The Kia Soul is a capable crossover and good value, but as a tow car it disappoints.
In the lane-change test the Kia coped well enough with the first, slowest attempt at the manoeuvre, but the car was dragged sideways by the caravan on the second, faster run.
The braking test also showed the Kia in a poor light, with the 11.7m stopping distance among the longest of any car in this weight division.
It wasn’t just in extreme manoeuvres that the Soul was found wanting. In crosswinds the car felt unsettled, and the petrol engine’s modest pulling power struggled to hold speed into headwinds, despite the respectable 30-60mph time of 15.6 seconds.
The handbrake needed a firm pull to hold the car and caravan still on a 1-in-6 slope, and plenty of revs were required to tow to the top.
Our practicality testers were disappointed to note the handbook’s warning against towing with the supplied compact spare. They boot couldn’t manage a full load of caravan holiday luggage and the deep lip made loading awkward.
It’s not all bad news, though. In day-to-day driving the Soul handles neatly, and light controls and the car’s compact size make parking easy.
The Kia is good value, too. In ‘2’ spec it comes with 17-inch alloys, cruise control, a DAB radio and a seven-inch touchscreen satellite navigation system. The price is keen, and the car comes with a seven-year, 100,000-mile warranty.