Wednesday, March 4, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Kia doesn’t lose Soul in improvements for 2014

By
From page C1 | April 04, 2014 |

The animated and dapper hamsters in Kia’s television ads aren’t the only ones who ride comfortably in Kia’s newly revamped Soul five-door hatchback.

People of nearly all sizes and budgets can find the five-passenger, 2014 Soul to be a satisfying small car. For 2014, it has a more responsive engine, more rigid body, ritzier passenger compartment and greater interior room than its predecessor.

Buyers just have to like riding in an expressively “mod” box.

Starting retail price for the 2014 Soul is affordable at less than $16,000.

With fold-down rear seats, the Soul has as much cargo space — 61.3 cubic feet — as a small sport utility vehicle.

Gasoline mileage can be better than that of an SUV. The test Soul with automatic averaged 26 miles per gallon in combined city/highway driving without fuss.

Best of all, the 2014 model is the first Soul to earn top, five out of five stars in U.S. government crash tests in both frontal and side crash tests. Previous model year Souls got only four stars in frontal crash tests.

No wonder the Soul far outsells its major competition— the boxy Scion xB and Nissan Cube. Specifically, 118,079 Souls were sold in the United States in calendar 2013, up 2 percent from the previous year. In comparison, Scion xB sales last year fell to 17,849 and Cube sales fell to 5,461.

The Soul is competitively priced. Starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price, including destination charge, is $15,695 for a base, 2014 Soul with 130-horsepower four cylinder and six-speed manual transmission. The lowest starting retail price for a 2014 Soul with automatic is $1,800 more, or $17,495.

There is a larger, more powerful four cylinder, too. Starting MSRP, including destination charge, for a 2014 Soul Plus model with this 164-horsepower direct injection powerplant is $18,995. The only transmission with the uplevel engine is a six-speed automatic.

All Souls come standard with heated outside mirrors, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, two 12-volt power connections, sunglasses holder with dual maplights above the front seats, air conditioning, tilt and telescoping steering wheel and power windows and door locks. There’s even a free, three-month subscription to Sirius/XM satellite radio for every 2014 Soul owner.

In comparison, the 2014 Scion xB has a starting retail price, including destination charge, of $17,725 with 158-horsepower four cylinder and five-speed manual transmission and $18,675 with four-speed automatic. The base, 2014 xB includes turn signals in the outside mirrors, remote entry and cruise control, which are not on the base Soul. But the base xB does not have heated outside mirrors.

Meantime, the base, 2014 Nissan Cube S starts at $17,570 with 122-horsepower four cylinder and six-speed manual. The base, 2014 Cube with continuously variable transmission that operates like an automatic has a starting retail price of $18,570. The base Cube includes remote keyless entry, cruise control and premium-look electroluminescent gauges that the base Soul does not have. But the Cube’s steering wheel only tilts and does not telescope in and out.

Many people don’t realize the Soul was Kia’s second best-selling vehicle in the United States, after the mid-size Optima sedan, last year. But it’s tough to beat the Soul’s easily maneuverable size, flexible cargo and people-hauling capability and value-for-the-money features.

The test Soul, for example, included remote keyless entry, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, Kia’s UVO infotainment system, rearview camera, navigation system, panoramic sunroof with power sunshade, leather-covered seats, push button start, illuminated lighting at the audio speakers, heated steeringwheel and more for just over $26,000.

The Soul’s box shape is changed just slightly for 2014, and most observers didn’t notice the changes on the test vehicle. Specifically, the Soul is about a half inch shorter in height than before, so it’s a couple inches shorter than the Cube. This makes the Soul feel less tippy than the Cube in curves and turns but still allows for ample, 39.5 inches of headroom in front and rear seats. The 2014 Scion xB has more headroom than either competitor— 40 inches in the front seats and 41.2 inches in the back.

Back-seat legroom is generous in this segment, and for 2014, Kia expanded the Soul’s wheelbase — the distance from the middle of one wheel on one side of the vehicle to the middle of the other wheel on that same side — to improve interior space. As a result, legroom measures 40.9 inches in the front seat and 39.1 inches in the back seat.

It’s worth noting that the Soul’s seat cushions sit up a comfortable distance from the car floor, so passengers don’t drop down to settle onto the seats. This higher seat position makes it easy to enter and exit the Soul and allows for the driver to have good views forward through the windows of cars that are in front of the Soul in traffic. Plus, the glass on the rear-door windows goes down all the way.

Most Souls come with the uplevel, 2-liter, double overhead cam four cylinder. It’s gasoline direct injected and mated only to a six-speed automatic.

Performance has been improved for more “oomph” at lower engine rpms. Torque peaks at 151 foot-pounds at 4,000 rpm, and with the Soul being such a lightweight car — weighing just 2,700 to 2,850 pounds — the powerplant did a good job of providing a spunky feel.

Still, the four cylinder buzzed loudly when pressed to accelerate hard.

The tester averaged better than the federal government ratings of 23/31 mpg and translated into a range of 369 miles on a single, 14.2-gallon tank.

2014 Kia Soul Exclaim

BASE PRICE: $14,900 for base model; $18,200 for Plus; $20,300 for Exclaim.

PRICE AS TESTED: $26,195.

TYPE: Front-engine, front-wheel drive, five-passenger hatchback.

