The 2016 Kia Soul can appeal to a variety of different car buyers, including families. That was recently confirmed by U.S. News and World Report, as the publication named the vehicle the “Best Compact Car for Families.” More than 250 vehicles (spanning 21 different categories) are evaluated by U.S. News, with the judges relying on reviews, safety ratings, and a variety of specs.
“We’re honored that U.S. News named the Soul the Best Family Car within the compact category for 2016,” said Orth Hedrick, the vice president of product planning at KMA. “The iconic urban passenger vehicle has numerous features geared toward families on the go who are looking for advanced driver assistance systems, cutting-edge technology, spacious passenger seating, and cargo space.”
“The 2016 Kia Soul is a great choice for families who want a vehicle with a small footprint, but plenty of interior space,” said Jamie Page Deaton, Managing Editor of U.S. News & World Report. “In addition to its roomy and comfortable passenger cabin, the Soul has the safety features to give parents peace of mind and the entertainment features to keep the peace in the backseat.”
It’s all well and good that the nameplate earned this distinctive honor, but what actually makes the Kia Soul such a great family vehicle? Let’s find out…
If you’re going to be driving around your children (and, presumably, their friends), you’re going to need enough cargo room to fit all of their school or sports equipment. The 2016 Kia Soul provides all of the necessary cargo room you’d need, including 24.2-cubic-feet of space behind the rear seat (without the Luggage Under Tray). If you’re only bussing around one child, you can hide all of the rear seats and take advantage of 61.3-cubic-feet of space (without Luggage Under Tray).
Plus, thanks to the 60/40 split-folding rear seats, drivers aren’t limited to how many passengers they can fit. The interior can be manipulated in multiple ways, so you shouldn’t have any issues fitting the occupants and all of their accompanying cargo.
If you’re going to be traveling on a lengthy road trip, you’ll likely rely on the Soul’s assortment of technological amenities to keep everyone entertained. The 4.3-inch color touch-screen will be responsible for much of the multimedia aspects, allowing drivers to listen to their favorite tunes via the SiriusXM Audio System or even their MP3 player. The audio can either be enjoyed via the standard six-speaker sound system (with dash-mounted tweeters) or the incredible Infinity Audio System, which provides a center speaker, subwoofer, and amplifier.
If you’re traveling with younger children, they’ll probably get a kick out of the interior lighting. These bright, colorful compliments will operate based on the music, and drivers can even activate an immersive lighting show. If you’re looking to distract your younger passengers for a while, this may be the most logical route.
Luckily, if worse comes to worst, your children can constantly stay connected with their smartphones. The Soul’s occupants can keep their gadgets charged via the USB/Auxilliary Input jack, so nobody will have to worry about falling off the grid.
When we focus on a “family vehicle,” we traditionally zero in on the features and amenities that would appeal to younger occupants. However, the actual driver of the vehicle has to enjoy the ride, too. The engineers of the 2016 Kia Soul clearly recognized this, designing their mechanics to deliver an enjoyable driving experience.
Those operating the Kia Soul will appreciate the solid power specs coming from the pair of engine options. The 1.6-liter Inline-4 engine can pump out 130 horsepower and 118 pounds-feet of torque, while the 2.0-liter unit delivers 164 horsepower and 151 pounds-feet of torque. When coupled with the available transmission options (including a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic with overdrive), drivers can expect a peaceful, quiet ride.
The accompanying mechanics combine to present one of the best driving experiences in the subcompact segment. MacPherson Struts make up the front suspension, while the rear suspension consists of a coupled torsion beam axle. This makes the Soul incredibly easy to control, but it doesn’t compromise any of the enjoyment of operating such a vehicle. The power steering will make the drive a whole lot easier, and the four-wheel disc Antilock Braking System will provide maximum stoppage power.
Best of all, owners can actually enjoy their vehicle without having to make constant stops at the pump. With a 24 city/30 highway mile per gallon fuel economy, drivers will find that they’re not emptying their pockets in order to enjoy their new Soul.
If you’re traveling with your children, your utmost priority is keeping them protected. Fortunately, the 2016 Kia Soul contains a number of safety technologies that should prevent you from being in a wreck in the first place.
For instance, the Forward Collision Warning System and Lane Departure Warning System will alert the driver when a crash seems imminent. If a driver isn’t paying attention to the car in front or beside them, they may find themselves in an unexpected collision. With several visual and audible warnings, accidents should be kept to a minimum.
Meanwhile, technologies like Electronic Stability Management will keep your Soul on its intended path, while the Electronic Brake-Force Distribution will manipulate the brakes for the best possible deceleration. The vehicle even offers the Hill Start Assist Control, so drivers can rely on their brakes whether they’re traveling uphill or downhill.
Of course, collisions aren’t completely avoidable, but the Soul’s sturdy design should keep everyone protected in the event of an emergency. The various airbags found throughout the cabin will provide a cushion between you and the rest of the interior, and the seat belt pretensioners should keep everyone in place. The rugged and sturdy design, which includes front and rear crumple zones and side-impact door beams, should help to absorb the majority of the collision’s energy.
Best of all, the vehicle is incredibly affordable, with an MSRP below $16,000. The price, performance, and safety features will make any parent content, while the children will appreciate the roomy and technology-filled interior. The 2016 Kia Soul truly offers all of the attributes that families often seek in a car, thus justifying its “Best Compact Car for Families” award.