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…