The 2014 KIA Soul is a larger, more sophisticated and comfortable vehicle than the car it replaces. It’s easy to get excited about an affordable vehicle with a youthful bent and I was pretty excited about the 2014 KIA Soul. It is longer, lower and wider with more interior space.
Check out the KIA Soul EV story (here).
KIA flew me to Minneapolis, MI and put on a fun presentation. Normally, The Fast Lane Car gets three to five videos during a press event, but – I was on my own and could only generate one drive video and a trivia video. KIA was a very gracious host providing us journalists with fun diversions, great amenities and an excellent drive route. It was a great way to ascertain the most significant changes for the 2014 KIA Soul – namely, overall sophistication.
“Significant attention has been focused on improving the all-new Soul’s ride and handling through heavily revised front and rear suspension setups. The front subframe utilizes four bushings (none are used on the previous Soul) to reduce ride harshness and impact booms over rough pavement. The stabilizer bar has moved rearward on the McPherson strut front suspension, while the steering box has moved forward, lending better balance and subsequently improved handling.
Relocating the steering box has also resulted in a better on-center feel. The new one-piece steering gear housing is stronger than the two-piece unit used on the outgoing Soul, improving steering response and reducing impacts felt through the wheel. Standard across the Soul line is a new Flex Steer™ system, which allows the driver to select from three distinct steering settings: Comfort, Normal and Sport.
The shock absorbers on the torsion bar rear suspension have been turned vertically – they were positioned at an angle on the previous Soul – and lengthened. This arrangement allows for more suspension travel, improving ride comfort.
Motivation for the Base Soul is delivered by a gasoline direct injection (GDI) 130-horsepower (at 6,300 rpm) 1.6-liter all-aluminum DOHC four-cylinder engine. The GAMMA engine produces 118 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,850 rpm. The Plus and Exclaim models enjoy the more powerful 2.0-liter NU power plant.
For the all-new 2014 Soul, the engine is updated with GDI technology. Power is rated at 164 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 151 lb.-ft. of torque at a 4,000 rpm. Both engines have been tuned to provide more low-end torque (nine percent more torque at 1,500 rpm on the 2.0-liter; five percent more on 1.6-liter) for an improved around-town driving experience. The 1.6-liter engine is mated to a six-speed manual transmission or, optionally, to a six-speed automatic. The Plus and Exclaim models are available exclusively with the six-speed automatic.” – – KIA Motors America
I am on the fence with the revised, external styling. I don’t like the more complicated nose, but I like the revised tail. It’s not that much of a change and everyone will immediately recognize the 2014 KIA Soul. Still, I wish it was slightly less convoluted up front.
At the end of the press event, I could’t help but feel that, despite the massive improvements, something was removed from the 2014 KIA Soul. Then I figured it out: skinny hamsters. Yep, just the thought that the cute and fuzzy rodents that used to represent Soul were artificially changed to fit our current definition of beauty. The original hamsters had an edge and were cool to be themselves, but the new ones are true only to our expectations of beauty. Am I reading too deep into the hamster mythos?
The 2014 KIA Soul will start at $14,700.
Here’s the video review of the 2014 KIA Soul in beautiful Minneapolis, Minnesota!