Sandwiched between the full-size Range Rover and the ‘squashed’ Evoque is the favourite school run SUV for posh mums – the Sport.
And having only driven 12 miles to Kemble railway station and back, I can tell you already that this latest Sport is one of the most complete cars I have ever driven, as well as being definite yummy mummy material.
Not only is it supremely comfortable, beautifully built and easy on the eye, it drives like a GTI and still returns exceptional MPG. Perfect.
You are paying premium money for the Range Rover Sport but as an all-rounder, it simple blows away anything offered by Mercedes or BMW. Just what you need for dropping the little ones off at St Trinians…
More tomorrow after I’ve driven down to Cornwall…
I can’t deny the Soul doesn’t have kerbside appeal. It’s eye-catching – whether you like the box-shaped image or not. It’s a talking point and that has to be good, doesn’t it?
It’s superbly finished inside, offers loads of space, even more equipment and is quite capable of around 44mpg in real-world driving conditions.
So what’s wrong with it? Well, buyers looking for a compact SUV will also consider the equally unorthodox Nissan Juke and quirky Skoda Yeti. And I don’t think the Kia has that same X factor to make it a big seller.
Moreover, the fact is the Soul drives more like a van than a car. It’s going to struggle in the fastest growing sector of car sales in the UK. And remember, if you are tempted, please don’t buy a Mint Green one…
I remember when they originally launched the Chrysler PT Cruiser. Cool, we all thought, signing up for the press launch, finally a funky SUV that didn’t look like it had been squeezed from a jelly mould.
That enthusiasm soon passed, once we had actually driven it. Just like the Chrysler 300C, what appeared to be a great car was actually a letdown. Both cars drove like a shed on wheels.
Now, I can’t say the Soul merits that sort of label but it definitely doesn’t perform that well on the road. Big shame – I was hoping for a happy ending!
While body control is surprisingly good considering the boxy shape, the steering is best described as vague and it doesn’t cope well with uneven surfaces.
Yes, it’s an SUV not a sports car but sad to say, it doesn’t come anywhere near a Mazda CX-5 or the Nissan Qashqai…
Hell, the interior of the Soul is real quality! I mean it’s up there with BMW and Audi. The binnacle cover over the instrument panel is made of leather with slick stitching that matches that on the seats and steering wheel; the front speakers sit like flat toadstools on top of the dashboard.
Sitting in the Kia right now and I honestly think you would be hard pushed to find a better cabin for this sort of money. The funky exterior styling may not be everybody’s cup of char but inside, it’s very, very good.
The seats are especially smart. They are made of that same quality material you find in the Fiat 500. It’s the only stuff I prefer over leather and feels like it will last a life time.
Centre stage is the 7-inch, touchscreen sat nav. I promise you, it’s better than VW, Ford or Peugeot. Even for technophobes, it’s mighty simple to use…
I don’t know if the check-girl at Tesco just wanted to make conversation about the Soul but it was a good opening line regardless.
Spotting my punnet of raspberries on the conveyor belt, she whispered that Tesco was charging £2 for 170kg of the soft fruit when last week it was the same price for 200kg.
Cheeky – especially as the container was just the same size!
The Kia? Well, she hated the mint green colour (of course) but didn’t find the punnet-shaped styling offensive. Was it any good, she asked. Y
es, it was, I replied. And unlike Tesco raspberries, there’s a lot more to this new Soul that the old version…
I’m surprised the original Soul didn’t prove more popular than it did. I’m not sure the majority of the British public was ready for a funky-looking SUV – they was normal stuff, built by Ford and Vauxhall. Eek.
With the latest version, the box-shaped look is pretty much the same but Kia has made big improvements to the ride quality, interior trim and styling.
It’s still not the most interesting of SUVs to drive, nowhere near as entertaining as the Renault Captur or Nissan Juke.
But first impressions suggestion this is a hugely practical car, that feels well-built and spacious…
Striking looks, classy cabin – what’s not to like about the latest Kia Soul? Well, apart from the mint green paint job on our test car, this heavily updated version of the small SUV seems like great value for money.
Kia’s reputation for building reliable, well-sorted cars has grown rapidly in recent years and with every model backed by a 100,000-mile/7-year warranty, it’s a brand that’s dented sales of both Ford and Skoda alike.
Back to that mint green paintwork. Quite frankly, it’s dire. And it’s not just me. George, the farm’s tractor driver, is always a good person to run car colours past. He has to drive a yellow JCB all day, so he really does know his onions.
Mint green is a no-no Kia- does anybody really pick that colour over a nice titanium grey, or even red for that matter? At least you can’t see the paint from the inside…
More tomorrow when I’ve been for a spin in sunglasses…
I’ve just come off the phone from interviewing Sofia Helin, the actress who plays Swedish detective Saga in Nordic noir drama, The Bridge. She drives an alarmingly green Porsche 911 in the series – so what does she think of orange cars?
Sofia, who graduated with a degree in philosophy in the 1990s, thought long and hard about the answer. “I think the green car is perfect for Saga’s dysfunctional character – orange would be one step too far.”
So, there you have it. Conclusive proof from the coolest woman on the planet that driving an orange Captur, or any other orange car, really isn’t good for the soul.
Unfortunately, her own image was then slightly dented when I asked what car she drives in real life. You guessed, a thumping great Volvo…
It’s a flat Monday at Car Couture HQ. The World Cup has ended, we’re out of the Tour de France and I’ve almost finished my box set of Breaking Bad. Not even the orange blob that is the Captur can raise a smile.
This morning I noticed the test car has a tow bar. Interesting, I thought. Renault don’t offer their urban SUV with a four-wheel drive set up but I just wondered if it could cope with a deeply rutted dirt track across the farm…
It’s a route I take every week or so in the summer, humping a load of grass cuttings to the giant compost heap. My ancient Land Rover does it in high ratio no problem – how would the Captur fair?
Easily, as it happens. It seems that the extra 200mm of ground clearance does at least come in useful for something, apart from peering over hedges. Shame Renault can’t offer a 4×4 version, I’m sure there would be a market out there…
Yesterday was a good one for orange – Netherlands won third place in the World Cup and the Marching Season kicked off without much trouble in Northern Ireland. However, I’m still not sure about the in-yer-face nature of the sunburst paint on my Captur.
I took a peep at the Captur colour pot online this morning and what Renault might like to call ‘personalisation’ is really just encouraging people to scream about a very middle of the road SUV. Are there really motorists out there who are so enamoured with their Captur that they want to shout about it?
Well, apparently yes. Apart from the garish colour schemes, a quick search of the Internet turned up the Captur Owners Club. I kid you not – there are people uploading images of their beloved Captur, with outpourings of love for their French fancies.
Some have even given them nicknames like Misty and Kucho – one chap has a picture of his gleaming Captur on his wedding day (adequate grounds for divorce in my book, and I should know).
This may be great news for people who want to set up a website for interestingly-shaped navel dust but surely there’s more to life than this, Nandos and out of town shopping?
Make your own mind up: