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2014 Kia Soul

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2014 Kia Soul Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 8.1

When it launched in 2009 the Kia Soul joined the Nissan Cube and Scion xB in a hip class of vehicles defined by low prices, funky styling and youthful verve. Radical! Five years later the Cube and xB are sailing towards oblivion like the Honda Element before them, while the Kia Soul basks in unforeseen sales success. To maintain that momentum Kia has introduced a new Soul for the 2014 model year, complete with a fresh exterior, upgraded interior and an impressively expanded roster of standard and optional equipment. The Mini Countryman, Fiat 500L and Nissan Juke slot in as possible Soul alternatives, but the Kia’s competitive price, cheerful styling and radically improved interior make it a standout in the cute, cheap, compact-box family of vehicles.

You'll Like This Car If...

Kia has nailed the daring-but-darling design aesthetic with the 2014 Soul. People love the look of the Soul, and we’re guessing you might too. As a bonus that cute exterior houses a surprisingly plush interior for the price and more passenger space than you might imagine.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Cool looks and fun-to-drive don’t always align. Though greatly enhanced versus the original iteration, the 2014 Kia Soul isn’t particularly satisfying to steer and lacks the gutsy acceleration found in its quicker competitors.

What's New for 2014

For 2014, the Kia Soul has been heavily redesigned. That means a new, more rigid chassis, a reworked suspension, updated styling inside and out, and a host of new features. The only major carryover is the engine lineup, which sees slight modifications for 2014.

Driving the Soul
Driving Impressions

Thanks to a nearly 29-percent stiffer chassis, expandable foam body sealing and a reworked suspension, the new 2014 Kia Soul interfaces with the road far more gracefully than the 2013...

... model. In-motion noise levels are well controlled and the suspension absorbs, with dignity, all but the largest road imperfections. Regardless of which “Flex Steer” resistance setting you choose, the steering wheel remains a poor conduit of information between the driver and the front tires. Even so, the Soul steers predictably and corners with a level confidence unseen in the old Soul, which tended to skitter over less than pristine roadways. Acceleration is merely adequate when overtaking traffic or merging on the freeway, even with the more powerful 2.0-liter engine, making the Soul feel better suited to urban adventures than highway excursions.

PANORAMIC SUNROOF
For most situations, the quickest way to add fun is to add sun. That’s why we dig the positively-huge, optional panoramic sunroof. Just as important, the sunroof includes a totally opaque sunscreen, for when you need a little privacy or just want to cool down.

VENTILATED FRONT SEATS
A sweat-free posterior is a wonderful thing. How cool is it, then, that the glorious comfort of ventilated front seats is available in the Kia Soul – a car with a sub-$16,000 base price? Sure, the ventilated seats cost extra but man – are they worth it.

2014 Kia Soul Details
2014 Kia Soul photo Interior

The Kia's interior hasn’t grown by much, but passenger space was never really a Soul shortcoming – material quality is what needed improving. For 2014, that’s exactly where Kia focused their efforts. Feel your way through the interior and you’ll notice softer surfaces, more comfortable seats and window switches that operate with a decidedly un-cheap feel. Besides feeling better, the cabin also looks better with an expressive, upscale design that refines the previous car’s circular theme. With a 24.2 cubic foot cargo area, expandable via split/fold-down seats, the Kia Soul is a surprisingly adept cargo carrier.

Exterior
2014 Kia Soul photo

From some angles the new Kia Soul looks a lot like the old Kia Soul, but that’s ok, we liked the original design. The new car retains what we liked, just in modernized fashion. The Soul’s tall profile isn’t strictly about fashion, it’s also about function. Along with abundant head and luggage space, the high roof allows for raised seating positions, providing good visibility for all inside. Offered in a variety of fun colors the top-line Exclaim (!) trim is distinguished by body-color bumper accents and 18-inch wheels, while 16- and 17-inch units come fitted on the base and Plus (+) trims respectively.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Buy a base level Kia Soul and you’ll be treated to a 6-speaker audio system with USB and auxiliary inputs, power windows, mirrors and door locks, Bluetooth, air conditioning and a 6-speed manual transmission. Cloth seats come standard as do 60/40 split folding rear seats, but a nifty rear center armrest is optional on the base trim. On the safety front, the Kia Soul boasts six airbags, stability and traction control and, for all the Soul fans in San Francisco, hill-start assist.

