was replaced in early 2012 with a 138bhp 1.6-litre motor that offers up 0-62mph in 10.0 seconds and a 112mph top speed.

The engine makes a good fist of propelling the Soul on most roads, but it doesn’t feel as punchy as an engine of this power output should in a car of the Soul’s size. It’s also too noisy at higher speeds, where the Soul is also subject to considerable road noise.

Diesel engine

The Kia Soul’s 1.6-litre CRDi engine that provides the most satisfying performance with extra low down pulling power compared to the petrol. While both engines are responsive, it’s the diesel that takes the stress out of overtaking slower traffic.

It has 126bhp on tap and comes with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic gearbox. The manual needs 10.3 seconds to cover 0-62mph, while the auto takes a further second.

Parkers recommends

Normally, we would struggle to recommend a diesel engine in a supermini over the petrol version, but in the Soul the diesel is the better bet for every occasion.

The Soul’s wide stance and relatively long wheelbase for a small car means it’s composed on the road, although Kia commissioned Lotus to help develop the chassis settings used on UK cars.

It means that Soul 2 grade models on 16-inch wheels feel firmly planted on the road with excellent body control. The top-end models on 18-inch alloys make you more aware of poor road surfaces, but there is no roughness to the ride.

The Soul isn’t designed to drive like a sportscar, but it is more than agile enough to cope with the trials of everyday driving. It’s also easy to manoeuvre, making parking easy.