Test Driving the 2014 Kia Soul

The hamsters are back and they’re looking better than ever in the new transformed Kia Soul. The 2014 Kia Soul comes sporting more or less the same iconic design as the outgoing model, but it’s also a bit more sophisticated. To that effect, Kia has upped the ante with the Soul by using better quality materials, increasing the shock absorption, and increasing the rigidity by 28.7%. Kia has also redesigned the car to be a bit lower, longer, and wider, but the size is still relatively compact for all that it offers on the inside.

But don’t be fooled by how cute this cubular shaped car is, because when it comes to driving, the Soul packs a punch and really performs. We were actually taken a back by how peppy the new 2014 Kia Soul is. The top model with its 2 liter engine and has the pep of a serious sports car. As a matter of fact, the muffler is tuned to sound aggressive and powerful, so despite packing a relatively little engine, the Soul sounds like a bad ass car on the road, especially when driving in sports mode. But drivers will not only appreciate how zippy the car is, but that the 2014 also offers a super smooth ride thanks to major upgrades to the refinement, dynamics and shock absorption. We tested the car on a rainy day around Minnesota and Wisconsin and were impressed with its great handling, even on slippery roads.

The 2014 Kia Soul is all about having fun, and that includes having a fun drive, while being able to have enough room to take along a bunch of friends with you. But for times when you can’t have your buddies with you, you can still stay connected with the system’s next-gen UVO infotainment system which has been revamped and is now actually an Android-based system. The revamped infotainment system is also now available on a large 8-inch capacitive touchscreen that is a pleasure to use with large icons and a clean user interface. We dare say that this is the most intuitive and user-friendly infotainment system we have used to date. And of course, all of the essentials that you would want from a good infotainment system are there – voice commands courtesy of UVO, iPhone connectivity, a navigation system, apps like a dedicated Pandora app, XM Radio, split screen views, and more.

Audio fiends will be happy to hear that the Soul can be topped out with an Infinity by Harman speaker system that packs in 10 speakers for a total 350 watts. With this audio system, you’ll be pulling over to dance like the hamsters do. But the party doesn’t stop there – two interiors speakers feature pulsating multicolor LED moodlights that are ready to rock out with you and your tunes. This is a pretty unnecessary feature, but it is a totally fun option that really speaks to what the Soul is all about – and that is having fun and expressing yourself and maybe not taking yourself too seriously either? Meanwhile, the base Soul model comes packaged with USB and AUX in ports, 6 speakers and bluetooth.

A vast improvement over 2013’s model, the 2014 Kia Soul is bigger in size, bigger in performance, even more comfortable, and still packs in lots of personality. Plus it is proving to be truly fun to drive, and you get all of this for a pretty sweet price point. The fuel economy for the 2014 Soul is quite good too – it’s rated at 26MPG with 23 in the city and 31 on the highway. The 2014 Kia Soul will be available to purchase starting in Q4. Pricing begins at $14,700, while at the top end, the Soul Exclaim offers heated seats, a heated steering wheel, speaker lights, leather seat trim, push-button start, and 18-inch alloy wheels, for about $26k with all of the premium options. The Soul will also be available in a selection of fun colors, including an eye popping new yellow color.

Last but not least, it’s worth mentioning that the hamsters are back for 2014 and you can expect to see several more adorable commercials with the flash dancing rodents.

Special shout out to my driving partner, Judie Stanford from Gear Diary. You can check out her first impressions of the Soul here

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