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SAFETY | 9 out of 10
Five stars overall; five stars frontal; five stars side; four stars rollover
'Good,' frontal, side, and rear impact; 'good,' roof strength
Since the 2014 Kia Soul has an entirely new structure that’s not at all related to the outgoing model; and it's quite the turnaround in occupant protection compared to that lackluster performer.
Safety ratings are almost entirely out for the new Kia Soul, and it's earned top five-star federal safety ratings, as well as the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick+ nod. Kia goes so far as to say that it expects to make the new Top Safety Pick+ list, although the IIHS hasn't yet released results for the model in that category.
All models include a total of six airbags, with dual front airbags, seat-mounted side bags, and full-length side curtain bags. Also worth noting that even the base Soul includes superior four-wheel disc brakes, while many other inexpensive small sedans include just drum brakes in back. Anti-lock braking, Brake Assist, and electronic stability control are all included, as is Hill-start Assist.
Outward visibility is still a mixed bag—great out in front and to the side, with a rather high driving position, but somewhat difficult for lane changes due to the thick rear pillar. A rear camera system is included with the top Exclaim model, as well as with the Soul Plus, provided you get the $500 UVO eServices Package.
Thanks to an all-new body structure, safety ratings for the 2014 Kia Soul should graduate to the top tier.