2014 Kia Soul is versatile, affordable and cool
It’s a fact that I like smart cars. I’ve often been complimented on my choice of cars that I own, simply because they exceed the expectations of people in some way, usually in carrying capacity, mileage or performance.
I’ll let you in on a secret. It’s because I like a class of car I refer to as ‘hotboxes.’ Hot, because they’re stylish, usually oriented toward younger drivers and include good audio systems, and boxes because, well, they’re boxes. And if mankind’s thousands of years of stacking, moving and storing things is any indication, boxes can hold a lot of things.
The 2014 Kia Soul I drove from Grand West Kia is a shining example of this ‘hotbox’ class. Forget the EPA classification as a ‘small station wagon,’ and read it as hotbox. You won’t be sorry.
Outside, the Soul is a hip-looking mix of angles with a sprinkling of gentle curves, and it’s not just for show. Those huge vertical tail lights on the rear corners? They’re visible, meaning you’re safer. The flat sides and gentle shoulders? Thicker, safer doors that also happen to be big and easy to climb into, even on a vehicle the size of the Soul.
Why do I like bigger doors? I’m 6’10” and I like to be able to climb in and out of cars easily. I also like being able to fit into cars, and the Kia Soul happens to be one of the rare ones that I fit into easily. This particular model has the gorgeous panoramic sunroof, which is new for 2014, so that headroom took a bit of a hit, but it’s worth it, I think, and definitely a plus for those even a few inches shorter.
While I wouldn’t want to sit behind myself, for a more average sized group than me and my dopplegangers, (such as family) the Soul has a surprising amount of room. The rear seats can even fold flat to create an impressive cargo area for anything from a trip to the hardware store to yard sale-ing. (I can honestly say I’ve never tried to write yard sale-ing before).
All of this in a car that averages out at 26 mpg, that’s also a kick-in-the-pants to drive.
“[My wife and I] bought a KIA Sedona minivan and a Soul, with the idea that she would take our kids around in the Sedona, while I used the Soul to go to work,” Aaron Ziek, general sales manager at Grand West Kia said. “It didn’t quite work out that way. I usually end up driving the Sedona to work, since my wife took over the Soul.”
It’s not just the box, clearly, the hot is there too. I drove the “!” model (Kia verbalizes it as “exclaim” but I say call a “!” a “!” if you’re going to.), which is the highest trim level, but even the basic model has plenty of cool features. Inside this one, with the ‘Sun & Sound’ package, the premium Infinity audio system meets a larger and cooler touchscreen control that features SIRIUSXM and Bluetooth capability.
For the cool-feature fan, there’s even music-responsive lighting on the speaker system.
Staring deep into the dash, the design and fit and finish of the 2014 Kia Soul is worth a look, even if you’re a fan of the old style (or if you’re not). If you’re looking for a smart, fun-to-drive car that gets great mileage and easily shifts from light cargo duty to a surprisingly roomy people-mover, check out the Kia Soul at Grand West Kia, 2980 Highway 50 on Orchard Mesa.