Monday, December 8, 2014

2014 Kia Soul Review - Affordable, Fun, Reliable and Comfortable

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure Page for details. I was loaned this 2014 Kia Soul for a week to test drive and facilitate this review. All opinions expressed here are my own!

Two weeks ago we practically lived in the car. We logged about 400 miles driving around Metro Atlanta on our fun, fieldtrip adventures...we even got to drive on the Atlanta Motor Speedway. But my favorite part of the week was that we got to drive around in the comfort and luxury of a 2014 Kia Soul.

I was already an admirer of Kia before test driving the Soul, because I used to own a Kia Sportage. Kia is well known for making affordable, reliable, fuel efficient and comfortable vehicles and the Kia Soul definitely holds up to their standards.

We test drove a fully loaded 2014 Inferno Red Kia Soul. The Soul is a compact car which has been in production since 2009. Each year the Kia Soul gets even better with more features to make it safer, more luxurious and economical.

As a busy mom the Kia Soul made my life so much easier with all its great features like the large, easy to use GPS navigation, Smart Key Remote, Push-Button Start and...well keep reading to find out the rest.

This particular Kia Soul starts around $18,200 MSRP.

Making a good first impression is always important and boy does the Kia Soul make one. The outside of the Soul is very stylish and fun. The boxy shape gives it a large look even though it is classified as a compact car. Some of the Soul features include alloy wheels, privacy glass, front and rear window wipers, heated rear glass, heated, power mirrors with LED turn signal indicators, fog lights and my favorite feature High-Intensity Discharge (HID) Headlights. The HID Headlights were so amazing. I really dislike driving at night, but didn't mind it as much when driving the Soul. I could clearly see for several feet in front of the car as well as on both sides.

The Smart Key Remote made it very easy to get in and out of the car without fumbling for keys. I didn't take the key out of my purse the entire time we test drove the car. As long as the key was within close proximity (about 2 ft) of the car I could just push the button on the handle and hop right in. For busy moms who always seem have an arm load this made my life so much easier. The power mirrors can also be set to fold out and in, this was  my sons favorite feature. For a few days I had him convinced that he was using "the force" to control the mirrors. The mirrors will fold or unfold when the door is locked or unlocked by the smart key or when the door is locked or unlocked by the button on the outside door handle. And the mirrors will unfold when you approach the vehicle (doors closed and locked) with the smart key in your possession.

My daughters favorite feature in the car was the full Panoramic Sunroof with Power Sunshade. She insisted we keep the Sunshade open the entire time so they could see the clouds, tall buildings and planes as we drove around Metro Atlanta. Due to the cold weather we didn't get a chance to test out the Sunroof.

Now let me take you on a tour of the inside of the Soul. The first thing you instantly notice and feel are the soft, comfortable leather seats, which by the way are heated and ventilated with the push of a button (front two seats only, back seats are only heated). The Kia Soul seats 5 though it fits 4 more comfortably! The driver seat has 10- way adjustment controls, including lumbar support which is fabulous for people with back problems, like me. And for the moms you will love how easy to clean the seats are! The rear seats have split folding functionally making it easier to haul large loads.

The next thing you will be immediately drawn to is the large center display panel which controls the bulk of the vehicle's safety, comfort, entertainment and navigation features. It was so nice having everything in one place. From the touchscreen, UVO entertainment and communications system you can choose your tunes (choose from Radio, Sirius, and other media when Bluetooth is enabled), access the cars user manual, make phone calls, contact road side assistance and 911, utilize GPS navigation, run diagnostic checks and more. And best of all UVO doesn't require a subscription. UVO does practically everything, but drive and fly the car! Since we are a very on the go family and take adventures several times a week this system came in quiet handy. Many times I didn't even need the address for our destination because it was listed in the POI and I just had to type or speak the name of the destination.

Directly below the UVO system are the Soul's climate controls, heated/ventilated seat buttons and air bag controls. It was a chilly week in Georgia so we took full advantage of the heated seats and auto climate control features.

Next let me tell you about the hi-tech steering wheel. The steering wheel is equipped with tons of great features which make driving safer, easier and even warmer. There are buttons to control audio levels, radio stations, phone calls, cruise control, flex steering modes, and menu features on the Soul's instrument cluster. Which leads me to the LED lite, instrument cluster. Besides your normal features like a speedometer, fuel gauge, tachometer and temperature gauge the instrument cluster also has a few bells and whistles. In between the tachometer and speedometer you can view everything going on in the car with the push of a button. On the first menu you can view the Soul's triptometer, average MPG, outside temperature and more. On the second menu you can view the navigation turn by turn directions or a compass if you do not have destination set. On the third menu you can view and make changes to the audio system. On the fourth menu you view and set the cars service needs. And on the fifth menu you can make adjustments to things like automatic door locks, horn feedback, turn lamp settings, etc. Other things that will show on the LCD display include key alerts, door open alerts and what gear the car is in.

Other features to highlight are the mood lite speakers, Push-Button Start, auxiliary audio input, USB input, multiple 12V inputs, power windows, interior light controls, large glove box (semi-insulated), ample cup holders and storage. My kids were thrilled to have their own cup holders!

The cargo space is quiet deceiving in the Soul. So there is plenty of room for groceries, hiking bags, etc. At first glance it doesn't look like much, but the base lifts up to uncover a multi-compartment tray, which is made of foam so it also provides some insulation. Want even more storage? You can lift the base and compartment tray up to reveal yet another space (typically where you would find a spare tire), where you can store items.

I am all about saving money so I loved how economical the Kia Soul is. It gets about 24 MPG in the city and 30 MPG on the highway.

The Kia Soul also comes with a fantastic warranty (10-year/100,000-mile) which gives you peace of mind and saves you money on any repairs that may pop up. The warranty even includes roadside assistance which can easily be reached by the push of a button on the UVO system.

Several of the safety features were indicated above, but I would like to take the time to highlight them once more, because the Soul is loaded with safety features and as a mother safety is very important to me. The Soul is equipped with air bags, a back up camera, hands-free capabilities, traction control, Smart Key Remote with panic button, 4-wheel ABS, daytime running lights, electronic brake-force distribution, HID headlights, fog lights, tire pressure monitoring, dusk sensing headlights, turn signal mirrors, electrochromatic rear-view mirror, heated windows and mirrors, easy access to roadside assistance and 911, and sun visor extender just to name a few.

I not only hate driving at night time, I also hate driving in the rain. So I was happy that it rained one day during our test drive week. The Kia handled great in the rain. The tires gripped wonderfully and it handled just like it did on dry roads.

Ride and Handling
I was really surprised at how much get up and go the Soul had. It accelerated quickly and smoothly and was a fun, smooth, quiet ride. And city pot holes were no match for the Kia Soul. The Kia handled great on turns and even steep inclines (which I got to test on the Atlanta Motor Speedway during the Gift of Lights show). The Soul has 3 flex steering options (normal, sport, comfort) which are a great feature making steering control easier for drivers based on driver's preference or road conditions.

Closing thoughts
We had a great time testing out the adorable, fun, and family friendly 2014 Kia Soul. We greatly appreciate KIA and STI for the opportunity to test drive the Soul! For more information on the Kia Soul visit!

I'd love to find one of these cars in my driveway Christmas Day, wouldn't you?

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