IF you are looking for a funky motor that is unlike anything else on the road with no obvious rivals and is big in the United States then the second generation Kia Soul is just the car for you writes Bryan Longworth.
The original Soul was a massive hit in the States where it was number one choice for college students and the latest Soul which has been designed at the company’s California studios has retained the cool shape and is even funkier than ever.
New Soul is also larger than the first model being based on the Ceed chassis which has created more interior space and it should have wider appeal than the original because of all the improvements both inside and outside the car.
Prices start from £12,600 and the latest Soul is available with 1.6-litre diesel and petrol engines with three trim lines and there are six speed manual and automatic transmissions.
As well as more interior space for the occupants the rear load area is also larger and there is a more premium look and feel about the interior with soft touch facings on the instrument panel, centre console and door panels along with new seats that offer more sideways and thigh support.
Kia has retained front wheel drive on the new Soul which has the crossover appearance of being a 4x4 but Kia research has revealed that buyers prefer this to four wheel drive and the higher fuel consumption and taxation that this entails.
Improved driving dynamics and cabin sound insulation were evident during a drive through the North Yorkshire dales in a diesel powered Soul that included some poorly surfaced roads but the Soul provided an enjoyable driving experience for me and my co-driver.
I was also impressed by the easy to see central speedometer which was very useful on some stages of the test route that seemed to have more than their fair share of speed cameras
All models of the new Soul are well equipped including DAB radio, Flex Steer variable power assisted steering and a tyre pressure monitoring system along with steering wheel mounted controls plus that unique seven year warranty.
With its very distinctive styling and upright stance the latest Soul is a car that should have wide appeal to both younger and older owners - younger ones because of its funky shape and older ones looking for something different that is easy to get into and out of.
For such reasons the latest Soul should have wider appeal tO all age groups especially in the UK and it will not be long before it is contributing to the soaring sales of Kia.
After the launch of the original Soul in 2008 and reading my road test review of the car the husband of a colleague bought one and fell in love with it and I can confidently recommend him to replace it with the new Soul because it provides such enjoyable motoring
My Verdict: Funky and fun.
Model: New Kia Soul.
Engines: 1.6-litre diesel and petrol.
Transmission: Six speed manual and automatic.
Trim levels: Three.
Warranty: Seven years.
Prices: From £12,600.