From the Experts: AutoTrader ranks the top 10 must test drive trucks and SUVs of 2014

AutoTrader.com recently made a list of the top 10 must test drive trucks and SUVs of 2014. While it’s no surprise to us, two of our vehicles landed on the list. Check out what the experts think about some of our offerings:

Jeep Cherokee

2014 Jeep Cherokee. “This is definitely not your father’s Cherokee. Based on a carlike platform derived from the compact Dodge Dart, the reinvented 2014 Cherokee boasts slick handling and ultra-modern styling to match. Inside, high-quality materials complement the available 8.4-inch touchscreen, which is one of the best at any price. Don’t let those Dart roots mislead you; the Cherokee feels substantial on the road, reminding us more of a luxury vehicle than a typical compact crossover. We recommend the hearty 3.2-liter, 271-hp V6 engine, and if you want real off-road ability, check out the Trailhawk package with its unique hardware and appearance.”

Kia Soul

2014 Kia Soul. “We’re big fans of the redesigned second-generation Soul, which adds a thick layer of refinement and maturity to this hatchback’s playful character. The original Soul traded more on style and attitude than anything else, but the new one has all the bases covered. The cabin is genuinely nice now, highlighted by upscale soft-touch materials and plenty of available tech. We’ve noted major improvements in ride quality, too, with the new model letting in noticeably less noise and vibration than its predecessor. If that’s not enough, there’s even a Soul EV in the works for 2015 with a projected range of 80-100 miles. If Kia can keep the price down, the Soul EV could be a great solution for urbanites or others with modest commutes and/or charging stations at work.”

Five Reasons to Love the 2014 Kia Soul

In an all-out, 21st-century boxcar war with Honda’s ill-fated Element, the overinflated Toyota Scion xB, and the hopelessly awkward Nissan Cube, the Kia Soul is the sole survivor. This is the fourth year the Kia Soul has been on the market, and it has proven to be a Kia classic with high marks in many areas. Great for the entry-level, budget-conscious buyer, the 2014 Kia Soul is a four-door hatchback with three trims (base, + [Plus] and ! [Exclaim]) and enough seating for up to five adults. As the all-new and completely redesigned 2014 Kia Soul is taking its rightful victory lap, here are five reasons to love the 2014 Kia Soul.

 Improved Interior and Customization Galore. The Soul features high-quality materials and comfortable, supportive seats. The cabin is roomy with a fantastic amount of cargo space for its class. It includes a bevy of standard features, such as a six-speaker stereo, Bluetooth, satellite radio, USB and auxiliary inputs, and steering wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls. The available UVO infotainment system keeps drivers connected, and has an intuitive touch screen. Other available features include a backup camera, an Infinity sound system, navigation, push-button start, automatic climate control, and a panoramic sunroof. And, for the eco-friendly, there is an Eco package with a fuel-saving twist, like an automatic stop-start system and 16-inch tires.

 Safety and Reliability Features. The 2014 Kia Soul boasts four-wheel antilock disc brakes, hill-start assist, electronic brake-force distribution, stability and traction control, driver and passenger head-restraint whiplash-protection systems, and front and rear head air bags. Further, the Kia Soul scored a 5 out of 5 on J.D. Power’s Power Circle Ratings in Body & Interior Quality – Mechanical, Features and Accessories Quality – Mechanical, Powertrain Quality – Design, and Body & Interior Quality – Design.

All the Engine You Need. The Kia Soul has one of two engines. On the base, drivers get a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 130 horsepower and 118 pound-feet of torque with a six-speed manual transmission, with an automatic option. The Soul+ and Soul! offers a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 164 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque with a six-speed automatic transmission only. What more do you realistically need?

Cargo Room to Boot. With the rear seats folded down, the Soul provides 61.3 cubic feet of cargo space, or 24.2 cubic feet with the seats up. Drivers could easily get a decent-sized piece of furniture in the back. In fact, with the seats folded down, the Soul rivals the Sportage—a crossover vehicle—for plentiful roominess when hauling friends, family, pets, and all of the extras that go along with these precious commodities.

Overall Driving Experience. With premium handling and a comfortable atmosphere, the 2014 Kia Soul provides plenty of ease getting on the highway, driving through the suburbs, or navigating city streets. It’s head-turning design and bright colors offer a unique combination that reflects the driver’s personality more than any other vehicle we’ve seen in a long time.