This car has nearly every option one could want in a daily commuter, which is something that Kia is getting good at. The heated (and cooled!) seats are comfy and warm up quick. The heated steering wheel is a bonus that you don’t think you need, until you try it, and then it becomes a necessity. The satellite radio/navigation system is easy to use and it hooked up to my Apple iPhone right away.
Power from the 2.0-liter is good. It’s tuned for quick takeoffs, which I like, and it revs high, which I also like. I do wonder how close you could get to that 31 mpg, with all that redlining. The transmission jumps around a bit, almost any movement on the pedal will bring a downshift, but again, it makes it feel quicker, so that’s OK.
As far as the look goes, you’re either in or out. No half steppin’. Personally I’m not a fan, but I like that quirky cars like this exist. In a regular color like black it may look less…weird.
Utility is good. Tall stuff can go in the far back; the seats can fold down for oddly shaped stuff.
ASSOCIATE EDITOR GRAHAM KOZAK: The 2015 Kia Soul isn’t a performance car, but it’s a car I could live with more or less happily. On the surface, it’s a funky cruiser that comes off as different for the sake of being different. But if you look past the weird paint colors you’ll find a very cleverly designed vehicle inside and out.
The recent refresh, though minor, tightened things up considerably. I enjoy, for example, the new tailgate treatment, which adds a bit of black trim that contrasts nicely with the primary paint color. It’s a minor thing, but it works for me.
Per Jake, you can take or leave the boxy exterior. But I think everyone should take a moment to appreciate the thought that went into the interior. It’s not just the ample features, like heated and cooled seats and a slick infotainment system. It’s the good use of materials and clean, taut and cohesive styling throughout.
The steering wheel, to focus on one element, combines four different materials (textured plastic, matte plastic, piano black-style plastic and leather) and it does so without coming off as busy. Door panels are sculpted to echo the circular theme
Why I am mentioning any of this? Because so many interiors seem thoughtless, almost accidental, even on cars costing six figures, and this is the second time I’ve found myself impressed with Kia’s efforts in the past month or so.
Despite suspension and ride improvements, which do a fair amount to make this generation of the Soul feel less tippy, this isn’t much of a driver. The powertrain is ho-hum -- functional, probably bulletproof and quick on the takeoff, but nothing special -- and the steering still has a lot of numbness and deadness around the center. For Kia’s sake I hope that the brakes on this Soul have been utterly smoked by 6,400 miles of irresponsible car-writer driver, because they were scarily squishy.
But brakes aside, these are enthusiast quibbles, and the other amenities I mentioned do a lot to make the $26,715 price tag -- which is admittedly high for a car that starts at around $16,000 -- seem a lot less eyebrow-raising.
Options: Sun & sound package including automatic climate control, panoramic sunroof with power sunshade, navigation with 8-inch screen & Sirius traffic, infinity audio system, speaker lights ($2,600); the whole shabang package including HID low-beam headlight, push button start w/ smart key, leather seat trim, heated & ventilated front seats, heated rear outboard seats, heated steering wheel, supervision meter cluster w/4.3-inch color LCD, engine immobilizer ($2,500); carpeted floor mats ($115),
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