Kia Soul hatchback
Price £12,800 - £29,995
- Bold styling
- Well equipped
- Spacious interior
- Noisy engines
- Too expensive to run
- Top trim levels too pricey
At a glance
"The Kia Soul is a roomy crossover with a classy interior, but its inefficient engines make it expensive to run."
The Kia Soul has grown up for 2014: it's taller, wider and longer than before. It's very roomy inside, offering passengers plenty of headroom and a more upmarket feel than some of its main rivals. Ride comfort has been improved, too – it now smooths out the bumps better than before.
Despite its light steering, which leaves you feeling disconnected from what the front wheels are doing, the Soul drives well, with lots of grip and not too much body lean in corners for a car this tall.
Though the Soul's engines are powerful, they're also far too thirsty. Rivals like the Peugeot 2008, Renault Captur and Nissan Juke offer similarly chunky looks with city-car running costs, but the Soul can be as expensive to run as a full-size SUV or sporty hot hatch, with the range-topping petrol engine managing just 38.7mpg. The electric model, the Kia Soul EV, does offer significantly lower running costs, however – albeit for a higher purchase price.
These failings make the Soul hard to recommend in such a fiercely competitive class. The Citroen C4 Cactus looks funkier, plus it's more comfortable, better suited to families and much cheaper to run. If you want a sportier crossover, both the 2008 and Juke have sharper styling and are more fun to drive.
The Kia's trim levels are Start, Connect, Connect Plus, Mixx and Maxx. All trims offer great value when it comes to equipment, but Connect Plus is our top choice, combining an excellent amount of kit with a comfortable ride – higher spec levels have bigger wheels that worsen the ride quality.
Prices start at just over £12,500 for the petrol-engined model in entry-level Start trim, with each subsequent increase in trim level adding around £2,000 to the cost. The Soul EV, meanwhile, weighs in at just under £25,000 – almost twice as much as the cheapest model (before the Government's £5,000 electric vehicle grant is applied).
Poor fuel economy and high road tax might put you off the Kia Soul
Plenty of power and grip, but inert steering and too much noise spoils the Kia Soul
The Kia Soul has an upmarket interior with lots of equipment
Plenty of head and legroom in the Kia Soul, plus lots of storage cubbies
The Kia Soul has a long warranty and lots of standard safety kit