Second-generation Soul is a practical, interesting car with a decent diesel engine and tasteful looks

What is it?

The second generation of Kia's stylish crossover. The new Soul is longer, wider and lower than the car it replaces, and features distinctive looks that are designed to get younger buyers interested in the brand.

Order books for the new Soul have already opened in the UK, with Kia offering three trim levels dubbed Start, Connect, and Connect Plus. Two other trim levels, Mixx and Maxx, will also arrive later this summer. Engine options comprise a 1.6-litre diesel and a 1.6-litre petrol.

The model driven here is a mid-range Soul Connect Plus with a 1.6-litre turbodiesel engine, putting out 126bhp and 192lb ft of torque. The quoted 0-60mph time of 10.8 seconds and the top speed of 112mph is competitive for the class and Kia has focused on ease of use and economy, rather than performance.

The Kia new Soul packs a 354-litre boot, with storage space rising to 1367 litres with the rear row of seats folded forwards. That's just short of some rivals (the Vauxhall Mokka offers 362 litres, rising to 1372), but it's still a decent capacity for a compact crossover.

Inside, Connect Plus models get an upgraded sound system and integrated satellite navigation, while keeping the 17-inch alloys, cruise control, Bluetooth connectivity and reversing camera of lesser specifications.

Kia knows that volume sales of the new Soul in the UK are never going to be huge, and it's likely that only around 5000 units of the new car will make their way to the UK.

Still, standing out in a market already saturated with the likes of the Nissan Juke, Skoda Yeti and Vauxhall Mokka is a big ask for anyone, but on looks alone the new Soul certainly accomplishes that task with aplomb.

What's it like?

Stylish, both inside and out. As we noted in our drive of the petrol GDI version, the original Soul's outlandish design has been improved upon to present a car that looks very much at home in the urban sprawl. 

The Kia Soul's cabin is spacious for the most part, although taller passengers in the rear will voice complaints about legroom on longer journeys. There are some colourful touches to the Soul's interior trim, most notably the colour-matched stitching on the steering wheel and seats of our test car. There could be more on that front, but there is at least some new colour-changing speaker mood lighting, which looks impressive at night.

The Soul's 1.6-litre CRDi diesel is a competent engine, offering good torque from low down in the rev range. Steering for the most part is accurate, but there's little or no feedback. Initially it appears heavy too, although a press of Kia's Flex Steer power steering button allows you to adjst the amount of assistance you receive, depending on whether you're driving in town or country.

Both versions of the Soul are quite firmly sprung; there's little difference in body roll between the petrol and diesel versions. That's no bad thing, because the Soul rides well over most surfaces. Even on some of Yorkshire's variable country lanes, the Soul didn't struggle to maintain its composure.

Economy wise, Kia says the new Soul can manage up to 56.5mpg on a combined cycle, and around 46.3mpg on urban routes. We didn't see those kind of numbers, but after a cross-country drive the Soul's trip computer showed a relatively impressive 37mpg.

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Should I buy one?

In diesel form, it's easy to see why you would. The Kia Soul is a car for style-conscious drivers, and on that front it appears to gain a leading edge over many compact crossover rivals. In Connect Plus trim there's also plenty of kit on offer, which increases the Soul's usability and comfort.

Parts of the interior could do with better quality furnishings, Kia's leather steering wheels never feel quite as soft to touch as they should and the Soul's chunky shape and wing mirrors create a fair amount of wind noise at speed. But if you're after a stylish and practical compact crossover which stands out from the crowd, even among other crossovers, then the Kia Soul should certainly be on your shopping list.

Kia Soul 1.6 CRDi Connect Plus

Price £17,500; 0-60mph 10.8sec; Top speed 112mph; Economy 56.5mpg; CO2 132g/km; Kerb weight 1538kg; Engine 4 cyls, 1582cc, turbodiesel; Power 126bhp at 4000rpm; Torque 192lb at 1900-2750rpm; Gearbox 6-spd manual

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Richard H 9 April 2014


I know its subjective and in the eye of the beholder, but I don't see the KIA Soul as stylish in any respect.

The article reads like a KIA press release. However, I do understand why people buy them, just hoping they've dropped hearing aid beige from the colour list

Motormouths 8 April 2014

I have a soft spot for the

I have a soft spot for the Soul, but as others have said, CO2 emissions of 132g/km are way too high for the diesel. They should be 120g/km at the very most these days.

The same engine - albeit in a differing state of tune - can cough out just 100g/km in the Cee'd.

K_A 13 April 2014

Check out the...

Soul diesel's mid-sized family car-like kerb weight. As it's based on the Cee'd platform, why does this B-CUV weigh 1,538kg? That's surpasses the C-Segment and falls straight into D-Segment when it comes to kerb weight. Just imagine if the diesel Soul was lighter, I think its CO2 output could fall down to around 100g/km.
EngageSportMode 8 April 2014

Makes a lot more sense as

Makes a lot more sense as 'compact car' in the USA, given that the base version costs less than (the equivalent of) £9,000.

Looks quite pricey when pitched against it's rivals here, but then there's always that 7-year Kia Warranty to consider I guess.