- Unique styling
- Excellent interior
- Generous equipment
- Not the most refined ride
- Unexciting driving experience
- Uneconomical engines
Stylish and practical crossover
The Kia Soul, when it was first introduced in 2008, shocked the motoring world with its unique boxy styling. Designed to compete in the ever-growing crossover market, the Soul finds itself up against some tough competition, with the Nissan Juke and the Renault Captur both being impressive alternative. The Kia Soul offers buyers excellent interior and boot space, and generous equipment, and whilst the engines aren’t the best in the class, it still represents excellent value for money.
An update in 2014 toned down the boxy styling, and increased storage space.
Upmarket feeling roomy interior, and impressive storage capability
Whilst the old Kia Soul was let down a little bit by interior quality, the latest Soul offers one of the classiest interiors in the crossover class. There’s also lots of boot space, and plenty of standard equipment.
The dashboard design of the Soul is one of the most modern and contemporary available in the compact crossover class. It really does look impressive, and it has the build quality to match. Controls are well-damped and easy to use, and there’s lots of soft-touch materials on the top of the dashboard. There’s some cheaper-feeling plastics lower down, but it’s still mightily impressive. Few buyers are going to be disappointed when they step into the Soul.
Another area in which the Soul impresses is in its storage space. It’s not the biggest boot in its class, but with 354 litres on offer, there’s more than enough room for a few suitcases. It’s also easy to get heavy items in and out thanks to a low load lip. Unfortunately, the rear seats don’t fall completely flat however, so the extended storage isn’t quite as impressive as you’d find in a Renault Captur.
Equipment levels in the Soul are generous no matter which spec you go for. The entry-level Start spec comes with air-con, electric windows, and a DAB radio, but the best value in the range is to be had with the Connect Plus trim. This adds alloy wheels, a reversing camera, Bluetooth, climate control, and an excellent touchscreen infotainment system, that controls the sat-nav that is also part of the package.
The inside of the Soul really is impressive. It features an excellent interior design, durable build quality, a good-sized boot, and generous equipment. There’s very little to fault here.
Easy to drive, and reasonably refined
For such a tall car, the Kia Soul actually handles pretty well. It’s by no means a driver’s car, but there’s plenty of grip through the corners, and body roll is surprisingly kept in check, even on country roads. The Soul is let down by poor feedback from the steering however, so it’s not particularly fun to drive, but neither are most cars in its class.
Ride refinement is also pretty decent, though it’s far from being a class-leader. It handles normal road surfaces pretty well, but the worst of British roads can lead to a bumpy ride, especially when you hit nasty potholes or loose surfaces. Road and engine noise are quiet, even at motorway speeds, but wind noise is a little bit of an issue, mainly due to the Soul’s large door mirrors.
Gearbox options in the Soul come in two guises. The standard throughout the range is a six-speed manual transmission that’s positive and easy to use. The clutch however suffers from a vague biting point. There’s also an optional seven-speed DCT automatic that’s smooth and refined, but only available on more expensive models.
Not the most efficient, but there’s an excellent electric-only option
When it comes to deciding how you want to power your Soul, you’ve got three options. You’ve got the usual petrol and diesel engines, that feel a little bit dated, and aren’t the most efficient in the class, but the all-electric EV model is sure to attract eco-friendly city dwellers.
Petrolheads aren’t going to be impressed with the engines on offer in the Soul range. That’s because the Soul isn’t a car that’s designed to be particularly rapid. The most powerful engine in the range is the petrol-powered 1.6 litre GDi, which produces 130bhp, and will accelerate you from 0-62mph in 10.6 seconds. That doesn’t look great on paper, but it still feels nippy, and has enough flexibility to cope with motorways and country roads.
Eco-friendly buyers will be delighted to learn that there’s a full-electric version of the Soul. The EV model produces zero emissions, so it doesn’t harm the environment in any way whatsoever. It’s also road tax exempt, and it’ll get you into London without you having to pay the congestion charge. It is however quite expensive to buy in the first place, which may put some buyers off.
Money savers are best off going for the 1.6 diesel model, as it has relatively low CO2 emissions, and decent fuel economy. The figures of 128g/km of CO2, and 58.8mpg aren’t the most impressive in the class, but this engine is certainly the best value in the Soul range.
Whichever engine you choose to go for in your Soul will give you enough power to perform well day-to-day. Unfortunately, unless you go for the all-electric model, it’s not the cheapest car to run in the class. And with the electric model’s purchase price being so much more than other models, only the true eco-warriors will want to go for this version.
Four star NCAP, good standard safety kit
Unlike a lot of cars in its class, the Kia Soul failed to achieve the highest possible 5-star NCAP safety rating. It’s especially disappointing when you consider that the previous Soul managed this feat without too much hassle. With scores of 75% in adult safety, 82% in child safety, and 59% in pedestrian safety, the Soul is some way from matching the Renault Captur, and the Peugeot 2008. You will at least get six airbags, hill-start assist, and a tyre-pressure monitoring system, all as standard. That should go some way to putting minds at rest.
Good value for money, so long as you avoid the cost of new-car depreciation
The Kia Soul represent decent value for money for buyers, though it’s not the best value in its class. It may well be a little cheaper at purchase point, but day-to-day it’ll cost you more. The Nissan Juke offers lower road tax bands and better fuel efficiency, as does the Renault Captur. The Soul isn’t hugely expensive, but it’s worth checking out the specific figures for specific models, as you can get better value from equivalent competitors.
Insurance cost are however quite reasonable. This depends on which model you choose to go for, but generally speaking they are average for the class. The cheapest Soul to insure is the 1.6 GDi Start, which is in group 9, whilst the most expensive is the eco-friendly all-electric EV, which is in group 18. Electric model aside, no Soul exceeds group 11.
Depreciation is a large factor with the Soul, but only if you choose to buy from new. With first year depreciation as high as 40%, you’re better off opting for an inspected used equivalent.
The Kia Soul is a solid option to consider for your next compact crossover purchase. It’s not the class-leader, but it does offer a spacious interior, impressive boot space, and generous equipment levels. Poor NCAP results, unimpressive fuel efficiency, and average ride refinement may put some buyers off, but the all-electric version is sure to find some eco-friendly fans.
Buying a used Kia Soul online with Carspring
If you’re after a used Kia Soul for sale, it can all feel like a bit of an ordeal. What, with long days spent around gigantic car supermarkets, or time spent trawling through classified websites, looking for that ideal used Soul. Carspring makes it simple. Buy your next used Kia Soul online with the touch of a button. Simply decide on the model you want and choose how you want to pay.
Looking to finance your used Kia? Not a problem, we work with our carefully selected finance partners to ensure that, if you’re paying monthly for your used Kia Soul, you know you’re getting the best rates. What’s more, with any Carspring used Soul, you also get our 14-day money-back guarantee and 6 months’ free Carspring Warranty. Plus, you don’t have to leave your home. We’ll deliver your used Kia to you at a time and place of your choice.
*This is an approximate figure based on the range of the car’s list price and the AA’s average 1st-year depreciation cost of 40%.