Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

The Kia Soul’s interior is an attractive, characterful and high-quality place to be. Neat design cues echo the distinctive exterior and unusual touches include a central speaker on top of the dashboard and tweeter speakers on top of the air-conditioning vents.

In the doors, the speakers are ringed by a light which the driver can set to change colour continuously to match the music.

Fit and finish is excellent, and the combination of soft-touch plastics and a gloss black centre console works well.

In the UK, the interior colour scheme will vary from car to car depending on which exterior paint scheme is chosen, although by and large the plastic mouldings on petrol and diesel Souls is black. Choose the EV and you’re greeted with a pale shade of grey, lifted further by glossy white trims giving an ‘Apple’ store feeling.

Kia Soul comfort levels have been improved over the previous model thanks to greater sound-proofing so less road and engine noise finds its way into the cabin. The diesel Soul in particular is impressively quiet on the move and at motorway speeds there’s no need to raise your voice to have a conversation with passengers in the rear.

Naturally the Soul EV is the quietest of the range, so much so the aerodynamics have been subtly modified to reduce wind noise.

Ride quality is a little on the firm side, although the Souls we tested on the international launch were fitted with the largest 18-inch alloys – smaller wheeled variants may fare better on lumpy surfaces. Smaller wheels fitted to the diesel and EV versions are significantly more compliant.

The seats are comfortable and supportive in the front, while longer rear shock absorbers than the old Soul have improved ride comfort for rear passengers.

It’s a shame there aren’t any air conditioning vents in the rear, though, but climate controlled air-con is fitted to many of the trim levels.

Helpfully, the windscreen pillars are 20 percent narrower than before for a clearer view at junctions.