The Soul is a short and tall car, so some body roll is to be expected when cornering fast, but in normal driving the Kia is pretty decent. The low-rolling resistance tyres aren’t grippy, but they are wide enough for safe, predictable handling.
A new engine joined the lineup in 2016. It’s a turbocharged version of the existing 1.6-litre petrol. Unfortunately, the rest of the range is pretty average falling behind the class leaders in terms of running costs. If you’re unsure whether to go for the automatic – do it, because it’s a dual-clutch unit, meaning fast gear changes and effortless driving.
You need to rev the life out of the basic 1.6-litre to extract its 0-62mph time of 10.6 seconds. It’s a pretty old-school engine where power comes from revs so, to put it mildly, running costs aren’t competitive – the 1.6-litre has an average fuel consumption of 41mpg, 17mpg off a petrol Peugeot 2008 with the same power. CO2 emissions of the basic engine are similar to those of a VW Golf R!
Fuel economy figures haven’t been revealed for the 198hp 1.6-litre petrol just yet, but it shares the same CO2 emissions with the non-turbo version. And if you’re looking for a fast car in this end of the market, the turbo Soul is pretty decent with 0-62mph dispatched in 7.5 seconds.
What the Soul really needs is a small-capacity petrol with cheap running costs
Diesel-powered rivals have fuel economy figures between 70 and 76mpg. And the Soul? Well, its 130hp 1.6-litre diesel manages just 56mpg on the combined cycle. Pick the automatic and things really start going downhill with fuel economy dropping to 47mpg. Performance is comparable to the basic petrol with 0-62mph taking 10.8 seconds, but the loud roar and characteristical diesel rattle will most likely put you off trying.
Powered solely by electricity, the Soul EV is everything the basic Soul isn’t, so it’s silent and has healthy low-down shove – perfect for city dwellers. It’s also quite expensive, so for more in-depth information have a look at our Kia Soul EV review.
From 2016 automatic versions of the Soul let you choose between different driving modes – Comfort, Normal and Sport. They make the engine more responsive and add weight to the steering but, even in Sport mode, there’s little feedback to determine what the front wheels are doing.
The Soul is not much longer than a Vauxhall Corsa, so squeezing through gaps in traffic and darting into parking spaces will be a breeze, made easier by the excellent visibility. If you want more peace of mind when parking, the rear parking sensors are reasonably priced at £274.
Before the 2016 facelift, the Soul had a pretty harsh ride, but now it’s much better suited to UK roads. It’s not the best riding car in its class, but it’s pretty decent, providing a good balance between agility and comfort. However, avoid the largest 18-inch wheels in Mixx and Maxx models, because they make the Soul fidgety and unsettled over poor surfaces.