Kia Soul Exclaim
Review: If you want a car that's fun, spunky and stylish enough
to turn heads, you're probably not thinking about checking out the local
Kia new car lot. But maybe you should.
While Hyundai, Kia's
Korean rival, has successfully moved its cars upmarket in recent years,
with better engineering and gorgeous styling,
Kia still builds cars
that get more attention for their price than anything else. They're good
economy cars, but not just exactly memorable. Now the new Soul is trying
to change that image.
This new boxy Kia
follows in the hip footsteps of other square cars like the Honda Element
and Scion xB, but it has sportier lines. And it's not just about right
It's an interesting car
to look at from any angle. Up front it's got a rounded hood, exaggerated
wheel arches and blacked-out pillars by the windshield. In back there
are the vertical taillights that stretch up to the sky, and from the
side there's a straight roofline that slopes backward.
It's a pretty car, in a
weird sort of way. You will find a bit of spunky styling inside, but the
materials are just like you'd expect in a low-priced car. The seats come
with fabric that has an interesting houndstooth pattern, and a two-tone
dash tries to make it look more upscale than chintzy.
Beyond the cool
styling, the Soul doesn't do much else to stand out.
Its performance is only
mediocre, with your choice of a whiny 1.6-lilter four-cylinder engine or
a 2.0-liter version, making 122 and 142 horsepower respectively.
Handling, steering and braking are all bland and subdued, not quite as
snappy as in the Scion xB or as refined as the Honda Element.
On the positive side,
the Soul's boxy shape is incredibly practical. It's a small car for
sure, but the head and shoulder room in the cabin makes it feel a lot
bigger than it actually is. The front seats are spacious; the back seat
is tolerable for adults; and the cargo area in back is more generous
than most cars in this class.
Perhaps best of all is
that this new Kia continues what the brand is known for best: a very low
price. It starts at just $13,300 in base model trim and peaks at only
$17,900 with every single option on the list, plus the delivery charge.
As a total value,
considering the practicality and style for every dollar you spend, few
cars can match the Kia Soul. Finally, it's a Kia that demands your
What was tested?
The 2009 Kia Soul Exclaim model with a base price of $17,900. Options on
the test car: none. The total MSRP price as tested including the $695
destination charge is $18,595.
Why avoid it?
It's not as refined as the economy cars from Honda and Toyota, and the
engine has a grating whine under hard acceleration.
Why buy it? It's
a great value with a starting price of $13,300, especially considering
how stylish it is. Its boxy shape makes it surprisingly roomy inside,
despite its small dimensions.
The Bottom Line:
Kia's new Soul, a five-passenger car with a stylish boxy shape, is far
more expressive than most cars from Kia. A new two-tone dash is unique
in the Soul, making it look way more upscale than its low MSRP price
By Derek Price © AutoWire.Net - San
Review provided by Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net
Kia Home Page
Column Name: Kia
injects style with new Soul
Topic: The 2009 Kia
Word Count: 629
Photo Caption: The
2009 Kia Soul Exclaim
Photo Credits: Kia Soul
Series #: 2009 - 59
the Microsoft Word version here:
2009 Kia Soul
Download the Original Image File here:
2009 Kia Soul