Kia Soul review
The Kia Soul supermini MPV remains a niche choice, despite a facelift in 2011
The Kia Soul aims to deliver something different, with a mix of supermini size, chunky SUV looks and MPV practicality. It's not particularly convincing in any area which means it remains a niche choice. Buyers can choose between a 1.6-litre petrol and a 1.6-litre diesel, and while performance is similar between the two, each have their benefits. The petrol for instance, is quicker and more refined, while the diesel offers lower running costs. No matter which model you pick, you'll no doubt notice the stiff suspension which is good for handling but can make for slightly uncomfortable progress.
Our choice: Soul 1.6 CRDi 2
The Soul is a real mix, with elements of supermini and some of MPV. Its high-riding stance is good for visibility but the chunky styling won't be to everyone's tastes. A facelift in 2011 saw a redesigned bumper, LED daytime running lights and a fresh rear end added, but the looks are still just as divisive.
Kia offers the Soul with a 1.6-litre petrol engine or a 1.6-litre turbodiesel. Both units offer similar performance with the 138bhp petrol accelerating from 0-60mph in 10 seconds and the 126bhp diesel taking just 0.3 seconds longer. Buyers will notice the Soul is quite firmly sprung, which can make for an uncomfortable ride over most surfaces. On the plus side, it does mean the handling is surprisingly sharp.
Kias have a good reputation for reliability these days and all new models come with a seven-year warranty as standard which will no doubt put buyers minds at ease. The cabin feels quite well screwed together but a few of the materials – like the plastics of the dashboard – feel quite low quality.
With its high roof-line the Soul actually boasts a very spacious cabin. Rear leg-room is generous and tall passengers will find themselves with plenty of head room too. In the boot there's 340-litres of space but the rear seats fold down to liberate more room if it's needed.
The diesel is the most frugal choice with CO2 emissions of 129g/km and fuel economy of 57.3mpg. The petrol, on the other hand, will be more costly to run thanks to its CO2 emissions of 149g/km and economy of 44.1mpg.