Subcompact car; Built in
  • 4-door wagon
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $11,000 – $18,500*


2014 Kia Soul


2014 Kia Soul


2014 Kia Soul


2014 Kia Soul

Pros:
  • Interior materials
  • Passenger and cargo room
Cons:
  • Fuel economy trails class leaders
  • Refinement (engine and transmission)

I find that every time I settle into a Kia Soul (or Nissan Cube, or, to a lesser extent, the Scion xB), I wonder why every car isn’t basically a box on wheels. There’s really no better way to squeeze more passenger and stuff space into a given amount of space. I suppose this is the basic principle behind the minivan—though credit Kia for delivering a product far more charming than the average van.

Overview

The Soul was a subcompact crossover wagon-type vehicle from this South Korean brand. It competed with other wagons and hatchbacks in the subcompact-car class. Its main competitors were other boxy, wagon-type vehicles such as the Honda Fit, Nissan Cube, and Scion xB.

While at a glance, the 2014 Soul didn’t look all that different than the 2013 model, it actually was an all-new design. The new platform was 0.6 inches wider than before and it rode a wheelbase that’s almost an inch longer. According to the company, these changes helped increase passenger and cargo room.

The company also claimed the Soul’s chassis was 30 percent stiffer than the one used on the outgoing model. To that end, the Soul had an upgraded suspension and a switch that allowed the driver to tune the steering weight to their liking in three different modes: Comfort, Normal, and Sport. Also, the Soul got a display screen in the instrument cluster and a touchscreen in the middle of the dash for infotainment and navigation functions.

The Kia Soul Base model used a 130-horsepower 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine paired with either a 6-speed manual transmission or a 6-speed automatic. Plus and Exclaim models used a 164-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder and an automatic transmission. The company said both engines had been re-tuned to deliver more low-end torque. Also, the 2.0-liter engine added direct fuel injection. An engine idle-stop system–which shut off the engine when the vehicle was stopped to save fuel–was available on the Base and Plus models.

The Kia Soul came with all expected and federally mandated safety features including ABS, traction control, antiskid system, front-side airbags, and curtain-side airbags.

Yearly Updates

2014 Soul

Engines

transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

The Kia Soul Base model used a 130-horsepower 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine paired with either a 6-speed manual transmission or a 6-speed automatic. Plus and Exclaim models used a 164-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder and an automatic transmission. The company said both engines have been re-tuned to deliver more low-end torque. Also, the 2.0-liter engine added direct fuel injection. An engine idle-stop system–which shut off the engine when the vehicle was stopped to save fuel–was available on the Base and Plus models.

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 1.6/98
Engine HP 130
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 118
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual
6-speed automatic
24/30
24/31
dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.0/122
Engine HP 164
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 151
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed automatic

23/31

23

Road Test

The Soul ! has a standard 164-horsepower 4-cylinder engine and 6-speed automatic transmission. They deliver performance gutty enough for most driving situations. There’s even enough power for mostly effortless merging and passing maneuvers. But working this engine hard means listening to a fair amount of groaning from under the hood, and that can get old pretty quickly. In CG’s tests of previous-generation Souls with this powerteam, it noted that one occasionally clunked when upshifting at low speed; it seemed to this driver that was a fault that persists.

The 1.6-liter Soul automatic rates 24 mpg city/31mpg highway.

The ! with 2.0-liter engine and automatic gets 23/31. In a run of 152.3 miles, with 58 percent of miles under city driving conditions, the ! averaged 23 mpg on the head.

The tighter platform and suspension modifications that Kia has made for the 2014 Soul result in a comfortable-riding and easy-handling vehicle. With a wheelbase now in excess of 101 inches, the ’14 Soul does a fair job of avoiding unpleasant hip/hops over road imperfections and cornering lean is well managed.

Soul’s driving character is quite refined for its small size. The steering is fantastic; it’s very communicative, and it has a smooth, sophisticated feel that’s rare in this class.

Our tester was quiet, with little road or wind noise making itself heard. However, the engine was loud during acceleration.

Controls are relatively close at hand for the driver. The ! that we tested included the optional navigation system with an 8-inch display screen in the center of the dash that also absorbed the logically programmable audio controls. Climate controls reside below the screen. A central rotary dial sets the temperature, but it is flanked by buttons for other HVAC functions. At least they’re big buttons. The top model’s standard leather-wrapped steering wheel is chock full of thumb buttons for control of audio and other functions. Dials are well-placed and legible, and centrally located graphic vehicle-information display included with the optional “Whole Shabang Package” (yup, its real name) shows up well.

Interior materials make the Soul feel a bit more upmarket. Soft-touch surfaces with “give” cover the dash and door panels. The optional leather upholstery in the test car had a rich look and feel—and the front seats and outboard rear seats were heated, another Whole Shabang goodie.

Up front, Soul boasts ample headroom and legroom for most adults. The seats are comfortable and offer decent support. There is good visibility forward and directly to the rear. Large rear roof pillars hamper the view to the rear corners, and the generous side mirrors only help somewhat. Tall doors and a high seating position make for easy entry and exit.

There’s decent adult-friendly leg room in the outboard rear seats, and doors open wide enough for uncomplicated entry and exit. Three-across seating, while possible, is probably best realized with a trio not yet old enough to vote.

There’s good flat-floored, covered cargo space in back. Split-folding second-row seatbacks don’t fold completely flat, but they still open up lots more space when tipped. Front-of-the-cabin storage includes a couple of cup holders in the center console and a deep covered box that doubles as an arm rest. Rear-seaters can pull down a center arm rest that houses a pair of cup holders.

Ratings

Model Tested: 2014 Soul !

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 5
50%
Fuel Economy - 6
60%
Ride Quality - 5
50%
Steering/Handling - 6
60%
Quietness - 5
50%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 7
70%
Room/Comfort Front - 7
70%
Room/Comfort Rear - 6
60%
Cargo Room - 8
80%

Other

Value - 8
80%

Total: 63

Specifications

4-door wagon
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
101.2 163.0 70.9 63.4
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
61.3 14.2 5.0
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.6 39.5 42.9 39.1
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2014 Soul 4-door wagon

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Front Passenger Injury - 4
80%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Rear Passenger Injury - 5
100%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Engine misfire
Description: Crankshaft Position Sensor (CKP) may cause engine misfire.

Recall History

2014 Soul
Description: The steering pinion gear may separate from the steering gear assembly and cause loss of steering.
2014 Soul
Description: The accelerator pedal may bend or fracture, making it hard for the driver to control acceleration.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.