When considering the Kia Soul for the UK market, Kia worked with Lotus to tune the chassis for the right-hand-drive models.
How It Drove - Ride and Handling
When considering the Kia Soul for the UK market, Kia worked with Lotus to tune the chassis for the right-hand-drive models. This is good news considering their experience in the sports car market and their understanding of UK road surfaces.
According to Kia, through damper tuning, the Kia Soul has become more compliant with UK roads, adding more refinement to the ride yet allowing the dampers to deliver greater handling confidence and steering communication. The result is that the Kia Soul is now one of the most dynamically complete cars Kia has ever produced, with specific suspension packages for the UK, Europe and the US.
Although we found the set up perfectly acceptable if you press on a bit the car tends to pitch and roll a little too much for our liking due to its high centre of gravity but it always felt sure footed and reassuring.
The steering is responsive, well weighted and bearing in mind its height, it drove very well indeed.
Ease of Use
The Kia Soul scores well for ease of use as this is exactly what is designed for; it is easy to drive, easy to live with and very easy to get in and out of.
You sit quite high inside and in a commanding driving position not far off a small 4x4. According to Kia the hip point of the driver's seat is around 120mm higher than in a regular B-segment car, while ground clearance is 45mm higher and the base of the windscreen is around 135mm higher. Every model from the kia Soul 2 grade upwards has a height-adjustable driver's seat.
Small on the outside, big on the inside - with the Kia Soul's high roofline there is plenty of headroom, shoulder room and legroom all round. Even adults should feel quite well accommodated in the rear, access is easy, the doors open wide and there is a low sill.
All round vision is very good, which makes parking easy, although some driver's might still like to have parking sensors which are standard from next trim level up.
The rear seats are split on a 60:40 and fold almost flat without the need for the headrests to be removed. With the seats up there is 340 litres of luggage space, with the seats down you gain another 460 litres. In five-seat mode the boot can accommodate a golf bag plus two travel bags, while with the rear seats folded, two 26-inch mountain bikes will fit in.
Cleverly, there are a number of storage zones, in fact there are 14 zones where items can be stashed, depending on the model. They include a two-tier glovebox, a lidded tray in the floating centre stack (Kia Soul 2 upwards) and a larger open circular tray on models without the optional centre speaker.
The centre floor console has spaces for a mobile phone and other small items and contains a large cupholder and an open compartment big enough for a 1.5-litre bottle. Both front doors can accommodate a 0.5-litre bottle plus maps or other documents and there are spaces for two more 1.5-litre bottles (with retaining straps) in the luggage area. Plus an underfloor storage tray is fitted in the luggage area of the Kia Soul Samba, Soul Shaker and Soul Burner.
We are not sure if it was an oversight but the Kia Soul 2 did not come with a rear luggage cover, if this is standard then it does not seem very practical for security conscious owners. Plus the boot is not as big as the outside would suggest.
Kia Soul Road Test Data
|Model Reviewed||Kia Soul 2|
|Colour||Cocktail Orange - Metallic|
|Performance (manufacturers data)|
|0 - 62 mph||11 seconds|
|Top Speed||110 mph|
|Fuel Type||Unleaded Petrol|
|CO2 Emissions (NEDC Figures)||g/km|
|Economy (NEDC Figures)|
|Extra Urban||49.6 mpg|
|Euro NCAP Rating||TBA|
|Warranty||5 years / Unlimited miles|
|Price (when tested on the 06/07/09)||£11,495|