Kia redesigned their popular Soul for 2014, adding refinements and features, new colors and interior finishes. Whats remarkable is that you can hardly tell at first sight.

The closer you look the more you realize that this Kia Soul shares not a single piece of exterior sheet metal or trim with the old one. It’s a ground-up redesign in plain sight. The hood now wraps over the fenders and frames sleeker headlamps that continue to look you in the eyes.

New Soul badges on the fenders give a more premium look and all new wheels for 2014 freshen the scene. At the rear a wrap-around black glass styling element gives the appearance of a floating color panel in the middle.

Bolder tail lamps look more integrated and flowing while dark plastic lower bumpers anchor its silhouette better than before. It’s funky fresh as always and didn’t lose the vibe that made it popular.

Our Soul + tester was fully optioned with the Primo Package, Audio Package, UVO services and floor mats which brought its price to $24,010. This made the all new re-designed interior a really interesting place.

The Primo Package features include two-tone leather seating and soft trims throughout with accent stitching. The theme covers the steering wheel, door panels, dash as well as the seats. Also part of the Primo package is an expansive opening panoramic moon roof which is very uncommon in this price range.

The center stack and controls are all well laid out. Heated and cooled seat controls as well as the HVAC were front and center. The quality of materials, trims and style was well above the price range of the Soul, very impressive.

The Infinity sound system also sounds exceptional. It has 8 speakers including cool looking towers on either side of the dash. On the front doors are some gimmicky but fun speakers with light-up rings that can provide color changing mood lighting or can flash to the beat.

Rear seat room is generous and seating position high. There are even heated seats back there as part of the Primo package. Rear storage behind the seat is minimal, but you can fold seats down for large items.

On the road, the Kia Soul rides and drives not at all like the econobox tin-cans many might perceive of the Kia brand. With a 29% stiffer chassis for 2014, its quieter and has a much more solid feel than ever before.

The handling for 2014 is enhanced by a new rubber isolated front suspension sub-frame which gives a better and more refined feel through the steering. And the steering is driver adjustable, with three settings of comfort, normal, and sport.

Under the hood of our Kia Soul + model comes a 2.0 liter, 164 horsepower direct-injected four-cylinder engine and a standard 6-speed automatic transmission. A smaller 1.6 liter engine with 130 horsepower comes with the base model.

The engine puts down a pretty good wallop of power, delivered well via the six-speed automatic transmission. It sounds more refined that previous Kia power-plants of years past and is fun to play with.

The Kia Soul + is rated by the EPA at 23 mpg city, 31 mpg highway and 26 mpg combined. In our time with the Soul we got the advertised average of 26 mpg. Given’s Kia’s snafu with mpg ratings last year, this is a good thing.

The 2014 Kia Soul gets 4.5 out of 5 stars for our review this week. It also is the first vehicle of 2014 we have put on our TestDriven.TV “Id Buy It” list.