Kia is not the only auto manufacturer thinking inside the box.
The Korean maker's Soul is close in shape to the Nissan Cube - talk
about an apt name - and Scion xB. While none of the bunch can be
described as sleek, the Soul is the one that has separated itself
from this pack in popularity.
Souls start at $14,400 for 2013. That will get you a full complement of safety features, air conditioning, power windows and power locks but not much else that will move toward the lavish meter. The base engine is a 138-horsepower 4-cylinder and it is mated with a 6-speed manual transmission.
Four more trim levels eventually raise the sticker to $19,900. Added along the way were a livelier 4-cylinder engine with 164 horsepower and a 6-speed automatic transmission. The top-of-the- line Soul! (yes, that is an exclamation point), comes with a rearview camera, power sunroof, upgraded sound system, automatic headlights, UVO infotainment system and 18-inch tires (15-inchers are standard), among other items.
I drove the Soul! and would not have felt shortchanged even if it had been on my dime. The quality of the interior materials was price- point appropriate. Because of the vehicle's shape, there is plenty of headroom. Perhaps surprisingly, there is also legroom for rear- seat passengers. And with the back seat a 60/40 split/folding model, 19 cubic feet of cargo area can be expanded to 53 cubic feet.
With an overall length of 13.5 feet and a wheelbase of 8.3 feet, the Soul is easy to get around town in.
Just to show that the Soul can come with amenities usually associated with much pricier vehicles, Kia tossed on my tester a Premium Package that included a navigation system, leather upholstery, heated front seats, push-button start and automatic climate control. For $2,500, the add-on was a good value.
And that is an overall sentiment to the Kia Soul. This is a small car but at a good price. That seems fair.
David Mikesell is a free-lance automotive reviewer based in Indianapolis. Read this review and others like it at
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