To make a tall car handle crisply and with minimal body roll and ride with suppleness is an achievement comparable to an alchemist’s dream, but Kia has made a good attempt with the Soul. The high seating position would make body roll obvious were it excessive, but the Soul stays level enough unless it’s being pressed hard, and takes up its cornering stance in a progressive, well-damped way.
There’s nothing particularly inspiring about its dynamic demeanour that makes you crave interaction, and its electric power steering certainly opens no doors of perception. But it resists understeer well on a dry road and is quick-witted enough to thread its way effectively along tight lanes or along an urban obstacle course.
At speed on a straight road, however, the Soul is easily deflected from its course if any crosswinds are blowing. This is partly down to the high sides, which catch the wind, but even on a calm day, it needs a surprising amount of fine steering adjustment to keep it straight.
This shows up the steering’s worst feature: a heavy, rubbery resistance around the straight-ahead at speed, which means that even quite firm efforts achieve scant directional change. Subtlety and finesse are absent here, as with many such electric systems, and there’s no genuine feel of the road. Once past the centre point, though, the response becomes more precise and credible.
Lotus has done a good job in honing the primary ride. It’s mostly relaxed, level and well damped.