- Completely redesigned in 2014
- Great mix of utility and fuel economy at a low base price
- Lots of standard features, including Bluetooth connectivity and USB/auxiliary inputs
Offering exceptional value and utility at a low price, the 2015 Kia Soul returns fresh off of a complete redesign last year.
Whenever we are asked for recommendations for affordable transportation (especially for young people), the Soul is one of the first cars we go to. It has a ton of standard features for a car in this class and its unique shape pays dividends when it comes to both cargo and passenger room; that high ceiling gives rear passengers great sightlines from the backseat, it doesn’t have the claustrophobia inducing feeling found in other sub-compacts in this price range.
Styling remains quirky after the redesign, which added a large trapezoidal front air intake, more curves on the bodywork, and a unique black trim piece that surrounds the rear glass and runs horizontal across the rear hatch. Personally, I like the look of the Soul, but I do realize that it isn’t for everyone. 16-inch steel wheels are standard, with 16-, 17-, and 18-inch alloy wheels optional. Also available are a panoramic sunroof, front fog lights, and LED daytime running lights.
The Soul is offered in three trim levels, Base, + (Plus), and ! (Exclaim). Base models get the Soul’s base engine, a 130-hp, 1.6-liter four-cylinder that is mated to a standard six-speed manual transmission or an optional six-speed automatic. The Plus and Exclaim models both get a larger, more powerful 164-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder that is only offered with a six-speed automatic. An Eco package, which adds a stop/start system and low rolling resistance tires for added efficiency is available on Plus models. Base models get 24/30 mpg city/highway, while the Plus and Exclaim return 23/31 mpg (the Eco packages adds 1 city mpg).
Inside, the Soul’s cabin is pretty standard fare stylistically but offers plenty of space. Behind the rear seats you’ll find 24.2 cubic feet of cargo space and last year, the cargo opening was widened for easier loading/unloading, a helpful change. Standard features include Bluetooth (with audio streaming), power windows and locks, 60/40-split folding rear seat, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, and air conditioning. The optional UVO eServices technology suite has been updated for 2015, adding Geo-fencing, speed and curfew alerts, and a Driving Score app for parents of young drivers. There is also a new Kia app store, which allows the download of supporting applications from both iTunes and Google Play. Also available are a navigation system, automatic climate control, HD radio, heated front and rear seats, and leather upholstery.
As of this writing, the 2015 Soul has not been crash tested but the 2014 version got a full five-star overall rating from the NHTSA, their highest score, and we expect the same results for the new version as well. Six airbags, antilock brakes, and an electronic stability system are standard, while a rearview camera is optional. The Soul is also backed by one of the best warranties in the business, with 10 year/100,000 mile coverage on its powertrain.