Ask a car designer where he seeks his inspiration and it could be just about anywhere; the catwalks of Paris; the musculature of NASCAR racing; the grace of the feminine form.

Fair enough; whatever twiddles your pen top. But I have never come across any car man that was influenced by a hog.

I mean, unless you are a medieval lord off riding through the woods with your serfs looking to put meat on the baronial table are you really going to be shaped by the grace, beauty and elegance of a wild boar?

Well culture is a strange thing and obviously it fails to span oceans. In Korea they apparently take a different view of what is appealing and have based their new small car on a truffle-rootling swine.

Okay, consider the positives of piggy aesthetics; they are low to the ground with a good centre of gravity - if you've ever tried to turn one you’ll know what I mean; they are muscular, surefooted and strong. They look like they could equip themselves well in a fight. Their little legs flare in the right places making them wide and aggressive, sturdy and squat.

And the Soul is just the same; it's about as pretty as a pig but that’s not to say it isn’t appealing in a weird and worrying sort of way - and it does look better in black wearing a bright shade of red lipstick.

Kia reckons it is trendy and trend-setting. The marketing hype talks about design in a catwalk way and like the fashion houses of the world, the company plans to spruce and titivate the Soul every year.

There's obviously a great deal of pride that the model dares to be different and the plus is that you can always find it in the car park as nothing comes close to having those lines.

Soul is pretty close to a concept vehicle that first appeared in 2006 - except that was even more radical and flared and sported gargantuan alloys.

It looks a little SUV and follows a trend with new models this year - square is obviously the new curved sweetie. And there are benefits to be had internally from having square corners - namely space.

Inside is very spacious; it’s also nicely made and designed with attractive three pod instrument cluster and central control stack. Opt for the big sounds and it comes with a whopping sub woofer that will bounce your spleen all round your innards. Nice.

The hearse back end is also pretty useful when it comes to swallowing luggage. The boot is deep and well shaped making it a good transporter of the sizeable and bulky. If you want more then the back seats fold flat to provide van-like proportions.

Bizarre looks aside the Soul does drive exceptionally well especially when powered by the torquey 126bhp turbo diesel. It offers great punch and 50+ economy and, mated to the slick five speed box, is a useful cross country tool.

More than 700 miles were dispatched with consummate ease during the week including 330 in one go. No headaches, aching bones or sore muscles were even approached which is the sign of a very capable vehicle.

The seats feel firm at first but help you in the long run by offering orthopaedic support where it is needed. The quiet nature of the cabin, even at speed, leaves your other senses unassaulted making the Soul a great way to travel.

The wide track helps cornering and grip, the steering is less-assisted the faster you go for extra feel and the brakes are stop-on-a-sixpence powerful.

I've no idea who the Soul is designed to appeal to; young, old, trendy or square. But at least it is different; porcine yes, brave, definitely and certainly no pig in a poke.

Car facts

Model: Kia Soul 2 CRD

Engine: 1.6 litre, 14v, four cylinder turbo diesel

Drivetrain: five speed manual

Power: 126bhp

Top speed: 110mph

0-62mph: 11secs

Insurance group: 5

Miles per gallon (combined): 54.3

CO2 (g/km): 137

Price: from £12,495.00

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