2014 Kia Soul Exclaim Arrival
Finding Out if It's Hip to Be Square
Alien II. That's the color of our new long-term 2014 Kia Soul. Of all the seven colors available for our top-trim Exclaim model, our car was delivered in a shimmery green color -- perhaps the most eye-catching choice on the palette after bright Solar Yellow. But even without a loud and crazy paint color, it's hard to overlook the funky Soul.
When it comes to box-on-wheels cars, the Soul is the last of a dying breed. The Honda Element was killed off a few years ago, and the Scion xB and Nissan Cube have struggled in sales for a while now. While those slab-sided cars are struggling to stay afloat, the Soul continues to be one of the Koreans' best-selling vehicles, coming in second to top-seller Kia Optima so far this year. Obviously, there's something endearing about the Soul, and we've got an entire year to figure out what it is.
For starters, staffers were surprised to find the Kia was equipped with a boatload of features, but that's because we got the top-spec Exclaim model, which rings in at $21,295. Standard features include UVO with eServices, Bluetooth connectivity, a leather-wrapped steering wheel that tilts and telescopes, and rearview camera. Even with all that, we went ahead and added the Whole Shebang -- yes, that's what the package is really called -- but we added it for good reason.
For $2500, that package throws in all the creature comforts you could possibly want including a push-start button and a bunch of heaters -- front and rear seats have them, as does the steering wheel. Having a black interior in Southern California is not ideal in the winter, but the package remedies that with ventilated front seats. We also checked off the $2600 Sun and Sound Package that throws in automatic climate control, a panoramic sunroof, navigation, an Infinity premium audio system, and those trippy speaker lights. The only downside with this package is that opting for the panoramic sunroof means you can't get a roof rack (something that I would've considered otherwise). Kia also claims that opting for navigation limits the UVO eServices functionality, so I intend to figure out whether choosing navigation is worth that "limited functionality." With all said and done, both of these packages plus a few dealer-installed items bring the Soul's grand total up to $26,635.
Since the Soul arrived just in time for summer, it'll visit the beach a whole lot since its high roof will be perfect for loading it up with all the beach essentials such as umbrellas, coolers and skimboards. I'll also be taking the Soul up for some fresh up air at Big Bear Lake, and it could also be tapped on the shoulder for road trips to Santa Cruz, San Francisco, and San Diego, or even longer road trips to Utah.
With so many amenities, ample cargo room, respectable fuel economy rated at 23/31 mpg, and 164 hp coming from the 2.0-liter I-4, the Soul seems like a promising funky little car. Stay tuned to see if it truly proves that it's hip to be square.
|2014 Kia Soul Exclaim|
|DRIVETRAIN||Front-engine, FWD, 5-pass, 4-door hatchback|
|ENGINE||2.0L/164-hp/151-lb-ft DOHC 16-valve I-4|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||163 x 70.9 x 63.0 in|
|0-60 MPH||8.4 sec*|
|QUARTER MILE||16.4 sec @ 85.1 mph*|
|EPA CITY/HWY FUEL ECON||23/31 mpg|
|ENERGY CONSUMPTION, CITY/HWY||147/109 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS||0.75 lb/mile|
|*Test numbers from previously tested Soul Exclaim|