This is the second generation Kia Soul...
The second generation Kia Soul went on sale in April 2014 following on from the first model that went on sale in 2009. We last tested the Soul back in 2009 and since then it has undergone a facelift, a number of special editions and now there is a completely new model.
The new Soul offers the styling of a 4x4 and some of the advantages such as an elevated seating position but all versions of the Soul are front-wheel-drive.
There are five trim levels, ‘Soul Start’, ‘Soul Connect’, ‘Soul Connect Plus’, ‘Soul Mixx’ and the top-of-the-range ‘Soul Maxx’. Kia are expecting 35 per cent of sales to be of the Connect Plus, 30 per cent to be taken by the Connect and 20 per cent of buyers to choose the Mixx.
All models now feature a DAB radio, Flex Steer - variable power-assisted steering and a tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS). Across the range there are painted bumpers, door handles and side mirror casings, keyless entry, air-conditioning, electrically adjustable door mirrors, electric windows all round, steering wheel-mounted controls, USB & AUX ports and six airbags.
As you move up the range the specification increases with cruise control, where the Soul Connect Plus adds a premium Infinity sound system, satellite navigation integrated within the DAB radio and a reversing camera display and front speaker mood lights. Where the top-of-the-range the Soul Maxx, which features 18-inch alloy wheels, leather upholstery, a TFT supervision cluster, a panoramic sunroof, front and rear parking sensors and a smart-entry key and engine start/stop button.
There is the option of two engines for the Soul, a 1.6-litre GDi (Gasoline Direct Injection) 130 bhp petrol and a 1.6-litre (CRDi) 126 bhp diesel, with the diesel unit making up the bulk of the sales. The diesel engine is available with either a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic. The Soul’s German designed 1.6-litre CRDi diesel engine is made at Kia’s European plant in Zilina which is located in Slovakia, with the rest of the car being built at the Gwangju plant in Korea.
What we tested
We drove the mid-range Kia Soul Connect Plus 1.6 CRDi 121bhp with 6-speed manual gearbox with the on the road price of £17,500 plus £490 for metallic paint.
We tested the 1.6-litre CRDi diesel – a 1582 cc four-cylinder unit producing a 126 bhp @ 4,000 rpm and developing 192 lb/ft of torque between 1,900 and 2,750 rpm. This equates to a 0-60 mph time of 10.8 seconds and a top speed of 112 mph.
Kia quote official NEDC fuel consumption figures of urban: 46.3 mpg, extra urban 64.2 and combined 56.6 mpg with CO2 emissions of 132 g/km. These figures like every manufacturers are optimistic and as testing is done in a laboratory they do not match real world consumption. On a mixed test route of shopping trips and the school run we were achieving 38 mpg which increased to around 42 mpg when touring.
You may wish to look at the 1.6-litre GDi petrol if your mileage is low, as generally short journeys are not particularly efficient for diesel engines, and not only affects fuel consumption but it can lead to maintenance issues. Although Kia expects sales of the diesel to take up 70% of the demand plus the diesel engine needs to be serviced only every 20,000 miles / or once a year, the petrol schedule is every 10,000 miles / or once a year. Both options are protected by Kia’s seven-year or 100,000-mile warranty.
Overall we found the diesel engine a little bit gruff when cold but it soon settled down, it is punchy enough, although a little noisy under duress bit it does not feel lacking.