GIVE a car a name like Soul and it has quite a lot to live up to and believe me, the Kia Soul certainly doesn't disappoint - especially the Soul Shaker.
With a really chunky build and plenty of character the Soul is crammed with quality features and all for the very reasonable asking price of a little more than £13,500.
And when you take into consideration that all Kia models purchased since January this year come with a seven-year warranty, the outstanding value of this vehicle becomes only too clear.
Admittedly I would have liked this model to have been supplied in flame red to live up to its impressive billing, but it arrived in a rather bright cream colour and looked a bit like a giant custard cream on my drive.
But that aside, The Soul provides something for everyone and despite its Shaker label, the ride is incredibly smooth and comfortable.
All occupants are treated to a high seating position which means they all benefit from the light and spacious cabin atmosphere as opposed to being crammed into a back seat and staring at a headrest for the entire journey.
There is ample room for five adults to travel in style and they won't be restricted on their luggage requirements either as the Soul boasts a generously-sized boot and many useful smaller storage compartments throughout.
The cabin itself is fitted with some first class creature comforts including an excellent sound system with iPod compatibility, privacy glass, 18-inch alloy wheels, a very responsive air con system and a reversing camera that projects an image directly onto the rearview mirror.
In busy city centre traffic, the Soul was deceptively agile and manoeuvred with ease. The added parking camera made squeezing into tight spaces a doddle too.
Then out on the more open road, the 1.6-litre petrol engine was both responsive and powerful.
I did find it struggled to pick up speed going up a steep incline with a full car load, but that aside, it responded very well to all challenges put in its path.
Safety features are also very comprehensive with anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution, electronic stability control, plenty of airbags and lots more besides.
To sum up, the Soul Shaker is the perfect all-rounder for the family that loves the adventurous lifestyle, but wants to keep a few pennies in the bank for a rainy day.
£13,620 124bhp, 1,591cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via a five-speed manual gearbox 110mph 11 seconds 43.5 5 156g/km 7yrs /100,000 miles