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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
9.1
Out of 10

Based on 57 Ratings for the 2014 - 2016 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.1/10
    Quality
    9.1/10
  • Reliability
    9.5/10
    Performance
    9.0/10
  • Comfort
    9.3/10
    Styling
    9.1/10

See Ya Kia

By on Tuesday, January 19, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,500

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
4/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "Side Profile, Large Rear Window"

Cons: "MPG suck, no cd player, no rear shelf, no gps"

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

"I decided to lease a 2015 Kia Soul and I am glad that I went with the leasing option! I’ve had this beast in my possession for a little over 6 months and if I could trade it in tomorrow, I would. I decided to go with the Soul for its rear window, for advertising purposes. But for the price, I’m kicking myself in the rump for not doing more research because this SUV is not worth it!!! First and foremost, when a manufacturer (KIA) has a dedicated spot on their website, basically admitting that they’re MPG suck nothing nice, red flag #1. And after driving it like a sports car for a couple of months, mainly city driving I’m able to get 25 MPG, FINALLY! Took about 3,000 miles or so because I was getting about 20 MPG for the longest. And for an SUV (my first time utilizing one) it’s to my understanding 25MPG isn’t all that bad. But what’s really bad, the lack of features for a 18,500.00+ car! What’s the point of installing a touch display without having a GPS? There’s no oil light indicator, no CD player, and the base model came without a trunk cover, shelf so all the things in the back are exposed. And I’m sure there are other rifts that I can’t think of off the top of my head. Yeah, the only thing KIA SOUL has going got it, its side profile and its large rear window. Other than that, it’s truly nothing special and I would urge folks to do some research before purchasing one as you can probably find similar for the same price with more bells and whistles if you will. Come time to return the beast, long ways away, I can say that I have no desire to buy or lease another KIA or will I. Plus, there’s already been a safety recall for the 2015 model and if I had to guess there will be more to come. In advance, See Ya Kia!"

2 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Really Comfortable Car

By on Thursday, December 24, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,300

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
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Great price fun to drive and again COMFORTABLE"

Cons: "Cruise control only thing that I can see NOW ??"

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

"I do a lot of Highway driving And this car really comfortable I test drove a few others Rav 4,CX 5 well you get the Idea and None of them was as comfortable as this Plenty of room in the front seat For me I m a big Guy 6 ft 285 and I need the comfort FEELS like a much bigger car inside. The only thing that I have a problem with is the Cruise control @ 65 MPH seems to idle high at times So I just set the cruise a little higher like 68 or 70 MPH and.Then its fine Problem solved. And it has a lot of options that I saw on a lot more expensive Autos Love this on so far and the PRICE was great very affordable didn t break the Bank Hope this was of some help to anyone thinking about his Car I gave 10 stars ********** Test drive it You wont be disappointed at all.."

6 people out of 7 found this review helpful

easy to get around in roomy in side

By on Sunday, October 25, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "tight manurability"

Cons: "Needs more room between cup holders in front"

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

"Class A+ car for the money. Easy to get around in town. Plenty of power to keep me out of trouble Comfortable for me on trips, I get approx. 35 mph from Phoenix to Denver and back so I'm happy with 25mph or so in town driving. it keeps me happy and no complaints"

12 people out of 18 found this review helpful

It is the red zone and it stands out

By on Sunday, October 18, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 7,800

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "See below"

Cons: "Gas mileage"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

The red zone 2014

"GAS MILEAGE!!!!!!!! We get 21 to 23 in town and 27 on the highway. Lots of wind noise that the dealer says is normal?? Otherwise a great car and lots of room."

8 people out of 10 found this review helpful

The red zone 2014

Rented one for a week and ended up buying one!

By on Wednesday, September 30, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Smooth solid ride like a big SUV, 33 mpg so far."

Cons: "Could use a few more horsepower on the inclines"

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

"So far so good, traded in My Mazda and was surprised how much fun the Soul was to drive. I was out in the KC area and rented one for a week. When I got home my car was not as fun to drive, so I went and bought a new 2016 Soul. I wanted the 2.0 engine but got a better deal on the 1.6. Plenty of pep except very steep hills, then the RPMs head up to the 3000/4000 range. Overall, lots of fun to drive. Love the room in the back and even more when you fold down the rear seats. Rides high and well like a Rav 4 or CRV but costs 8K less. Have been averaging about 33 mpg if I keep the RPMs at 2K. Very smooth and solid ride, looking forward to taking a road trip in my new Titanium Grey Soul."

15 people out of 20 found this review helpful

Very great car

By on Sunday, September 27, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 21,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "A very stable car on the road."

Cons: "Gas mileage in town is 27 MPG"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5

"Generally, I am very happy I bought my soul. I have one very noticable problem as I brake. The front brakes do far too much braking which causes nose dive which is very noticable at slower speeds. This doesn't mean that the car doesn't stop well. It does but during one panic breaking session the front brakes locked up but the rear brakes didn't. Also, another problem happens when I am going slow and and the car is turning. When I try to accellerate some the car is slow to pick up, so slow that even pushing the pedal to the floor doesn't help until the car decides it wants to pick up and go faster which is a few seconds delay. This is a very frustrating problem. And of course it is a problem that doesn't happen every time so the dealer doesn't know what to do as it doesn't happen when he tries it."

7 people out of 13 found this review helpful

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