The Kia Soul is an unmistakable car that is set to become an icon.
But back to the Kia Soul Shaker test car. Priced at £12,495, it comes with privacy glass, heated door mirrors, an electric sunroof, metallic centre fascia and interior door handles, and a very clever reversing camera, which appears at one end of the electrochromic rear-view mirror, in an exceptionally clear LCD display.
The cream exterior colour is continued inside with the deep dashboard, door panels and the steering-wheel boss. Unusually, the seat fabric is mainly black but the upper parts have a black and cream Houndstooth pattern.
The front of the Kia Soul's cabin and driver's environment is equally as clear-cut as the exterior with a compact,'tongue-shaped' centre console extending into the cabin supported by a pedestal. The 'zig-zag' layout of the buttons, either side of the small display screen, falls easily to hand, as does the gear shift, below.
The high seating position and large amount of glazing allows for good all-round visibility, although it is possible for the thick A-pillars to hide a cyclist. But the Kia Soul is all about interior space, particularly for rear passengers. The extra roof height at the rear means more head-room, the boxy shape makes for more shoulder-room and the long wheel-base offers a good amount of legroom.
The rear seatbacks in the Kia Soul Shaker had a 60:40 fold to form an almost flat floor but the squab is an all-in-one bench. Nevertheless, the rear passenger will find the seats almost as comfortable as those in the front.
The 1.6, petrol engine under the bonnet of the test car, produces 126PS at 6,300rpm and 156Nm of torque at 4,200rpm, before which, it seems a little sluggish. That said, according to the official figures, it takes just 11.0 seconds to complete the 0-62mph sprint and the top speed is 110mph, where legal.
Fuel consumption figures for the Kia Soul are posted as 35.8-, 49.6- and 43.5mpg for the urban, extra-urban and combined, respectively and emissions of 153g/km.
On the road, the Kia Soul is perfectly happy around town, as well on the motorway. In both cases the commanding driving position helps the driver to see what's ahead, making for a more relaxed drive. Thanks to some tweaking by Lotus, the UK version of the Kia Soul is more suited to our roads and is surprisingly flat on fast bends and twisting roads.
All Kia Souls come with Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) ABS with EBD and six airbags. The front headrests are anti-whiplash and the seatbelts have pretensioners, while in the rear the outer seats have ISOFIX child seat mounts. It has also gained a 5-star rating in the latest EuroNCAP safety tests.
The Kia Soul is an unmistakable car that is set to become an icon. It has already collected a good few awards and accolades along with the favour of more customers than the company expected.17 June 2009
Kia Soul Road Test Data
|Model Reviewed||Kia Soul Shaker|
|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||5 Star|
|Warranty||5 years / Unlimited miles|
|Price (when tested on the 17/06/09)||£12,495|