ENGINE: 2-liter, double overhead cam, gasoline direct injection four cylinder.

MILEAGE: 23 mpg (city), 31 mpg (highway).

TOP SPEED: NA

LENGTH: 163 inches.

WHEELBASE: 101.2 inches.

CURB WEIGHT: 2,837 pounds.

BUILT AT: South Korea.

OPTIONS: Sun and sound package (includes automatic climate control, panoramic sunroof with power sunshade, navigation system) $2,600; whole shebang package (includes leather seat trim, high-intensity discharge headlights with automatic leveling, push button start with smart key, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel) $2,500.

DESTINATION CHARGE: $795.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Recent Articles

  • Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • .

    Solano News

     
    County honors Meadows Trigueiro as Woman of the Year

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Police shut down Fairfield street after shooting

    By Glen Faison | From Page: A1, 4 Comments | Gallery

     
    Celebrity chef motivates Armijo students

    By Susan Winlow | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    Bridge work to shut down Highway 12 east of Rio Vista

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A4

     
    Highway 12 Association to meet this month

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A4

    Caltrans reschedules work on J-Mack Ferry

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A4

     
    State schedules work on Highway 12

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A4

     
     
     
    Robots, raucous businessmen set to arrive on big screen

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A7

     
    Suisun water rate increase public meetings to begin

    By Ian Thompson | From Page: A9

    Teen hit by SUV remains in hospital

    By Glen Faison | From Page: A9

     
    College looks at Measure Q project changes

    By Susan Winlow | From Page: A9

     
     
    Fairfield police log: March 2, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12, 1 Comment

    Fairfield police log: March 1, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

     
    Fairfield police log: Feb. 28, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

    Suisun police log: March 2, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

     
    Suisun City police log: March 1, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

    Suisun City police log: Feb. 28, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

     
    Enrollment of non-residents to be capped at some UC campuses

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

    .

    US / World

    California survey finds Sierra snowpack far below normal

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    California shuts down oil wells to protect ground water

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

    Ex-CIA chief admits sharing military secrets with mistress

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A12 | Gallery

     
    Netanyahu warns US ‘bad deal’ would put Iran on nuclear path

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

     
    Mines, bombs slow Iraqi advance on Islamic State-held Tikrit

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

    India orders TV stations not to give rapist a platform

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

     
    Health officials perplexed by vaccination skeptics

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

    Lawmakers taking another crack at expanding gun checks

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

     
    California lawmakers show wide discrepancy in missed votes

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

    Agents target industry helping Chinese women have US babies

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A13 | Gallery

     
    Family of girl declared brain-dead sues Oakland hospital

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

    US marshals say man killed by Los Angeles police was wanted

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A13, 2 Comments | Gallery

     
    72 passengers reach settlements in Asiana crash

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

    .

    Opinion

    Editorial cartoon: March 3-4, 2015

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

     
    Minority outreach that works

    By Jennifer Rubin | From Page: A11, 2 Comments

     
    Israelis worry about inequality, not Iran

    By Daniel Gordis | From Page: A11, 2 Comments

     
    .

    Living

    Community Calendar: March 4, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

     
    Today in History: March 4, 2015

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Mushrooms are nutrient-packed, with a deep, savory flavor

    By The Washington Post | From Page: B5

     
    Get ready to add white to the rainbow of produce you eat

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

     
    Horoscopes: March 4, 2015

    By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B7

    My husband and I want different things in our retirement

    By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B7

     
    .

    Entertainment

    Apollo to celebrate Holiday birthday

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

     
    Oprah’s Chicago studios to close down

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

    Fashion week moves Milan to Paris

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

     
    TVGrid

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    .

    Sports

    Vanden girls roll, advance to SJS championship game

    By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1

     
    Bumgarner hit hard in spring debut, A’s beat Giants 9-4

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    Pacquiao big hit so far in Vegas sports books vs Mayweather

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Kings bring back former player Divac in front-office role

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    No ‘floating rubbish’ collection for Olympic sailing venue

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Cal senior Reshanda Gray named Pac-12 Player of the Year

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Rudy Gay, Kings hand Knicks worst loss of season, 124-86

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Cubs’ scramble on Wrigley Field hits bump when mayor balks

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Raiders officially release S Tyvon Branch

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Trooper: Fingerprints show victim in Hernandez’s rented car

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Play ball! Quickly! Baseball tries to speed game this spring

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Australian rugby star Hayne signs 3-year deal with 49ers

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Maid: Hernandez messed with security camera after killing

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    .

    Business

    Oil glut could soon lead to plummeting prices

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Jacqueline Mendes

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    Robert C. Thierry

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

    Garland (Curly) Henry Tackett

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    Otto Vasak

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

    John Henry Fechter, Jr.

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Sally Forth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

     
    Wizard of Id

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

    Baby Blues

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

     
    Baldo

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

    Garfield

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

     
    Frank and Ernest

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

    Blondie

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

     
    Pickles

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

    Zits

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

     
    Beetle Bailey

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

    Rose is Rose

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

     
    Dilbert

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

    Get Fuzzy

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

     
    B.C.

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

    Peanuts

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

     
    For Better or Worse

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

    Crossword

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

     
    Bridge

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

    Word Sleuth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

     
    Cryptoquote

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

    Sudoku

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7