The Kia Soul is quickly becoming a staple in the U.S. auto marketplace.
With its quirky Hamster ads, its zippy appeal and it easy entry price, the Kia Soul has made an impressive impact on the U.S. car-buying public. Since first being introduced to U.S. car buyers in 2010, the Kia Soul has taken square aim at the youth market, with tech upgrades and design features added each year to appeal to first-time car buyers and younger drivers. Kia has progressively improved the safety features of the Soul each year to reassure the parents of these younger drivers/owners and to acknowledge and accommodate the fact that the car is popular in urban settings.
Through the end of July 2014, the Kia Soul was ranked 27th overall for all makes, models and styles of cars sold in the U.S., making it Kia’s second-best seller (just behind its Optima.)
If you’ve been considering a fun, compact with increasingly reliable performance specs, take a look at our update of the 2014 Kia Soul:
A 2014 Kia Soul overview
For 2014, Kia made a number of important upgrades and modification to the Soul. It’s still a four-door hatchback with seating for five (some ads and dealers call this a five-door given the hatchback) and it's available in three trim levels:
- Kia Soul Base
- Kia Soul+ (sometimes spelled out as Plus)
- Kia Soul! (sometimes spelled out as Exclaim)
The base model's standard equipment includes 16-inch steel wheels, hill-start assist, rear privacy glass, full power accessories, power-heated side mirrors, air-conditioning, a height-adjustable driver seat, cloth upholstery, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel (with audio controls), a 60/40-split-folding rear seat, Bluetooth phone connectivity and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB audio interface.
The Soul+ adds a more powerful engine, 17-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry, cruise control, front seat center console storage with an armrest and a fold-down rear-seat armrest. (There are several additional option packages to choose from within the Soul+ line.)
The Soul! builds on the Soul+ model's standard equipment and adds 18-inch wheels, body-colored bumpers, LED daytime running lights, upgraded headlights, fog lights, power-folding side mirrors, the 10-way power driver seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a cooled glove box and all the items in the Soul+ upgraded Uvo eServices package as standard.
All 2014 Kia Souls are built around a front-wheel drive train, but there are two engine options. The Soul Base comes with a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine delivering 130-hp and 118 pound-feet of torque. The Base comes with a six-speed, manual transmission standard that includes a hill-start assist function. You can opt for a six-speed automatic for a little more money on the Base.
Soul+ and Soul! models come with a slightly beefier 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that delivers a quick and rather impressive 164-hp and 151 pound-feet of torque. These 2.0L engines are only available with the six-speed automatic transmission driving them.
As fun as these cars are to drive, they also are attractive for the economy they deliver (both in fuel use and in comparably lower costs for maintenance.)
The Kia Base with the 1.6-liter engine will get you 24-mpg in the city and 30-mpg on the highway. EPA offers these estimates for both the automatic and the manual transmission options with this engine, though a number of car reviewers will tell you they have a difficult time achieving the maximum fuel efficiency in the automatic transmission versions of this model.
If you opt for the more powerful Soul+ or Soul! models with the 2.0-liter engines, you’ll see the impact a bit on your fuel economy. Expect to get 23-mpg in the city and 31-mpg on the highway. One of the refined option packages you can get with the Soul+ models is the Eco Package that emphasizes better fuel usage. With that option package, you may enjoy 25-mpg in the city and 34-mpg highway.
With a big part of its buyer-base made up of younger drivers, safety is an important element in the continued upgrading of the Kia Soul. Standard safety equipment for all 2014 Kia Soul models includes four-wheel antilock disc brakes, hill-start assist (for the standard transmission), stability control, traction control, front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags and active front head restraints. A rearview camera is a standard feature that comes with the Soul! models. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) awarded the 2014 Kia Soul all five stars in its annual crash test results, with a full five stars for total frontal impact safety and total side-impact crash safety.
One of the benefits of the Soul's boxy design is that for a smaller car, it has some impressive dimensions for both headroom and legroom. While some skeptics may scoff at Kia claiming that these little boxes can seat five, they actually can!
Behind the rear seatbacks you'll find 19 cubic feet of cargo room, which grows to 61 cubic feet with both sections of the 60/40-split rear seatbacks folded down. This is a notably greater amount of storage and cargo space than most of Kia’s competitors in this niche.
Prices, warranties and value
One of the attractions of the Kia Soul has been its consistent affordability. It’s an attractive first car for many drivers. While what you pay specifically in your area for a Kia Soul will depend on the full range of options you choose, the deals and incentive your particular dealer may be able to offer you, and the vagaries of market forces, here are the starting MSRPs for the 2014 Kia Souls:
- Kia Soul Base -- $15,695
- Kia Soul Base w/Automatic Transmission -- $17,495
- Kia Soul+ -- $18,995
- Kia Soul! -- $21,095
Kia goes several extra miles when it comes to warranties covering all of its models, including the Soul. In fact, every 2014 Kia Soul is protected by an industry-leading 10-and-10 warranty. Buy a 2014 Kia Soul and you’ll get:
- 10-year/100,000 mile limited powertrain warranty
- 5-year/60,000 mile limited bumper-to-bumper warranty
- 5-year/100,000 mile limited anti-perforation warranty
- 5-year/60,000 mile roadside assistance coverage
In addition to being affordable to buy, reasonable to maintain and well protected with this warranty package, the Kia Soul could actually be a great investment in transportation for you. A number of organizations, including Consumer Reports and Consumer Digest rank the Kia Soul high in terms of cars that hold their value. In fact, the 2014 Kia Soul was the top-ranked car for holding its value (in resale, private sale and trade in value) in the category of Subcompact Utility Vehicle by Consumer Reports.
If your family has a newer driver about to hit the road or a college student that will need a reliable car to head off to campus with, the Kia Soul may be a good choice. You may also want to take a look at the Soul if you’re in the market for a peppy, smaller car to nimbly zip around an urban setting without sacrificing too much on space for you or a few groceries. The best way to know for sure is to take a test drive. Let Reply! help connect you to local Kia dealers eager to take you for a spin and offer you some great yearend deals.