New for 2015The 2015 Kia Soul adds the UVO eServices package as an option to the Base trim, and the Umber Color Package to the Exclaim trim.
Vehicle OverviewThe Kia Soul is a five-passenger four-door compact hatchback that fits above the Rio and, in price, alongside the compact Forte in the automaker’s lineup. A zero-emission electric Kia Soul is also available.
SummaryThe front-drive 2015 Kia Soul hatchback can be equipped with a six-speed automatic or manual transmission. The base engine is a 1.6-liter I-4 that makes 130 hp and 118 lb-ft of torque, and is good for an EPA-estimated 24/30 mpg city/highway with either available transmission. The more powerful engine, a highly recommend upgrade in our books, is a 164-hp 2.0-liter I-4 that churns out 151 lb-ft of torque, and is rated at an EPA-estimated 23/31 mpg, only comes paired to the automatic, and can be equipped with an eco-package (Plus trim only) that bumps city mpg to 24. We'd go with the 2.0-liter I-4 engine, which comes standard on the mid- and high-level trims is roughly matches the fuel economy of the smaller engine.
The 2015 Soul has a number of interesting standard and optional features -- some not available at any price on its competitors. A three-mode adjustable steering system is standard, while a sound system with color-changing speakers, navigation on an 8-inch screen, an engine stop-start system, hands-free keyless access, Nappa leather seats, heated and cooled front seats, a heated steering wheel, HID headlights, and a panoramic sunroof are all optional.
The 2015 Kia Soul received a five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA (out of a possible five stars), and is considered a 2014 Top Safety Pick by the IIHS.
Soul EVThe Soul EV is powered by a 109-hp electric motor that produces 210 lb-ft of torque, and feeds the power through a single speed transmission to the front wheels. The EPA rates the Kia for 93 miles of driving range, putting the Soul EV second to only the Tesla Model S in the segment. Three charging ports allow for a range of charge times: 120-volt in 24-hours, 240-volt in 4-5 hours, and at a fast-charging 480-volt station takes just 33 minutes to charge to 80%.
What We ThinkThe Kia Soul has been an unexpected hit in the small car category, bringing value and versatility to the segment. Revisions in 2014 made the Soul’s ride quieter and more stable, while the steering has been improved. In a Comparison between a 2014 Kia Soul and a 2014 Corolla LE Plus the Kia was selected as the better car because it is more of a total package. One editor said, “This is the first Kia I’ve driven that has good steering weight and overall dynamics.” We called the suspension “planted and solid,” even over rough Michigan roads.
In the Soul EV we noted that Kia planned an electric version of the hatchback from the design stage of the second-generation car, which means the battery is placed low below the seats. The lower center of gravity, and the relatively mild loss of storage space, meant for a less compromised vehicle than is typical with electric versions of popular compacts. The low center of gravity also helped the balance of the Soul EV, contributing to a planted feeling that lacked body roll. No matter the flavor, the Soul is a refreshing take on the compact car, infusing some crossover elements of versatility, without losing the value expected in the segment.
- More powerful 2.0-liter I-4 matches the fuel economy of the smaller engine
- Electric version fun to drive
You Won’t Like
- Fuel economy not class leading
- Getting the base 1.6-liter
- Can only get EV in select markets
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