2014 Kia Soul

2014 Kia Soul

Episode 3329
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

Almost from the moment it arrived here for the 2010 model year, the Kia Soul became one of the brand’s top sellers. Its quirky design, low price, and the cute rodent advertising campaign, quickly made the Soul unforgettable. While aimed at the young, buyers from gen y to baby boomers were drawn to the Soul. Now, there is an all-new second generation Soul. So, let’s see if the 2014 Soul’s mass appeal is intact, or if it’s just grown up and out.

It seems like the Kia Soul has been around for a lot longer than just 4 years. You see them everywhere, no matter what social circle you travel in. But with the 2nd generation 2014 Soul, Kia is looking to see its social standing raised just a bit. 

You see, despite originally being aimed at younger buyers, the Soul has proven very popular with mature drivers who found a “Soulmate” in Kia’s roomy bargain box on wheels. 

On that point, the new Soul has a much more refined nature. To say the ride quality is greatly improved is an understatement. The chassis is stiffer, and a new subframe, mounted with impact absorbing bushings, and longer travel suspension, smooth things out exponentially.    

The MacPherson strut front suspension has been further revised by moving the stabilizer bar rearward and the steering box forward. An additional 8/10ths of an inch of wheelbase helps as well, though even after all of that, a minority of our drivers still found the ride to be “bumpy”. All agreed it has gotten much quieter inside and is now a fairly comfortable place to spend daily commute time.

Engines choices are the same as before, but both have been tinkered with. The standard and already lethargic 1.6-liter actually rates less horsepower and torque than last year. The 2.0-liter in our Soul Exclaim adds direct injection for the same 164-horsepower but a small but welcomed boost in torque to 151 lb-ft. 

Inside, we were very impressed with the upscale redesign. The bargain bling of the original has given way to a much more welcoming atmosphere. Mature drivers will like the new soft touch materials and the next gen. UVO infotainment system. Happily, Kia did keep a few of the Soul’s original youthful elements like the signature pulsating speaker lights. 

But the most important change for all age groups is the improved seat comfort and overall roomier and more useful cabin. Cargo capacity is up to 24.2 cubic-ft. behind the folding rear seatbacks, 61.3 cubic-ft. with them flat. 

The decidedly upscale Sun and Sound option package adds a panoramic sunroof, Infinity audio system, Navigation with a large 8-inch touch screen display, and automatic temperature control. And the available Supervision instrument cluster features a 4.3-inch color LCD screen between the tach. and speedometer. 

Push button start, heated and ventilated leather front seats, heated rear seats, and heated steering wheel are all offered as well.

Kia also wisely decided not to tinker too much with the Soul’s unique exterior styling, sticking with the same boxy bulldog shape as before, even though all sheet metal is new. It’s now more rounded, less squared off, and a tad more aggressive thanks to the larger openings up front and a wider stance.

LED positioning lights are standard on Exclaim model, but the HID headlights come as part of the “Whole Shebang Package”. Fenders are still very pronounced and the blacked-out A-pillars give a wraparound visor look to the greenhouse. 

Exclaim trim also adds a halo treatment to the high mounted tail lights that lend a 70’s disco era sci-fi look.

Standard wheels are 16-inches, with the Exclaim riding on 18’s. But, you won’t exactly be spinning those wheels off the line too much, as power, even with the 2.0-liter, is adequate at best. Sprints to 60 take a sleepy 8.9–seconds. 

The 1.6-liter Soul comes with a 6-speed manual, but a 6-speed automatic transmission is standard with the 2.0. Shifts were soft, and power slow to build on the way to a quarter mile time of 17.0-seconds and 84 miles-per-hour. 

But once we started tackling the cones, we began to find some “soul”-ful fun. Despite the more refined ride of the new Soul, handling has also improved. Turn in is quick, and both under and over steer can be found if you go looking. Brake performance is also impressive with consistent stops from 60 averaging a short 118-feet. 

Government Fuel Economy Ratings are little changed. The 2.0-liter rates 23-City, 31-Highway, and 26-Combined. Fortunately even our lead footed drivers were able to achieve 26.8 miles-per-gallon of Regular in a mixed loop of driving. The Energy Impact Score is good at 12.7-barrels of yearly oil usage and 5.6-tons of CO2 emitted.

Even with prices sneaking up just a little, value continues to be a strong selling point; with base Souls starting at $15,695. Mid-level Plus models, at $19,195 and top-of-the-line Exclaims start at $21,295. 

The Soul became an unqualified success in a single generation. And after some soul searching of our own, we conclude that the mostly very well executed updates will expand the 2014 Kia Soul’s mass appeal even more.

