What is it
The Kia Soul ‘urban crossover’ has been given a mid-life facelift and we were impressed with the updates when we drove it in Nice late last year. Included in the revamp are new bumper and headlamp designs, a refreshed cabin facia and improved standard kit.
More notably, however, Kia has ditched the model’s 124bhp 1.6-litre petrol engine in favour of a more powerful 138bhp unit of the same displacement. The existing 1.6-litre oil-burner has also been revised to lower CO2 emissions by 8g/km to 129g/km, making the diesel exempt from Vehicle Excise Duty in its first year. Also new to the Soul model is the addition of an extra forward gear; now six in total.
Here, we’re testing the new 2012 offering in 1.6 GDi Hunter trim, which comes with large 18-inch alloys, sunroof and a reversing camera.
What’s it like?
Like the car we tested in France, we’re impressed with the new petrol engine. Keener throttle response and brawnier low-end torque transform the Soul’s usability around town and make getting up to speed on motorways less of a chore than before.
The new six-speed manual gearbox also works well with the stronger engine and enables slick changes between any gear for progressive acceleration.