The redesigned 2014 Kia Soul moves beyond its hamster-based advantages for the new model year, earning a 5-star Overall Vehicle Score in the New Car Assessment Program of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). It's fairly big news, too, since it marks the first time that the Soul has elevated its safety performance to the 5-star level in NHTSA testing; the previous-generation model was a 4-star performer.
The additional star comes courtesy of some notable chassis changes to the 2014 Kia Soul, which resulted in a 5-star score in NHTSA's frontal-crash testing. An increased use of advanced steels made the difference here: Some 66 percent of the Soul's chassis is now composed of either high-strength or ultra-high-strength steel for added occupant protection. Then, the new Soul also maintains the 5-star side-crash score of the previous model, as well as its 4-star grade for rollover protection. And naturally, the 2014 Kia Soul also maintains a robust list of standard safety features like:
- Six air bags, including dual advanced front and front-seat-mounted side air bags, complemented by full-length side-curtain air bags
- A four-channel, four-sensor anti-lock braking system with electronic brakeforce distribution
- Electronic stability control with a traction-control system
For Michael Sprague, executive vice president of Marketing & Communications for Kia Motors America: “Soul’s 5-star safety rating speaks to Kia’s commitment to our customers. Our vehicles combine top-level safety with iconic design, world-class quality and, of course, the outstanding value for which our brand is well known. We took a great deal of care with the design and engineering of the second-generation Soul, and NHTSA’s testing has validated that effort.”
Kia's efforts also are being validated by its customers and, to a surprising extent, by industry third-parties as well. As regards the former, the recent introduction of the 2014 Kia Soul has provided a massive sales spike to the brand. While the 2013 Soul had been essentially treading water in the marketplace for most of the year, the 2014 model helped deliver 12,870 units and a 77.3 percent increase in volume in November. Not only was that enough to reclaim sales leadership for the Kia brand, it also was more than small cars like Chevy Sonic, Ford Fiesta and VW Golf—combined.
In terms of accolades, the 2014 Kia Soul also has managed to nab segment prizes in the ALG Residual Value Awards and the Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year Awards.
And it's on sale now, priced from $14,700.