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2020 Soul EX
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Just purchased a 2014 Black Kia Soul with all black interior. Base configuration with automatic.

First impression is that it's hard to believe how nice of car this is for as little as I paid for it.

As for anyone debating spending the extra $$$ for a Plus, and thinking they are compromising by getting a base. I certainly don't feel that way. Personally, I thought the Base was a little smoother riding than the Plus, and it's hard to believe that the Base has about 30 less HP than the Plus. The base seems (to me at least) to have plenty power, and I preferred both the interior and the alloy wheels of the Base auto over the Plus. I went into the dealership(s) expecting to strongly prefer the Plus and obviously ended up with the Base and saved about $1500.

In terms of appearance, Kia did a great job with the exterior and an exceptional job with the interior. At least from what I've driven, I'd say the closest competitor in terms of ride, appearance, and size to a 2014 Soul is a base MINI Countryman, which of course is about $10,000 more expensive for a similarly configured vehicle. If you've only looked at 2014 Soul photo's so far, I think the car looks even better in person. Especially the Shadow (metallic) black, and the 16" alloys also look better in person. I went into the dealer thinking white, and once I saw the black in person - it was no contest.

Dash: What a great dashboard for a budget car. Very intuitive and well placed controls. Plus it just looks great and even better when lit up while driving in the evening.

As for features, at first (for about 30 seconds) I was annoyed with there not being a CD player. Less than a minute later, I was thinking who needs a CD player when you have BT streaming and can jack into an iPod using the USB port. It was easy to use the stereo controls to access iPod playlists and the sound quality is great with the base stereo. Just what I think is some distortion at (very) high volumes. Yeah, my hearing is not what it used to be. I wonder if some better 2ohm speakers would help much - or whether I'm hearing the limits of the Amp?

I found the seats very comfortable and supportive - and easy to find a comfortable position with the adjustable steering wheel. Granted, my longest drive has been about 15 miles. So, possibly my opinion could change after a few hundred mile drive, since the base seats do not have lumbar support. But, I think the base seats are fine.

For taking on passengers, for a little car - there's a lot of room in the back for passengers. And everyone that's ridden in the back so far, found it comfortable.

(minor) Criticisms: For what I paid, it's tough to complain about anything. So, these criticisms are more in line with how the 2014 Soul compares to something much more expensive like the MINI Countryman.

Ride: There seems to be a little bounce in the ride. Not quite the nailed to road feeling you get in a more expensive European car. Probably fixable with a more expensive independent rear suspension, which of course defeats the very low cost nature of the 2014 Soul, but I'm wondering if a little bit better set of rear shocks would help significantly. Don't know.

Seat belts: I'm probably showing my age, but I have a little bit of trouble fastening the front seat belt in the evening. Seems a little tougher than it needs to be to find the opening, which I think could use a little more of a guide. Although, I suspect this issue will disappear after driving a few more days.

Cheap looking Steering Wheel Buttons: Compared to the near luxury car look for the rest of the dash, the lower hands free and trip steering wheel buttons are kind of low rent looking.

Cargo net: Mine came with one from the factory. Tried it for a few days and it just seems to get in the way.

No center speaker on top of the dash. It's clear that Kia left a spot on top of the dash for a center speaker. But the Base stereo doesn't have a center speaker. So, the plastic insert that Kia used instead of a speaker grill, looks a little out of place. I hate to say it, but a fake speaker grill might not even be a bad idea. Or is it that expensive to add a cheap center speaker to the Base stereo?

But that's it so far. Bottom line - it's a great car for the money.

 

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I have to agree 100% on the speakers. Obviously this wasn't a selling point for me on the Soul but at the same time was VERY disappointed in the speakers. Especially with them marketing this as a "party car" I wasn't expecting kickers or bose by any means but.......yeah. For my 2000 explorer I can turn the volume to HALF and it's BLARING. For the same loudness in this soul I have to turn it up to 35 out of 45 and at that point you start getting distortion. Was a little thrown off like you about no cd player but like you there's SO many options. The cd player is going the way of the 8-track and cassette. lol I thought the same thing as you about throwing a speaker or maybe even subwoofer in the center of the dash. Haven't seen anyone do it yet though so I'm waiting on that to see how hard/expensive it is to do.

