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Kia Soul hands-on

An idiosyncratic and good-value crossover

The 2014 Soul is Kia’s second stab at the hotly competitive small crossover category following the Soul’s first iteration in 2009. The car has seen success in the US, selling more than 100,000 units in 2012, but fairly bland styling and a harsh ride meant the first Soul didn’t find a big audience in the UK.

Kia Soul Connect Plus

Kia is looking to reach a young and affluent audience with the latest Soul, tweaking its design in an attempt to make it stand out. The car’s boxy styling provoked strong opinions from the Expert Reviews staff, with the majority failing to find anything to like about the way the car looks. However, those who did like its appearance were particularly fond of the bulging rear-end curves and the slightly hunched-over front-end.

We took the mid-range, £17,500 Connect Plus 1.6 CRDi diesel for a spin around Leeds and the surrounding Yorkshire countryside. The Korean firm expects this model to be the best-seller in the UK, and it is nearly £5,000 more expensive than the base Start petrol model, which we also drove.

The Soul Connect Plus comes with a generous array of extras which includes an 8in touchscreen. This screen provides you with a satnav system, telephony and media playback, with all audio being routed through the excellent Infinity sound system.

Kia Soul steering wheel

Also present is a fairly stylish, stitched faux leather steering wheel, a six-speed shifter. The 2014 Soul is a little longer and taller than the previous model, with a generous amount of space for passengers and luggage alike.

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