Optional Equipment

If you’re willing to throw extra funds at your Soul, there are plenty of enticing options to choose from. Standouts include heated and ventilated leather seats, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, push-button engine start/stop, automatic climate control, and a backup camera. Those purchasing a mid- or top-level Soul can add a package that bundles an Infinity premium audio system with an intuitive navigation system featuring an 8-inch capacitive touch screen.

Under the Hood

The 4-cylinder engines of the previous Kia Soul carry over to the 2014 model and include a 1.6-liter in the base trim and a 2.0-liter for the higher Plus and Exclaim trims. Maximum horsepower for the 2.0-liter engine remains flat at 164, while the base 1.6-liter actually loses eight horsepower in the model changeover. Those underwhelming peak numbers resulted from a tuning effort that increased torque in each engine’s lower rpm range. Having driving the 2.0-liter we can say that it’s still no rocket ship, but at maximum acceleration the engine did seem less buzzy and strained. Handling gearchange duties are a 6-speed automatic and a 6-speed manual that’s only offered with the base engine.

1.6-liter inline-4
130 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm
118 lb-ft of torque @ 4,850 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: NA mpg (manual), NA mpg (automatic)

2.0-liter inline-4
164 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm
151 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: NA mpg (automatic)

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2014 Kia Soul Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.0
Out of 10

Based on 67 Ratings for the 2014 - 2016 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.0/10
    Quality
    8.9/10
  • Reliability
    9.3/10
    Performance
    8.9/10
  • Comfort
    9.2/10
    Styling
    9.0/10

bargain for the price

By on Friday, July 22, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "hard to beat all around driving experience"

Cons: "none"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Roomy, well positioned instruments. Easy to read gauges. Great economy, 29 city, 34 highway. Comfortable seats on long trips. Visibility excellent. Does drive a little stiff, but expected that due to short wheelbase. Rear storage dividers ideal for grocery items. Kudos to just an all around wonderful commuter car. No negative remarks during its first year. Door entry to cabin roomy, with wide opening doors front and rear. Exceptional head room for a 6 ft plus person"

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

I love my 2016 Caribbean Blue Soul!

By on Saturday, June 11, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 600

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Comfortable, Spacious, Fun to drive"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I recently bought a 2016 Kia Soul Plus. Originally I was going to get it in Shadow Black, but I saw the Caribbean Blue and fell in love with the color. It is very spacious inside where you can have multiple passengers and not feel like you are sitting on top of each other. Smooth driving and handles very nicely. With the radio it is a touch screen which is very cool. I am looking forward to having many adventures in my Soul!"

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Awesome little car

By on Monday, May 9, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,900

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "great price, great mpg, performs well"

Cons: "no auto headlights, small middle seat,"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I am not a fan of compact cars but I love this car. i have put 8,000 it miles on it in 7 months and i have never had any problems with it. it gets great mpg without the Eco on. when the Eco is on it lacks power but when it is off it preforms well for a tiny engine. The only thing i dont like is the fact that there is no option for auto headlights."

1 person out of 4 found this review helpful

One of the best so far...

By on Monday, May 2, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,543

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Fun to druve always looking for a reason to drive"

Cons: "none at this time"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Ive only had this car a few months, and was a little skeptical even at the car lot that was until I actually drove it !! What a great vehicle and great gas mileage.. Very impressed so far.."

5 people out of 11 found this review helpful

Worth Every Penny

By on Saturday, April 9, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,300

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Fully Loaded the car is extremely inexpensive."

Cons: "The Recalls"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"The only negative attached to this car is the recall notices (4). The Dealer addresses the problem in a professional manner, and is always polite and apologetic for the inconvenience. The reason I graded reliability and quality lower than the other grades is the recall issue."

3 people out of 11 found this review helpful

Should of bought a FORD

By on Tuesday, March 15, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 19,000

10 1.0
overall rating 1 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
1/10
Value
2/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
3/10
Comfort
5/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"Was in the shop after owning for 3 days because it wouldn't start in cold weather. Lost count of number of recalls. Only good thing was gas mileage which isn't as great lately. Not sure if it vehicle or gas blend."

6 people out of 13 found this review helpful

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