First Impressions: 2015 Kia Soul +
The 2015 Kia Soul + is a compact urban utility vehicle based on a caricature sketch of a boar wearing a backpack– for practicality of course, originally aimed at younger buyers. The funky little car has proven so versatile and enjoyable, though there’s no telling who will be driving one of the many on the road.
The Soul + has been described as a box on wheels, but with the rounded front end and roofline that slopes to the rear the exterior styling makes it so much more than that. The funky look usually elicits a love it or hate it response. Based on the sales numbers, the “love its” are more numerous. A number of options are available to add to the aesthetic. Alloy wheels, body-colored or contrasting fascia, LED headlamps and tail lamps provide a host of personalizing options.
The boxy look of the Soul + belies its true handling. The drive is smooth and solid, like a nice, tight compact sedan. There is no roll or pitching on curves or bumpy, potholed city streets we drove on.
The Soul + ventured into the fun to drive category. Press the accelerator and the Soul goes. Turn the wheel and the Soul goes where you point it. It’s just as easy as that. The 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine (standard on the Plus and Exclaim) provides 164 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque and was plenty of power to move the 2,700 lb vehicle around.
Kia boasts the Soul + is a 5-seater. With two buckets in the front, and what passes for a bench in the rear, it’s difficult to imagine any grownup being happy as the 5th passenger and it’s probably better to consider the Soul a 4-seater. There is surprising room for those 4 people. Legroom in the front is good and acceptable in the rear. Hip room in both rows is quite good.
Cargo storage is a modest, but practical 18.8 cubic feet with the rear seat up and expands to 61.3 cubic feet using all the available rear space.
The sloping roof doesn’t intrude into the rear seat headroom at all. It minimally effects the storage capacity in the cargo area.
Kia’s UVO is the infotainment system across their models. It is easy to understand and navigate. In the Soul + it sports some funky design equal to the vehicle’s exterior. While the buttons and knobs surrounding the available 8″ touchscreen, and the steering wheel controls are a fun quirky design, the system remains intuitive.