Kia Soul 1.6 CRDi Connect Plus, motoring review: This car makes my head hurt to look at but it does stand out from the crowd
ENGINE CAPACITY 1.6-litre turbodiesel
POWER OUTPUT (BHP @ RPM) 126 @ 4,000
TOP SPEED (MPH) 112
FUEL ECONOMY (MPG) 56.5
CO2 EMISSIONS (G/KM) 132
It's not often that I drive a real stinker of a car any more. Oddly, I quite enjoy the process of testing a rattletrap, but sadly for me most car manufacturers have, at the very least, cracked the art of making an adequate enough family car.
Imagine my delight, then, when the new Kia Soul arrived on my drive. As a rule, I tend to avoid making judgements on how a car looks (you have your own eyes for that), but I can't resist with the Soul. It must have hit every robotic arm on the ugly production line at the firm's Gwangju factory in South Korea.
Kia has been taking Europe by storm since the financial crisis with a strong range of affordable, attractive and capable cars, but something has clearly gone wrong here.
Kia reportedly tried to soften its unconventional looks from the last-generation model, but the Soul is still far too top heavy, oddly squared off and in the lime green of my test model, looks like a squashed vegetable stock cube.
Put simply, it makes my head hurt to look at. And it baffles me why a reviewer from a prestigious car magazine – one that gets excited about new cup-holder technology – called it "stylish". On the road, things get worse still with overly light steering, a mushy ride, vague brakes and the constant feeling that I'm slightly disconnected from the road. The only redeeming factor is the 1.6-litre diesel engine.
For all my complaints, though, there was something fun about driving this Kia for a week; wherever I went, from supermarket car parks to motorway service stations, I got admiring glances and even hushed compliments from retired couples and young parents.
As far as I can tell, these are exactly the sort of people that usually buy terribly named crossovers, such as the Nissan Qashqai and Vauxhall Mokka. These are cars that look (and drive) like damp tea-towels that have been discarded on the kitchen floor. I can only assume the aforementioned magazine reviewer was one of these people too. But I've broken my first rule of car reviewing and I suppose, I should (grudgingly) admit that in a car park of bland-looking cars, the Soul does stand out from the crowd. But I still don't like it.
Life & Style blogs
Who is Teresa Fidalgo? Debunking the fake ghost story that's got Instagram spooked
Astrological signs are almost all wrong, as movement of moon and sun throws out zodiac
The distress of some Zayn Malik fans is real, and they need support, say experts
The food fad that's starving Bolivia
Gay marriage, one year on: Couples mark first anniversary of same-sex marriages
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
- 1 East 17 bandmember Brian Harvey in 'very desperate situation’
- 2 Vladimir Putin says Russia will fight for the right of Palestinians to their own state
- 3 WrestleMania 31 results: Seth Rollins stuns WWE as he cashes in Money in the Bank contract to claim title from Brock Lesnar
- 4 Ohio Democrat Teresa Fedor speaks out during abortion debate to reveal she has been raped – and is interrupted by laughter from Republicans
- 5 Germanwings plane crash: I have depression. That doesn't make me a psychopath
£35000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen withi...
£13676.46 - £15864.28 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Re...
£13000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Every day they get another 1000...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of refrigeration, mechan...