Specifications

  • Engine: 2.0-liter
  • Horsepower: 164
  • Torque: 151 lb-ft.
  • 0-60 mph: 8.9 seconds
  • 1/4 mile: 17.0 seconds @ 84 mph
  • EPA: 23 mpg city/ 31 mpg highway
  • Energy Impact: 12.7 barrels of oil/yr
  • CO2 Emissions: 5.6 tons/yr
2024 PHEV Roundup 1

2024 PHEV Roundup

You Don’t Have To Go Full EV To Live The EV Lifestyle

Episode 4338
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

You’ve heard us say many times that PHEVs– plug-in hybrid electrics– rather than BEVs– pure battery electrics– are a sound choice for many folks thinking about owning an electric vehicle. Well, buyers do seem to have gotten the message, as while recent sales of all-electric BEVs are down, PHEVs are suddenly skyrocketing. So, we thought we’d give you a close look at the range of PHEVs that are available today.

An EV when you want it, a fuel-efficient hybrid when you don’t; that’s the reason that PHEVs are so appealing, and why we feel they’re the perfect starter vehicle for this time of transition from internal combustion to all-electric. So, buckle up for an alphabetical rundown of all the mainstream PHEVs that are currently available.

BMW has many plug-in options, starting around $46,000 with the 2.0-liter I4-based 330e sedan and its 22 miles of EV range. There’s also a 750e sedan with more than 30 miles of EV range, and an xDrive50e X5 utility with closer to 40 miles of EV range, plus a high-performance XM with 738 horsepower. For partner Mini, a small 1.5-liter I4-based setup is available in the Cooper SE Countryman ALL4 utility with 18 miles of EV range, going for around $42,000.

Ford has been in the plug-in game for some time, and currently gets a great 37 miles of EV range out of their 2.5-liter I4-based setup which is available in both the Escape for about $36,000, and in its upscale Lincoln Corsair counterpart which goes for around $55,000.

Hyundai offers a pair of plug-in SUVs, the Santa Fe priced at around $43,000 and the Tucson which goes for about $40,000; both use a 1.6-liter I4 turbo engine. It shares with their corporate cousins over at Kia. The Sorento, which starts around $51,000, and the Sportage, beginning at $40,000, along with Kia’s Niro at $35,000. All get more than 30 miles of EV Range.

For the high-rollers, Land Rover has a six-cylinder P550e plug-in option for both the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport with 51 miles of range, starting around $119,000.

Mazda is very new to the plug-in game, with their inline-six based setup just recently becoming available in the new CX-70 and CX-90 SUVs, both with 26 miles of electric-only range, starting at $41,000.

Mercedes-Benz has offered quite a few PHEVs over the years, though currently their lineup only consists of the $70,000 GLE450e SUV with a 2.0-liter I4 and 48 miles of EV range; and a $128,000 3.0-liter I6 S580e sedan with 46 miles of range. Though a high-performance 671 horsepower AMG C 63 S E Performance will be blasting onto the scene soon.

We’re very familiar with this second-gen Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, having had both generations as part of our long-term fleet. The current Outlander PHEV goes for $41,000 and gets 38 miles of EV range from its 2.4-liter I4-based setup.

Stellantis has a wide array of PHEVs available across their many brands, starting with the 3.6-liter V6 Pentastar-packing Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid. It arrived way back in 2017 and currently delivers 32 miles of EV range for $40,000.

More recently, they’ve added the technology to the Jeep brand with 4Xe versions of the Jeep Wrangler for $52,000 and the Grand Cherokee at $61,000. And their most recent setup has just arrived in the compact crossover segment with 33 miles of battery in both the $45,000 Alfa Romeo Tonale and the $42,000 Dodge Hornet R/T.

All of this started with the Toyota Prius of course, which you can now get a Prime version of for $34,000 with a 2.0-liter I4 and 40 miles of range. The RAV4 Prime goes for $45,000 getting 42 miles. Plus, there’s a trio of Lexus PHEV’s rolling with bigger batteries on board, the NX450h+, the RX450h+, and the TX550h+, starting around $58,000.

Volkswagen PHEVs stick to their premium brands, starting with the $58,000 2.0-liter I4-based Audi Q5 55TFSI e quattro SUV with 22 miles of battery range.

Bentley adds electric-motor assistance to a 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 for both the $206,000 Bentayga SUV, which gets 18 miles of EV range, and the $217,000 Flying Spur sedan, which stretches it to 21 miles. That same setup is available at Porsche in E-hybrid versions of both the $93,000 Cayenne SUV and $110,000 Panamera sedan, getting up to 19 miles on battery power.

Finally, Volvo has had a plug-in version of their turbocharged 2.0-liter I4 since the T8 arrived with the XC90 back in 2016. Now with a Recharge label, an updated version is available in just about every vehicle in their lineup; the S60 and S90 sedans, XC60 and XC90 SUVS, and yes even in the V60 wagon, starting around $53,000 with up to 40 EV miles.

So, there you have it, the Bs-to-Vs of PHEVs. They really are an easy way to live the EV lifestyle today, without going all the way.