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#5

in Affordable Small Cars

MSRP: $15,100 - $35,700
Invoice: $14,804 - $33,056
MPG: 24 City / 30 Hwy
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Kia Soul Performance

While some test drivers say the 2015 Kia Soul could be more agile, most find that it remains composed through corners and has a comfortable ride. Reviewers recommend opting for the larger engine, though some comment that even this engine does not deliver particularly brisk acceleration.

  • "Aim the Soul at a hard corner and the 235/45-18 tires bite for a moment before the nose pushes through them. Getting on the brakes regains composure, although this Kia is never happy doing hero work." -- Car and Driver (2014)
  • "Steering feedback aside, the Soul turns predictably and corners with a level of confidence unfamiliar in the old Soul, which tended to skitter when steered over less than pristine roadways." -- Kelley Blue Book (2014)

Acceleration and Power

The Kia Soul comes standard with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 130 horsepower. A 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 164 horsepower is optional. With the base engine, either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission is available, while the larger engine comes with the automatic. With the base engine, the 2015 Soul gets an EPA-estimated 24/30 mpg city/highway, which is low compared with the ratings of other compact hatchbacks.

Test drivers write that the Soul's base engine could use more power when climbing hills, and some say that the larger, optional engine doesn't feel particularly peppy either. Reviewers add that the automatic transmission operates quietly.

  • "Acceleration is merely adequate when overtaking traffic or merging on the freeway, even with the more powerful 2.0-liter engine." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "If your drive plans include elevation changes or a heavy right foot, the smaller engine might not be up to the job." -- Autoblog (2014)
  • "Though the road manners have improved, power has not, which can make passing on two-lane highways adventurous." -- Popular Mechanics (2014)
  • "The [automatic] transmission glides through its gears unobtrusively, the engine pulls without making too much of a racket, and there are plenty of receptacles to contain everyday flotsam." -- Car and Driver (2014)

Handling and Braking

Test drivers say the 2015 Soul has controlled handling, and some say that it feels more agile than it looks. Reviewers report that the Soul has a quiet ride that is comfortable over rough roads, though some comment that the steering is numb.

  • "The expressive, funky-box styling might turn off some shoppers, but the Soul's handling is a bit more nimble that its looks might suggest." -- Consumer Guide
  • "While it's true that Kia's funky 5-door hatchback offers the Flex Steer feature to let you tailor steering resistance among three levels, all remain poor conduits of information from the front tires to the driver. Even so, the Soul steers predictably and corners with more confidence than prior versions." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "As we said, most buyers in this segment are not going to push this car hard in turns or even in a straight line. … Nonetheless, when you push it you won't really want to push it very hard while driving your friends between clubs." -- AutoWeek (2014)
  • "The new car feels significantly more planted, and even a bit more eager to turn-in thanks to the architectural changes and a new one-piece steering gear housing." -- Autoblog (2014)
  • "The body shell is stiffer by 28.7 percent and the suspension has been tuned for more compliance. That adds up to a smoother ride plus improved stability, particularly on nasty surfaces, as well as a significant uptick in comfort." -- Popular Mechanics (2014)
Review Last Updated: 11/18/14

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