The KIA SOUL is an inexpensive vehicle for the family or even a small business. It’s fun to drive and it is really low priced.
The Kia Soul was introduced a couple of years ago and is slowing being seen on the roadways. It certainly makes a statement with its distinctive styling. I had my first test drive of the Kia Soul when it was introduced over a year ago. It has won a lot of awards and accolades including being named as the “Best Value” by the Texas Auto Writers. It earned a “Top Safety Pick” from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and named one of the “Top Ten Back-to-School Cars” by Kelley Blue Book. And there were a lot more.
What is so distinctive about the looks? Mostly, it’s the boxy look that is not really a box. It is somewhat like the Nissan Cube and the Scion xB, but clearly makes its own mark. The side back windows and rear side windows are all wedged together to form a smooth look that sets the Soul apart. There are other exterior trim features as well, such as the large, flared headlights. Simply stated, it just looks friendly and inviting to drive.
There are a lot of standard features including a chrome-accented grille, auto-off headlights, rear wiper and washer, and variable intermittent windshield wipers. These are not so special on most vehicles today, but for a very low-priced car, these add a nice touch. In slightly upgraded trim levels, you can add keyless remote entry, fog lamps, power sunroof, rear spoiler, and more.
The interior is surprisingly roomy and open. There is a lot of cabin area for people or cargo. The center stack console in the 2009 model was not too impressive, but it has been significantly upgraded for the 2010 model, with a refined metal finish. Metal finish accents are also seen on the steering wheel, air vents, and speakers. The door armrests have added padding also, which certainly has improved the look and feel inside the Soul.
The Kia Soul drives well. Some might call it “spirited.” It is powered by a 1.6 liter four cylinder engine matched with a five speed manual transmission. A 2.0 liter four cylinder with a little more horsepower is available that can be matched with either the standard shift or a four speed automatic. I have driven both of these and while I prefer the manual shift, the automatic works really smooth as well. Many of my journalists friends refer to the driving dynamics and steering as “sporty.”
Of course, Kia has the best warranty available – ten year, hundred thousand miles on the powertrain and a five year, 60,000 mile basic warranty. Kia even provides a five year, 60,000 mile roadside assistance plan as part of the warranty coverage.
Mileage for the standard shift and 1.6 engine is rated at 26 city and 31 highway. Mileage for the more popular automatic and 2.0 liter engine is still good – 24 city and 30 highway. Pricing is surprising, beginning less than $14,000. Most sales will probably be in the $16 to $18 thousand range, however, which is still a great buy.
The Kia Soul can be called funky, boxy, cool, or however you want to say it. It is definitely a fun car to drive that offers a distinctive appearance, a lot of roomy cabin area, a terrific warranty, and a low purchase price. Check out the Soul at a Kia dealership yourself.