By Rick Popely on July 29, 2014
Most significant changes: UVO eServices Package, which includes a multimedia/telematics system and a backup camera, is a new option for base models with automatic transmission.
Price change: Up $200 across the board. The base model starting price is $15,900, with the Plus at $19,400 and the Exclaim at $21,500, including destination.
On sale: End of July/early August
Which you should buy, 2014 or 2015? 2015
Kia's "urban hatchback" was redesigned for 2014, and it appeals to a broad range of buyers, from the under-21 crowd wanting to make a fashion statement on a limited budget to their grandparents looking for a functional vehicle that also is economical.
Related: 2014 Kia Soul Real-World Mileage
The base model starts at an enticing $15,900, but that is with a manual transmission. Adding an automatic transmission boosts the price a hefty $2,000, and for most buyers that will be the starting point (cruise control, remote entry and other features also come with the automatic). In addition, the base model uses a 1.6-liter four-cylinder that generates modest power, and the more expensive Plus and Exclaim models, starting at $19,400 and $21,500 respectively, come with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that shows more vigor. Destination charges, included in the prices above, have increased by $5 to $800.
Multimedia and connectivity are in high demand, and Kia's UVO is among the easier systems to pair with smartphones and use. UVO eServices, which gains Siri Eyes Free, Google local search, Wi-Fi tethering and other services for 2015, is standard on the Exclaim, but a $600 option on the Plus and an $800 option on the base model.
The base Soul looks like a bargain at first glance, but adding the automatic transmission, UVO eServices and the destination charge puts it close to $19,000. A Plus model can easily top $20,000 with options, so the Soul doesn't exactly qualify as cheap wheels. The Soul's sales were up more than 20 percent halfway through the calendar year, so dealers may not be inclined to offer big discounts.
The price increase is modest enough that it's worth a little extra dough to get a newer model year and the benefits of any running production refinements made since the Soul was redesigned for 2014.
Contributor Rick Popely has covered the auto industry for decades and hosts a weekly online radio show on TalkZone.com . Email Rick