In 2014 the Kia Soul was completely redesigned. The 2015 model added a few technology improvements, but the vehicle is basically the same.
However, in the fourth quarter of this year a new optional package called Caribbean Blue Special will be introduced. The exterior will be Caribbean Blue, with blue cloth seat inserts, blue interior door panels, and blue center console accent. The 18-inch alloy wheels, and a new audio system with navigation and rear camera will also be part of the package.
Also in 2015 there will be a Red Zone 2.0 Special Edition optional package. It comes with black and red trim inserts in the grille, side skirts, and lower valance. Wheels, headlights, and interior trim will also be changed. I suggest you check the Kia website, as I did for more information.
Other than these, an Enhancement Package is also mentioned. Yet my focus will be on the 2015 Kia Soul as it is today.
There are three trim levels to choose from: Base, + (Plus), and ! (Exclaim), with the Exclaim being the most expensive and my test vehicle trim. The Exclaim trim comes with 18-inch alloy wheels by default.
The Soul Exclaim has a 2.0 L gas direct injection (GDI) inline-4 engine mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission with Active Eco System, and is controlled through electric power steering.
The EPA fuel economy is 23 mpg city and 31 mpg highway, but with modest driving on both type roads, I averaged 33 mpg.
For just over $20,000 I found you could get a fine quality, dependable small car that was extraordinarily safe. Tire-Pressure Monitoring, Hill-Start Assist Control, Vehicle Stability Management, Electronic Stability Control, and Electronic Brake-Force Distribution are a few of those safety items.
The interior is airy with comfortable seats and easily reachable tech controls, while providing great visibility all-around.
Even though the Soul had power windows and door locks and excellent air conditioning, the absolutely best feature was the UVO infotainment system with eServices, telematics with camera display. The rear camera provided a pristine view. The colors were clear and objects easily discernible, especially at night, but even in bright sunlight reflecting off the screen the images were remarkable. This was true even when I wore sunglasses.
Superb exterior nighttime visibility is provided by auto-on/off headlights and taillights and accompanying fog lights, and at the same time your presence is emphasized by the LED positioning lights. Even the power heated outside mirrors with turn signal indicators added to the “clear night” ensemble.
There were two notable optional packages for about $2,500 each. The Sun & Sound Package offers items like Panoramic Sunroof, Infinity Audio System, voice-command navigation with 8-inch display, and UVO infotainment system. The Whole Shabang Package came with leather interior, heated everything that could be seen or felt, HID headlights, individual-type front LED positioning lights, Supervisor Meter Cluster, push-button start, and power seats.
As mentioned earlier, the Kia Soul! (Exclaim) is priced at just over $20,000. I wouldn’t really recommend the optional packages unless you really want to spend a little more money.
Soul is absolutely perfect for the first-time car buyer, a small family, or an old guy like me that can use a little excitement. It was a tremendous joy to drive and more fun than kissing my sweetheart on a cold night. Well, nearly as much fun.
The car’s 5-star safety rating in overall vehicle safety from the government just adds to the good feeling you get with the purchase.
The Soul wasn’t a racecar on the freeway. It took a little time to get up to speed, but not enough of a problem to erase the 33 mpg from memory. Give me mileage rather than torque almost any time.
My wife drove a new expensive SUV the week I had the Soul. She kept wanting to trade cars. No way! Not when an old guy like me can enjoy comfort and style and be “Cool,” all at the same time.
5-year/60,000-mile Limited Basic Warranty
10-year/100,000-mile Limited Powertrain Warranty
5-year/60,000-mile Roadside Assistance
Durhl Caussey writes a car column read around the world. He may be reached at this newspaper or firstname.lastname@example.org