What is it?
This is the Kia Soul 2 1.6 petrol, the mid-spec version of Kia’s supermini-sized SUV crossover. If that sounds confusing, then think of the Kia Soul as a jacked-up chunky supermini with a dash of Mini Clubman-style ‘lifestyle’ desirability chucked in.
Eventually the ranks of the supermini-based quasi-SUVs will be swollen by the addition of the Skoda Yeti and the production version of the Nissan Qazana concept (due to be shown at Geneva), a car based on the platform of the next Nissan Micra. For now, though, the Kia Soul finds itself with few rivals.
What’s it like?
When we tried the diesel version of the Kia Soul in Korea, we came away impressed by the concept, but disappointed by the ride and handling.
Since then, however, the Kia Soul has made a trip to the folks at Lotus Engineering, who have fine-tuned the chassis for the tricky demands of the UK road network.
Lotus hasn’t made major changes, but has tweaked the damper rates and rebound settings.
The result of these changes is impressive. The Kia Soul flows with the undulations of a road in a way that belies its chunky shape and Korean provenance. It’s composed, yet it rarely feels too firm and it soaks up transverse ridges and surface imperfections with quiet ease.