The all-new 2014 Kia Soul is now on sale at dealerships across the country with an MSRP of $14,700 and a lot to live up to. The original, which debuted in this country in 2010, leveraged the pop-culture success of a hamster-riffic ad campaign—as well as lovably oddball styling and plenty of versatility—to become a surprisingly high-volume entry for the brand. Even in August, with the 2013 version at the very end of its lifecycle, the Soul was one of just 10 small cars in the country to sell more than 10,000 units and finished ahead of mainstreamers like the Nissan Versa, Ford Fiesta, Honda Fit and Dodge Dart.
On the other hand, with Soul sales essentially flat on the year, it's clear that it's time for a change. The thing is, the changes themselves will be less clear, at least from the outside. Although the brand makes much of the 2014 Kia Soul’s redesign, the adjustments are fairly subtle, and the casual Kia customer may have a hard time picking them out. Perhaps the most notable upgrade is at the rear, where the Soul’s hatch now seems to be a more organic part of its overall design, with a more futuristic, high-tech appearance. Designers also made the new Soul wider and lower to showcase a more athletic and aggressive stance.
But it’s the upgraded driving experience that will be the true difference-maker.
“With a starting price below $15,000, the outstanding value customers have come to expect with the Soul remains firmly intact,” said Michael Sprague, executive vice president of marketing and communications at Kia Motors America. “What will come as a pleasant surprise is the level of refinement and sophistication the 2014 Soul brings to the segment at such an appealing price point.”