When I was offered the chance to drive and review the 2014 Kia Soul, I jumped at the chance. After driving a SUV for the last 11 years, I began wondering if a return to a smaller car might be a good fit for me. However, with two young kids, I wasn’t sure how a smaller car would work with my family. Plus, I travel a lot with and without my family, so I wanted to see how a smaller car would handle the road for more than just a short jaunt around town. After a week of driving the car in different situations, here’s what I learned about the 2014 Kia Soul.
I received a bright red 2014 Kia Soul with black interior, the exact color combination I was hoping to get. It looks so sporty, and I couldn’t wait to check it out. Once seated in the driver’s seat, I took in the instrument panel and center stack, which included the voice-command navigation system with 8-inch display, HD Radio™, AM/FM/MP3/SiriusXM audio system, and rear-camera display. Needless to say, there was a lot of information directed my way as soon as the car started.
I definitely took some time getting acquainted with these systems, but once I did, they were pretty easy to follow. I really liked the navigation system, which not only plotted my route for me, but also provided additional information such as the speed limit for the road, nearby gas stations and the estimated time of arrival to my destination. My kids, on the other hand, were thrilled to have SiriusXM radio – my husband has this in his pickup truck – so they could listen to their favorite channels, Kidz Bop and Radio Disney.
Another favorite with the kids and me was the panoramic sunroof with the power sunshade. Unlike many sunroofs, this sunroof makes up the entire roof of the car, so the kids could look up and out at the sky and their surroundings as we drove down the road. They always asked to open the sunshade, and usually the sunroof, too. The sunroof opens approximately halfway, but the kids didn’t care. They just wanted to feel the fresh air on their faces. This is definitely one feature I miss from the 2014 Kia Soul.
Made for Family
Speaking of my kids, I had no trouble making my family at home in the 2014 Kia Soul. My son’s car seat slid right into the backseat with no problems at all. I also loved the dual cup holders in the folding rear center armrest. This put my kids’ drinks right at hand level, plus they were sturdy and deep, so I didn’t worry about drinks spilling over. In addition, there were bottle holders in the front and rear doors, providing yet more storage for our beverages.
The roomy interior also meant we each had plenty of space to get comfortable. My husband is tall, so I was worried that he would feel scrunched in the passenger seat. However, with 40.9 inches of legroom in the front, he had no problems moving around. The only real problem we had was getting in and out of the car. Because he’s used to a pickup and I’m used to a SUV, we both had to bend over a bit and “crawl” into the car. I bumped my head more than once entering and exiting the vehicle, but I’m sure I could adjust if I had the car for more than seven days.
Hitting the Road
Driving around town, the 2014 Kia Soul performed great. Thanks to its 2.0-liter, Inline 4 engine and six-speed automatic transmission, the car has good acceleration. In fact, I zipped all over town, thoroughly enjoying this small car. During the week, my mother-in-law and I went to the theater, which is approximately an hour or so from our hometown, and we had great fun cruising down the highway. I also loved that I had my pick of parking spaces in the cramped parking deck near the theater without worrying about squeezing in my usual SUV.
When it was time for my family to hit the road for a weekend getaway, I had some moments of worry that all of our stuff wouldn’t fit in the car’s cargo space. After all, I’m used to packing whatever I want and tossing it in the back of my SUV. However, the car’s 24.2 cubic feet of cargo space was up to the task. I was able to fit everything we packed into the back with room left over.
During our travels, I averaged 27 miles per gallon, which was a vast improvement over the sad 18 miles per gallon I get with my SUV. I definitely liked seeing this number, not to mention the lower cost at the pump for a full tank of gas. What I wasn’t fond of, though, was the ride for the long haul. When scooting around town, I wasn’t in the car long enough for it to be an issue.
However, after two hours, it seemed like I could feel every bump on the road. Perhaps this is because I’m used to riding high off the ground in my SUV, but it became uncomfortable after a while. Also, the seats, too, became uncomfortable after a few hours in them; I think if I had the car on a permanent basis I would be able to properly adjust the seat so that it was more comfortable. Unfortunately, seven days just wasn’t enough time.
The Final Verdict
At the end of my week with the 2014 Kia Soul, I was sad to see it go. There was so much about it that I really loved. I think it is a great car, especially those with short commutes. Hopefully, I’ll have another chance to drive a Soul again.