Whether they bike, kayak or ski, urban drivers with active lifestyles must walk a fine line between finding cargo space for all their gear and fitting their vehicle into tight city parking spots. According to Carspondent, the Kia Soul compact crossover is particularly well suited for that balancing act, as it was recently named Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year by the auto-review site for the second straight year in the urban category.
The Kia Soul improved its chances of repeating in the Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year awards with a redesign for the 2014 model year. Receiving a new chassis that is longer, wider and stiffer, the 2014 Kia Soul offers more cargo space for outdoor gear while boasting a more dynamic and more comfortable ride. Even the opening of the rear liftgate has been widened by 2.4 inches so that larger equipment can fit inside, but if drivers do run out of space, the 2014 Soul comes standard with roof-rack mounts. To be considered for the urban category, Carspondent required that each model be priced at $20,000 or less, a mark the new Soul undercuts by thousands of dollars.
“Active urban drivers usually like to forge their own path, and the new Kia Soul lets them stand out with youthful styling while providing the versatility they need to switch between crowded streets and the great outdoors,” said Scott Levy, general manager of Rosen Kia of Elgin, a Kia dealer in Illinois. “Soul owners will also enjoy the trip to the trailhead a lot more with the revised front and rear suspensions and a chassis that is about 29 percent stiffer than its predecessor.”
The more responsive demeanor of the 2014 Kia Soul is reflected on the outside with bold touches inspired by the automaker’s Track’ster concept, including a large trapezoidal lower air intake, a “floating” body-color insert on the tailgate and optional fog lights mounted lower and closer to the outer edges of the front fascia. Inside the cabin, the circular-pattern theme carries over from the Track’ster, while passengers benefit from the use of soft-touch materials on the instrument panel, door panels and center console.
No matter how far drivers travel for their next adventure, they can stay connected on their trip with the 2014 Soul’s newly available eight-inch touchscreen, which provides access to the second-generation UVO eServices infotainment system. Owners can now control Pandora Internet radio directly from the touchscreen or with voice commands, while even the base Soul model features Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free phone calls.
“Staying active as a city dweller usually means juggling a lot of things on your plate, but the new Kia Soul allows you to safely make phone calls and music selections while keeping your eyes on the road,” added Levy. “Also, if drivers really want to treat themselves after a long hike or bike ride, they can opt for luxury amenities like ventilated and heated leather-trimmed seats and a panoramic sunroof.”