Sprint Review: Kia Soul 1.6 A/T DSL Smart

One new car, just a few hours behind the wheel.

What you need to know: Now in its second generation, the Kia Soul is a strange-looking box of a car which is actually quite versatile and good to drive. With LED’s here, more space there and fresh drive trains, gen two retains the proportions of its ancestor (2009-2014) while upping specification levels.

This model scored four out of five stars in the more stringent Euro NCAP crash test and provides ABS brakes, six airbags and active headrests in all models. More expensive and powerful Souls get electronic brake assistance, vehicle stability control and hill-start assistance.

Some more facts: Choose between 1.6 and 2L petrol or 1.6L turbo-Diesel, 6-speed manual or auto. We tested the top-spec Diesel Auto, finished in lovely red for people called Pat who own a black and white cat. Prices range from N$249,995 to N$350,995 with a 5-year/150k warranty and 4-year/90k service plan.

Toys include air-con, auto lights, remote central locking, rear view camera, Bluetooth, USB/mp3/Aux sound system, six speakers, three steering modes, trip computer, power windows and power mirrors. Bigger models get better trim, snazzier lights, cruise control and extra storage solutions.

Where we went: The local mini-grocer, a friend’s house and a raucous Namibian wedding. Our Soul provided ample room for four adults, it rides comfortably and has decent grip levels. The new turbo-Diesel is extremely eager, used an average of 7.7L/100km while the six-speed auto is unbelievably smooth.

You should watch out for: Soul’s HID headlights are great, the halogen main/high beams not so much. The big front door speakers oscillate through various colours or thump along to your music’s beat, although our car suffered from terrible radio reception. The driver’s footwell has an exposed steering rod.

Why you’ll want one: Individuality and looks – everyone in our office fell in love with the Soul’s ease of use and characterful looks, never mind this top model’s punchy Diesel and silky auto’box. There are plenty of suitably weird colours to choose from and don’t shy away from the cheaper petrol models.


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