Dreaming of the 2014 Kia Soul

Dreaming of the 2014 Kia Soul

What’s your dream car?  If you are a follower of my site you know that I happen to be in love with the Hyundai Santa Fe.  Until…. I test drove the new Kia Soul. Yes, you read correctly: 2014 Kia Soul.  My buddies at Drive STI asked me if I would reconsider my opinion about the 2013 version and try out the 2014 model.  Needless to say, I wasn’t prepared to love this car.  After all, it’s looks the same on the outside: Boxy and small but I was in for a great surprise when I actually got in the car and drive it.  The inside is totally new—funky, has lots of cool features and an overall  huge improvement over the 2013 iteration.

 

2014 Kia Soul

2014 Kia Soul

Remember how I said in my last post about the Kia Soul that “I couldn’t help feeling that I was driving a large box”? Well, with the 2014 version, I got over that feeling because as Lulu put it so eloquently: “This car is AWESOME!” The car comes with a standard with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine but we drove the more powerful 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. Unlike last year’s model, this Kia really kicked it on the highway. Remember how I felt like I was struggling to get up to speed when I drove the 2013 model?  Well, that was a feeling of the past.  I loved driving the 2014 Kia Soul on the highways (almost as much as I loved driving it on the Chicago streets.) Maybe I was so pleased because I enjoyed the high-quality, comfortable and supportive seats?  Or maybe I just enjoyed the heated steering wheel?

 

Great lighting and fun sunroof

Great lighting and fun sunroof

The cabin is roomy and, to be quite honest, I sort of forgot what car I was driving—I really felt like I was driving a luxury car.  There are quite a number of standard features including a six-speaker stereo, Bluetooth, satellite radio, USB and auxiliary inputs and steering wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls. The available UVO infotainment system keeps drivers connected and has an intuitive touch screen, test drivers say. Other available features include a backup camera, an Infinity sound system, navigation, push-button start, automatic climate control and a panoramic sunroof.

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Let’s go back to the basic mom question: Is the Kia Soul the next Keats Family Car?

We loved this car. In fact, I practically begged Drive STI to loan it to me for another week.  At one point, Adam and I sort of bickered about who would get to drive the Kia Soul to the gym.  But, the car lacks the one characteristic that we still require: space.  Yes, the back does have ample room for groceries, golf clubs and suitcases but you can’t fit all of them in at the same time even if you fold down the backseats.  We still need a car that can carry all of our “junk” and contain our German Shepherd.  Unfortunately, the 2014 Kia Soul, a car that really was designed with urban dwellers without kids in mind, can’t be magically transformed into the latest iteration of the 1980’s version of the station wagon.  If that’s what you are looking for then this is not the car for your family.

But if you are looking for a reasonably priced, sporty car with tons of cool bonus features and aren’t in need of a lot of cargo room, then I absolutely endorse the 2014 Kia Soul.  Bottom line: We LOVED this car!

 

The Newer, More Slimmed Down,Sophisticated Kia Soul

 

Disclosure: I am not a car person; I don’t review cars for a living.  But I am a mom who is concerned about the safety of her family, is budget conscience and also takes pride in have a cool “mom-mobile. ”  All opinions and views with regard to this car review, the company that loaned it to me or the vehicle manufacturer are entirely mine and were not influenced, edited or even reviewed by the companies prior to posting. 

Could the 2013 Kia Soul Be Our New Mate?

Could the 2013 Kia Soul Be Our New Mate?

Sad news on the car front.  My beloved Hyundai Santa Fe is falling apart. First it was the rust on the undercarriage.  Now it’s the seats: they’re shredding. Has the time come to trade in Betsy and get a new family car?  Well, I hoped that driving  2013 Kia Soul, aka “The Hamster Car,” would help me make up my mind.

 

Kickn' it back like a hamster?

Kicken back like a hamster?

My buddies at Drive STI loaned me the 2013 KIA Soul to try out.  First impressions?  It was a “hard” ride and felt “boxy.”  It has a mini SUV feel that definitely differed from the Mazda a3 and the Mitsubishi Outlander  I tried out earlier this spring. It has what is referred to as a “Tiger Nose” front grill, projection headlights (which are pretty cool when you are driving down a dark street late at night) and oversized rear tail lamps.  But I couldn’t help feeling that I was driving a large box.

 

A boxy car with a lot of room!

A boxy car with a lot of room!

 

While the seats do adjust for height, I just didn’t feel the same level of support that I have with the Santa Fe.  According to a few of my passengers, the car felt “stiff” and Lulu claimed that there must be “something wrong with the roads.”  What I think she was actually feeling was the difference in shock absorbers; she’s not used to the true feel of the road.  The layout is fairly simple for the latest iteration of SUVs: the Kia Soul has average steering wheel controls, power windows and door locks, a straight-forward center console, remote keyless entry and UVO Powered by Microsoft with Rear Camera Display.

 

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Purple!  My favorite color!

Purple! My favorite color!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I really enjoyed the heated front seats (it was a chilly spring in Chicago) and the speakers that, should the driver choose to activate, change colors either randomly or to the beat of the music.

 

 

The best feature?  The ability to dart in and out of traffic.  City driving was so much easier with the Kia Soul!  Because we spend a lot of time in the city, particularly in the summer, I was impressed with the safety features that include air bags galore.  Once one recovered from the hardiness of the ride, it was comforting to know that KIA has taken the extra step to ensure consumer safety.  For the compact size of the car, we were impressed with the storage space.  Seats fold down and we were able to accommodate the significant summer of basil, petunia, tomato and cucumber plants I purchased in preparation for our summer garden, despite having to also haul Lulu and her three best buds to the farmer’s market with me.  Somehow, everything fit in the car!

Is the Kia Soul the next Keats Family Car?

We will not be buying a Kia Soul but it’s not due to its lack of coolness.  If this car is one thing, it’s cool.  From the running lights, the colored coordinated speaker lights and the trippin’ sound system, my four tween testers LOVED this car. I recommend this car if (a) you live in a city and parking is at a premium and (b) you don’t need to drive long distances.  While the fuel economy is above average for a small sized SUV (27 MPG/Combined), my family just didn’t find the car offered a comfortable ride for driving long distances.  And although the price of a fully loaded Kia Soul is less than $25,000, the reasonable price still isn’t enough to sway my family into considering the youthful car.

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I guess Adam and I are beginning to show our age after all.

 

Disclosure: I am not a car person; I don’t review cars for a living.  But I am a mom who is concerned about the safety of her family, is budget conscience and also takes pride in have a cool “mom-mobile. ”  All opinions and views with regard to this car review, the company that loaned it to me or the vehicle manufacturer are entirely mine and were not influenced, edited or even reviewed by the companies prior to posting.