Find Your Credit Union

Kia Delivers a New Soul

By Sue Mead, November 9th, 2013

How do you re-invent an icon that's as successful as the Kia Soul? The task for Kia when developing the second-generation 2014 Soul was to stay true to the original design elements and let the stylists give it a fresh take inside and out, and charge its engineers with improving the driving dynamics.

Manufacturer photo: The all-new Soul displays its own individuality through a blend of funky, fun-to-drive characteristics and premium upgrades intended to set it apart from the pack
Manufacturer photo: The all-new Soul displays its own individuality through a blend of funky, fun-to-drive characteristics and premium upgrades intended to set it apart from the pack

We just drove the new 2014 Soul in Minneapolis, chosen by Kia for this introduction because it is one of the "nicest cities in America and the third-best city for Gen Y," which is one important segment of Soul's buyers. After a full day of motoring the updated model in both urban traffic and rural roadways we say: Mission accomplished, Kia.

The base model starts at $14,700, followed $18,200 for the Soul Plus and $20,300 for the Soul Exclaim. It competes with compact and midsize cars and crossovers including the Scion xB, Nissan Cube, Nissan Juke, MINI Countryman, Ford Focus and Fiat 500 L, among others. Kia says an electric Soul model will also be available next year.

strong>There are two 4-cylinder engine options: a 1.6-liter with 130 horsepower and 118 lb.-ft. of torque (slightly less than before) and a 2.0-liter that delivers 164 horsepower and 151 lb.-ft. of torque, which is up over the previous generation model. A six-speed manual and a six-speed automatic are available on the smaller engine, while the bigger engine comes with an auto transmission only.

Our tester was the Soul Plus model with the larger engine and the automatic transmission. The compact's new platform and powertrain upgrades bring improved handling and performance. Noteworthy are the improved ride with better steering response, the upgraded suspension that aids better in tracking, better braking and greater stability. During our day-long test drive, we experienced more tire and wind noise than anticipated, but the cabin is still fairly quiet. What is alluring is the overall package, price and frisky styling.

Manufacturer photo: The all-new Soul displays its own individuality through a blend of funky, fun-to-drive characteristics and premium upgrades intended to set it apart from the pack

At a quick glance, the all-new second-generation Soul looks a lot the same as the original, but the newest Soul is lower, longer and wider, with a freshened and more "wheel-centric" look outside. The new-gen Soul is even more upscale, with improved comfort, cargo-carrying room and added advanced technology inside.

The 2014 Kia Soul keeps its young and playful look, but its new platform is 28.7-percent stiffer and built with more high-strength steel. Soul keeps its upright and boxy, square shape with an angled roofline and side glass, but designers have rounded out the corners slightly. Up front is a new trapezoidal lower fascia with foglamps, which is a design cue that is replicated at the back end with reflectors on the rear bumper.

Inside, we took notice of updated materials throughout the cabin and improved seat comfort. Kia calls the Soul's interior working a "mobile gadget lab." There is a larger, clearer LDC display, Kia's new Android-based navigation system with an 8-inch touchscreen, and available Infinity audio, rear camera and a carry-over from the original Soul of door-trim speaker lights that pulse to the beat of music. Touch surfaces have been made more plush and there is new switchgear for audio and cruise control on the steering wheel that is more heavily weighted.

When the Soul was first introduced in 2009 Kia expected to up to 50,000 units annually. But the Soul, portrayed as a funky, urban runabout, has been wildly popular resulting in sales of 115,000. It is the second best-selling model in Kia's portfolio, followed by the Optima.


Base price $18,200 (as tested: $18,995)
Curb weight 2,837 lbs.
Displacement 2.0-liter
Epa mileage rating 23 mpg city, 31 mpg highway
Fuel capacity 14.2 gal.
Horsepower (net) 164 at 6200 rpm
Motor type 16-valve DOHC 4-cyl. w/GDI
Overall length 163.0 in.
Torque (lb.-ft.) 151 at 4000 rpm
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Vehicle type 5-passenger FWD compact hatch
Chevy Silverado: A Boss for the Trails


Chevy Silverado: A Boss for the Trails

Chevy is bullish on keeping its brand-loyal customers, plus trying to cull new buyers, so different trims have been designed to appeal to a wide variety of truck buyers who use their pickups for different jobs, such as work, play, and to ferry their family.

Volkswagen Jetta: All-New for 2019


Volkswagen Jetta: All-New for 2019

Volkswagen's 2019 Jetta arrives on a new platform to deliver a quiet and comfortable ride, as well as more interior room. But one of the best things about the new seventh-generation Jetta is that nearly every trim level costs less than the 2018 model -- and in some cases significantly less.

2019 Jaguar XF Sportbrake: Luxury Estate Wagon


2019 Jaguar XF Sportbrake: Luxury Estate Wagon

In the U.S., consumers don't really call a vehicle a "wagon" instead, such vehicles are called "utility vehicles," or "crossovers." Only Subaru and Volvo have managed to succeed with their wagons, which appeal to a niche audience seeking practical cargo and people carrying capacity.

Off Lease Vehicles

Hundreds of one owner, off-lease cars, trucks & SUVs with low mileage at a great price!

Additional Resources

Most Researched

2018 Honda Accord EX
EX 4dr Sedan
2018 Jeep Cherokee Latitude
Latitude 4dr SUV
2018 Audi A4 2.0T ultra Premium
2.0T ultra Premium 4dr Sedan
2018 Toyota RAV4 LE
LE 4dr SUV
2018 Ford F-250 Super Duty XL
4x4 XL 2dr Regular Cab 8 ft. LB Pickup