Never judge a book by its cover is a cliché that I, for the most part, usually don’t like using. However, I have well and truly had my perspective flipped on its back by my most recent test drive, and in this case, this saying is more than adequate when referring to the iconic Kia Soul.
Kia Goldreef stands out as a hub for Kia products and services in the greater Johannesburg area. Being the go-to dealership for quality Kia vehicles for the last ten years in this region, Kia Goldreef has a long history of superb service and affordably priced vehicles. Headed by Dealer Principal Aboo Seedat, the Kia Goldreef Dealership is reputable for their dedication to client satisfaction.
Aboo is known by other industry veterans for his extensive knowledge and experience of the motoring industry. With experience across various roles within the motoring field, Aboo is a seasoned and humble Dealer Principal who is proud of his team and their achievements. Believing that Kia remains popular as a result of consistent quality products and services, Aboo and his team are looking forward to exciting events remaining for the rest of the year. The impending launch of the exciting new Ceed later in 2018 promises delivery of a “sporty and fast” vehicle equipped with a 1.6 turbo engine, panoramic sun roof and a full house of specs to rival other hot hatches on the market. The second launch to diarise is that of the much-anticipated Stinger, which will be released in September this year as a powerhouse and a luxury sedan (boasting a 3.3 litre twin-turbo V6 engine).
The New Vehicle Sales Manager at this dealership is Khalid Baba, who has dedicated half of his ten years of motoring experience exclusively to Kia. His personal motivation is to give action to that which you love doing, which in his case is being in this industry. He firmly believes that if you love what you do, you will be driven to do it to the best of your ability, and as such, aspires to work towards owning his own franchise one day. Khalid is confident in his ability to keep his clients happy by developing unique deals to suit each customer individually. Part of the success of this dealership, according to Khalid, lies in the sales team he manages, who work together extremely well and function more like an interdependent family who build on each other’s strengths. Similarly, even the Dealer Principal is valued as a family member who is there to help and assist when he is needed.
Another friendly face at the dealership is Pre-Owned Sales Executive, Abdur-Rahmaan Abed. With 4 years’ experience in the motoring industry, he emphasises his absolute passion for the Kia brand and sports cars. Abed, as everyone calls him, tells me that his love for meeting new people is what drives him to be a successful salesman. He is adamant that his aim is to please at the dealership.
Also appreciating the family-oriented nature of the dealership and the team that works there, it is apt that I am reviewing a vehicle that I would classify as an ideal family vehicle. The distinctive and unconventional shape of the Soul is what caught my eye in recent months, and to go back to the saying of not judging a book by its cover, I can candidly admit that I was a little sceptical of the Soul and its capabilities.
With a unique sense of symmetry and what I can only term funkiness in its design, the Soul is probably one of the easiest vehicles to distinguish on the roads. It has a solid, cube-inspired shape that has a sporty and somewhat jazzy undertone to it. The wheels are positioned right on the outer edge of the vehicle and a signature linear boot is present that is highlighted by the black-toned panelling on the rear. Personally liking rounded, curvaceous designs more, I found the look of this vehicle to be almost unnatural. That is, until I spent some time with the winner of the Red Dot award in the Car Design category for 2014.
With a total height of 1606 mm and with a total length of 4140 mm, the interior of the Kia Soul is unbelievable spacious. This is what caught my attention right off the bat when entering the cabin. The rear proved to be equally comfortable for both me and my children during a test run of how spacious the vehicle truly is with a tall adult in the back. Lots of headroom and a panoramic sunroof adds to the ambience of openness and space which I really liked. The interior of the top-of-the-range Soul variant I drove was wrapped in classic high-quality leather as I have come to expect from luxury Kia vehicles.
Most compact SUV’s have limited boot space, and the Soul is no different to be honest (especially with the distinctive boot shape). However, the seats do fold down quite nicely and there is a brilliant under-floor storage space that mitigates this problem somewhat, giving more than enough space for me personally. Having been prepared to not like the Soul all that much (thanks to what I had thought was a weird-looking vehicle), I was totally smitten by the general feel of the cabin, with all the really neat, high-end finishes and the sense of luxury that enfolds you. The lay-out of the controls and instrument cluster is fresh and modern, and everything is so user-friendly. Push-button start and a cooling glovebox are but a few of the features worth mentioning, although in the top-spec Soul, there isn’t many features you wouldn’t find included – this vehicle seems to have it all covered.
Boasting a 5-star safety rating, the Kia Soul also has numerous active, and passive, safety features, including all the airbags you need and Vehicle Stability Management across all terrains. Kia’s commitment to safety is carried throughout their fleet, and as such, left me with peace of mind and contentment whilst driving the vehicle, that my family and I are in good hands. Additionally, a rear-camera (which is standard across all six variants) made me quite happy too, as I generally dislike parking larger vehicles. The drive and manoeuvrability of this interesting vehicle proved to be no hassle at all.
Released with a variety of 1.6 and 2.0 litre engines, the Soul produces between 152 – 260 Nm torque and 91 – 116 kW depending on the specific variant and is also available in both manual and automatic. With its remarkable good looks, the Kia Soul really surpassed my expectations, having judged it as a rather odd car to begin with.
Sadly, I am told that this unique crossover SUV has been discontinued; however Kia Goldreef still host a fleet of these must-see vehicles as demo models on special. If you were hoping to catch one of these Soul-fully amazing vehicles for yourself – now is your chance. At prices that are almost too low for what this vehicle has to offer, Kia Goldreef is the place to go to find your own Soul.
Follow this link to get in touch with them today: http://kiagoldreef.co.za/
Journalist: Desh Bechan
Reporter: Inge Stols
Editor: Belinda Anderson