I agree too about being happy with the base. There are a few things I would have wanted from the plus model. I've been spoiled with my explorer having automatic headlights. I know, I know. You don't "need" them, but it's nice after you've gotten use to them. Same with auto-dim rear view mirror. I feel the same way about the seat belts. It seems like they're "buried" in the seats. Don't get me wrong, this just means you don't have a seat belt connector digging into the side of your leg like some vehicles.

Overall though, the wife and I are really glad we got it. Especially since we're seeing 28ish mpg around town compared to the 16-17 my explorer gets. lol Glad to hear you are enjoying the one you got!
 

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Great write up, and I agree with a lot of what you said. This is an amazing car for the price we paid. We also bought a new Audi Allroad around the same time, so I'm really surprised how much I like driving the Kia in comparison. I got the Base since it's the only way to get a manual. Should probably write up my impressions as I'm getting close to 500 miles.
 

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2020 Soul EX
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Discussion Starter #7
Few updates of note.

Forum member conwelpic made the excellent suggestion to check my tire pressure to see if would resolve the somewhat bouncy ride that I reported earlier. And yes, my factory set tire pressure was about 40 psi, instead of the recommended 33 psi. I reset the pressure to 33 psi and the car now rides noticeably smoother. Odd that the dealer doesn't change the tire pressure to 33 psi as part of the prep.

As for the base stereo. I changed the sound settings to +2 for the Bass and Treble and set the midrange to the center position - and the stereo sounds (to me at least) better at higher volumes. Although, with the bass and treble turned up, I'm now not turning up the volume quite so high as I did previously, and I suspect that part of why the stereo sounds better. Again, part of the dealer prep might be to pre adjust the stereo. When I first checked, the treble was turned all the way up in the sound settings and the bass and midrange were at their center positions. Obviously, it didn't sound quite right at first until I monkeyed around with the sound settings.
 

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Any update now that you have some additional miles? Any surprises you have found?
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Any update now that you have some additional miles? Any surprises you have found?
No problem. I think I'm up to about 800 miles now. As for surprises, none really. I already mentioned about the over inflated tires that were affecting the ride, which have since been reset to the recommended pressure, the ride is now less jittery.

I'm still surprised at how nice of car the base 2014 Kia Soul is for as little as I paid for it. Well, I guess that is sort of one surprise :) Again, I don't feel like I compromised by going with the base instead of a plus or exclaim model. Although, I likely would have paid extra for the 2.0L engine as a stand alone option on the base. Now, I wouldn't. Sorry Kia, you missed out on a few extra hundred $$$.

As for the ride, I noticed that the Soul seemed to feel less tippy and more car like if I lowered the seat. The downside is the steering wheel is up maybe an inch more that I prefer, even when fully tilted down. Not bad, but increasing the steering wheel tilt range seems like a fairly easy and near zero dollar design change for Kia.

Again, as I mentioned above, there's still some distortion (to my untrained ears) from the base stereo at very high volumes. Possibly the (missing) center dash mounted speaker would add a little more sound to the cabin and avoid having to turn up the volume quite so much. Don't know, but this seems like another very inexpensive change. A few hundred dollar stereo upgrade option instead of the $1400? Infinity Stereo seems like an obvious thing/option to make available on the base. I would have paid. Yet another few hundred dollar option that Kia missed out on :) Other base stereo observations, I still do not miss having a CD player. Bluetooth or even just jacking into an old iPod is the only way to go. Even though I'm gripping about the high volume performance, it really is a great stereo. Although maybe bumping up the size of the track numbers on the display would be helpful.

Trunk. I really like the rubber cargo tray liner that came as a factory option. I've had a couple of wet and muddy things in the trunk recently and for once didn't have to worry about trying to find something to put underneath. For those that think the trunk is too small (with seats up), I find that I like the current size. Big enough to put most of what I need in and small enough, that what I typically carry doesn't constantly slide around while I'm driving. Although, when I press the open button on the remote, I do miss hearing the unlocking clunk sound that I heard on my previous few cars, that let me know that the trunk is now unlocked. The Soul trunk doesn't make any sounds that I can hear, when unlocking.

Mileage has been typically 26 mpg in the city and a little better than 30mpg on the highway. Just like what the sticker says it should be.
 
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