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Kia Soul Samba 1.6 CRDi
7/10

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Road Test

Kia Soul Samba 1.6 CRDi

Driven April 2009

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Kia does diesel better than it does petrol, and the Soul is a perfectly encapsulated case in point. Both 1.6-litre four-pot engine options produce a fairly humble 125bhp (ish), but while the petrol humps uncomfortably along with just 115lb ft of twist, the diesel produces a much more useful 191lb ft.

It doesn't sound like much, but the extra torque makes the diesel a no-brainer; it's punchier through the gears, as responsive, and at ease with the Kia's mass. The petrol just feels rubbish in comparison.

The only slight fly in the ointment is that the diesel carries a grand's worth of premium over the petrol, and you'll take a good few thousand miles to claw that back when the petrol gets 43.5mpg and the diesel only abit more at 54.3mpg on the combined cycle.

We'd also advise against the 18-inch wheels unless you're very committed to the style - even though they look good, they degrade the ride comfort to eye-blurring levels. Not good if you have to traverse broken tarmac on a daily basis, and if you live in the UK, let's face it, you will.

Still, the fact remains that with prices starting at £10,495 (for the base Soul 1 petrol), you can pick up a fresh-looking, funky little urban runaround for much less than a similarly equipped Mini. Just save up, and option the diesel.

Tom Ford

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