Kia Soul - Race Support

  • Our Kia steps in to help as we’re invited to race at Silverstone
  • The Soul’s long equipment list comes into its own
  • May not be a great track car, but it’s a great at the track car

Wednesday lunchtime, and my phone rang. It was Mazda. They were a racing driver short for the Birkett six-hour relay race and would I step in? I was more than happy to oblige, of course, but I needed to get there first.

I had the pick of the Parkers fleet with which to cart my racing gear, wife, overnight bag and all the other necessaries for a weekend at Silverstone’s historic GP circuit around. You can probably guess from the pictures which one I picked.

The Soul seemed like the perfect companion for the job. I had a couple of fairly long drives, so the diesel engine meant a long range. No visiting the petrol station. I knew I’d hit traffic around Loughborough, Northampton and Silverstone - the brilliant stereo helped there.

I also needed a fair amount of space, and while the Soul’s boot isn’t the biggest on the planet, its rear seat area is huge thanks to its boxy dimensions.

That would serve another purpose, since at the track I’d end up carting my team mates, race mechanics and some of the audience around at various points during the weekend.

On the journey to the track I was a happy boy. The Kia’s diesel isn’t going to break any speed records, but it has enough torque to make decent progress and didn’t use much fuel in the process. It’s a bit noisy, but the aforementioned stereo system is the solution to that little conundrum.

The sat-nav system works brilliantly in the Soul – it’s intuitive but crucially it’s quick, and that’s something even the likes of the Volkswagen Group appear to be struggling with at the moment. The SEAT Leon Cupra we’ve got on the fleet really suffers with a slow refresh rate, for example.

I found the ride quality good too, which makes a big difference travelling for hours rather than minutes. It isn’t the ultimate in handling or agility – I’ll leave that to the MX-5 racer I was thrashing around the GP circuit - but it feels safe and confidence-inspiring through corners all the same.

While stuck in traffic after dark near the circuit, one thing I wasn’t convinced about was the speakers. It isn’t the noise they make, but the fact they flash various colours while you’re driving. It constantly caught my eye, which turned out to be quite annoying. I’ve since found you can set them to flash with the music or at their own speed, but thankfully you can also turn them off altogether.

In the paddock the Soul worked brilliantly. There were 420 drivers and 69 teams involved in the race, so space was at a serious premium and the Soul’s relatively small footprint meant I could still weave my way through the race lorries.

It stood out too, so was never difficult to find in a hurry.

After the chequered flag had flown and we’d packed everything away we left the track and went home. I reflected upon the Soul’s performance over the weekend and came to the conclusion it’s great for this sort of lifestyle. I couldn’t have asked much more of it, to be honest. Perhaps if I’d needed to tow my own racing car I may have wanted something with a bit more ooph, but as it was, bravo Kia.

Mileage: 2,312

Fuel economy: 39.6mpg