Kia Soul Review:
Itís commonly believed that young people have short attention spans.
Itís true that many are very fashion conscious. Whatís hot today is cold
tomorrow. The Scion brand is suffering today because of the tyranny of
trendiness. Into this youth market steps Kia, the bold Korean brand
thatís remaking itself, one product at a time. With the 2010 Soul, Kia
goes headlamp-to-headlamp with the four-wheeled box known as the Scion
What a job of it Kia has done. Styling of the second generation XB is
polarizing, but the new Soul has spunk. Surprisingly bold, it features
sharply drawn wedginess on the sides, back-angled rear pillars, massive
vertical taillamps, and chunky, chiseled headlamps over a pursed chrome
grille and jaunty black goatee bumper. And it stands out in traffic.
Inside, itís in-your-face, with three gauges bursting out of the
instrument panel, a floating center console, and ice-cream-cone-shaped
vents at the corners of the dash. When I opened the glovebox and dashtop
storage bin of my Molten Red tester, lurid red surfaces stared back at
tester featured cloth on the seats with a repeating SOUL SOUL SOUL SOUL
pattern that reminds you of the name of your car every time you step in.
The Soul is fun to drive, with its upright seating and room to take
along four pals on your adventures. I personally carried three teenagers
to a party with no problem. Thanks to an independent front suspension
with stabilizer bar and a torsion beam rear setup, the car handles
tautly too. It sports front and rear disc brakes, plus the advantage of
anti-lock and electronic stability control. Just because itís affordable
and a perfect first new car doesnít mean this new Kiaís not thoroughly
up to date technologically.
The car comes in four grades, from the Soul, to the Soul +, to the Soul
! (Exclaim!), to the Soul Sport. Prices, including shipping, start at
just $13,995 and run up to $17,645. Itís the usual story, with each
level adding equipment, inside and out.
The base car is well equipped, including such youth pleasers as SIRIUS
Satellite Radio with three months of complimentary service, USB and
auxiliary input jacks for full iPodģ and MP3 controllability via the
audio head unit, and steering wheel audio controls. The Soul + brings
in keyless remote entry, privacy glass, power side mirrors and 16-inch
alloy wheels, steering-wheel-mounted cruise control.
Stepping up to the exclaim ! model, you get a power sunroof, fog lamps,
and 18-inch alloy wheels wrapped with P225/45R18 tires. The Soul Sport
adds side sills, rear spoiler, fog lamps and unique front and rear
fascias. With the ! and the Sport you get a standard Audio Upgrade
Package with a center speaker, subwoofer, 315-watt external amplifier
and speaker lights that pulse to the beat of the music or simply add
mood lighting (I tried it and itís kind of distracting). This audio
upgrade is an option on the + model too.
Pay more and youíll get more, but itíll never cost more than about
Kiaís youthmobile is geared for economy and environmental awareness. The
base car uses a 1.6-liter, 122-horsepower engine, good for 26 City, 31
Highway mileage, while the three higher levels step up to a 2.0-liter
engine with 142 horsepower. It loses slightly in mileage, to 24 / 30,
but thatís still pretty darned good, and the EPA Green Vehicle Guide is
happy to award all Souls a 7 for Air Pollution; the 1.6-liter gets an 8
on its Greenhouse Gas score while the 2.0-liter earns a respectable 7.
The beauty of these boxy little runabouts is how they take up so little
real estate on the road but still can carry a lot. If you drop the
second seat in the Soul, it offers 53.4 cubic feet of cargo capacity,
and thatís plenty of laundry to Mom or a bunch of amps and instruments
for your next gig.
Color choices range from the classy to the crazy. Choose from two
whites, creamy Dune or refrigerator-bright Clear White or a progression
of three metallic hues from dark, moody Shadow, to rich Titanium to
Bright Silver. Mellow out with coffee-inspired Java, or go for the
red-hot Molten, like my test car. Thereís even a bright Alien green,
with more shades on their way.
Like all Kias, the Soul enjoys a comprehensive warranty program, which
includes its now-famous 10-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain
warranty, a five-year/60,000-mile limited basic warranty, and a
five-year/100,000-mile anti-perforation warranty. Plus a
five-year/60,000-mile roadside assistance plan also is part of the deal.
think itís a great time to be a young person shopping for a car, if you
can talk the folks into spending $15,000. Tell them about the safety
features, low cost of maintenance, and the 10-year warranty. Then, go
out and have fun!
By Steve Schaefer ©
AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
The Bottom Line:
The Kia Soul is the
newest addition to the new mini-mini van market. Started by Honda with
the Element, next Toyota added the Scion Xb, Nissan has the Cube and now
the Kia Soul. These vehicles have the room for utility, but add some
funkyness to the formula. While the competition acts the same, the Kia
Soul stands out from the crowd. With a great exterior design that
screams ďLook at Me!Ē maybe thatís were the Exclaim! model came from.
Now that we have a decent field of mini-mini vans to choose from, the
Kia Soul just might be the best of the bunch.
Review provided by: Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net
ďTony the Car GuyĒ
is an automotive writer, editor and publisher in the San Francisco Bay
Area. If you have a question or comment for Tony send it to
TonyLeo@pacbell.net or visit
Kia Home Page
Column Name: Go out and have fun!
Topic: The 2010 Kia Soul
Word Count: 1007
Photo Caption: The 2010 Kia Soul
Photo Credits: Kia Soul Internet Media
Series #: 2009 - 65
the Microsoft Word version here:
2010 Kia Soul
Download the Original Image File here:
2010 Kia Soul