2017 Kia Soul Review

Friday June 30th, 2017 at 8:66 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

2017 Kia Soul

By David Colman

Hypes: Idiosyncratic Appearance, Premium Drivetrain
Gripes: Slight Turbo Lag

Kia’s distinctive looking Soul is currently the only survivor from the flying brick school of automotive design. The popular Scion XB, which had developed a cult-like following, disappeared when Toyota folded Scion’s tent several years ago. Nissan’s even more idiosyncratic looking Cube has also disappeared from that maker’s current model range. So, if you’re into the fun and practicality of a petite delivery van, you’ve got but one choice left. Fortunately, that choice – the Kia Soul – is a very good one. Just ask any dancing hamster.

2017 Kia Soul

The Soul we drove is base priced at $22,650. For that modest outlay, Kia provides this 3,065lb. minivan with a satisfying new-for-2017 drivetrain combination: 1.6 liter inline 4, turbocharged and direct injected to produce 178 hp and 195 lb.-ft. of torque. The new motor feeds its power fed through a new 7-speed dual clutch automatic transmission. That’s a whooping lot of sophisticated technology for a vehicle in this bargain price range. Kia could have easily eliminated the turbo or the direct injection for cost savings benefits. Instead of that dual clutch gearbox, they could have supplied the Soul with a droning, boring CVT automatic that has unfortunately become the industry standard. But instead, they crafted an unimpeachable driveline combo that makes the Soul ever so lively and responsive. They even fitted the hood with a pair of hydraulic opener struts, a nicety virtually unheard of in an economy priced vehicle.

2017 Kia Soul

About the only item missing from the driving control standpoint is fitment of paddle shifters at the steering wheel. But they’re hardly missed because you can easily slap the floor mounted stick into its manual override gate to shift up and down as needed. The steering wheel itself is such a work of art it looks like it belongs in a BMW M Series sports sedan. This eminently gripping piece features Bluetooth, Audio and Cruise controls embedded in its spokes. With a race-style flat bottom, and thumb cutouts at the 3 and 9 o’clock positions, it’s always fun to grip the thick black leather rim which is decorated with red stitching. The entire black interior is similarly enlivened with contrasting red stitching which matches the Soul’s exterior shade of “Inferno Red.”

So how did an affordable $22,000 Soul become a $27,620 Soul!? By inclusion of a $3,000 Technology Package that elevates your driving experience markedly. For that outlay, Kia supplies you with a navigation System (8” Display), Harman Kardon premium audio, projector low beam headlights, and LED fog, tail and vertical rear “Positioning” lights. Also included are power folding exterior mirrors that look like they’re curling up for a nap when you hit the lock button on the provided key fob remote. The Tech Package also heats two front and two rear seats plus the rim of the steering wheel. Other additions include power lumbar support for the driver, and Blind Spot Detection – which is especially useful given the roof’s sizeable C pillars.

2017 Kia Soul

Our test Soul also included a supersize “Panoramic” sunroof that peeled the top back like the key roller on a sardine can. This $1,000 addition is well worth its price because it transforms the cabin into a virtual convertible. Helping further the open-air illusion are tall side windows that fold all the way down into the doors for an unimpeded fresh air motoring experience. The Soul is rather stiffly sprung, so pavement imperfections tend to find their way into the cabin. While you won’t be winning any autocrosses with this boxy conveyance, it still acquits itself respectably when the road turns twisty. In part that’s due to generously sized (235/45R18), mud and snow rated Nexen CP671 tires mounted on distinctive 10-spoke, 18” alloy rims.

2017 Kia Soul

Thanks to its generous cargo capacity of 24.5 cubic feet (with rear seats folded), the Soul doubles as a utilitarian cross between a minivan, an SUV and a sedan. Soul transforms itself into each of these guises with such compelling ease that it merits a “Recommended” check mark from the tough testers at Consumer Reports. When you pack it with five riders and a trunk full of goods, you too will marvel at this little dynamo’s unflagging ability to carry out any travel mission with grace, pace and space. Long live Soul! – the sole extant example of the flying brick.

2017 Kia Soul

2017 Kia Soul

  • Engine: 1.6 liter inline 4, turbocharged, direct injection
  • Horsepower: 178hp
  • Torque: 195lb.-ft.
  • Fuel Consumption: 26 MPG
  • Price as Tested: $27,620
  • Star Rating: 9.5 out of 10 Stars

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2013 Kia Soul Exclaim (!) Review

Friday March 29th, 2013 at 9:33 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

Hypes: Rocks the Cute Scale
Gripes: Bouncy Ride, No Manual Available on !

The happy Soul enters its 4th year of production in mildly revised form. This year, you can opt for the base model Soul, a step-up version designated Plus (+), or the full featured Soul Exclaim (!) which I tested.
In view of the fact that top shelf Souls have escalated in price from $17,190 in 2011 to $23,575 for this year’s loaded !, your exclamation might be limited to the steep price creep. But once you’ve spent a couple of days behind the slightly raked, multi-function steering wheel of this best Soul Kia makes, you’ll look at the entry price as a bargain rather than a hurdle.

Unlike the base model, which utilizes a 1.6 liter straight 4 to make 138hp, both the + and ! models bump displacement to 2 liters worth of inline 4 making 164hp. Ironically, the base motor is technologically more sophisticated than the optional version because it boasts direct fuel injection rather than multi-point injection. The base and + versions are available with either 6-speed manual or automatic transmissions, while the ! offers only the automatic. The base Soul weighs just 2,615 lbs. compared to the automatic ! which scales in at 2,778 lbs.

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2010 Kia Soul Sport Review – I Heart Soul

Tuesday August 4th, 2009 at 9:88 AM
Posted by: mash

2010 Kia Soul
By Mary Ellen Ash

Yays:

  • Lots of style
  • Well equipped tech features
  • Bang-for-buck value
  • Super fun to drive

Nays:

  • Imprecise shifting
  • Limited cargo space
  • Petite engine power

The Soul is Kia’s foray into the youthful box-car market, currently dominated by the Scion xB, Nissan Cube and the Honda Element. The Soul will definitely be attractive to first time buyers, with its low cost, curious design, vibrant interior and multitude of techie gadgets. But it’ll also be enjoyed by older family oriented consumers with its versatile drive, good fuel economy, and ample passenger space. For this review, we tested the top of the line 2010 Kia Soul Sport featuring a sports-tuned suspension and other modifications yielding a more responsive ride.

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