Kia Soul Reviews
Model Overview:The Soul is available in three trim levels: the base Soul, "Soul +" and "Soul !." The base Soul comes powered by a 138-horsepower 1.6L 4-cylinder, which is mated to a 6-speed manual transmission. The other Soul models are powered by a 164-horsepower 2.0L 4-cylinder, which is paired to a standard 6-speed automatic transmission. Kia estimates fuel economy at 25 mpg city/30 mpg highway from the 1.6L, with a slight reduction for the 2.0L.
Standard features include an AM/FM/CD stereo with USB/MP3 input jacks, SIRIUS satellite radio capability, Bluetooth hands-free connectivity, power windows and locks, a 60/40 split-folding rear seat, and air conditioning. Soul + models add 16-inch alloy wheels, leather steering wheel with cruise and audio controls, and keyless entry. The Soul ! includes 18-inch wheels, a power sunroof, fog lights, a premium stereo and unique interior upholstery with leather appointments.
Performance is good with either engine providing decent acceleration. Handling is also much better than expected for a vehicle that looks so tall. Steering is precise and unexpectedly accurate, allowing the vehicle to be driven like a car despite its van-like looks.
The Soul still shines in the way owners can customize it. Nearly 60 accessories are available, including headlight accents, remote start, sport springs, a billet oil cap, sport exhaust, special interior lighting, special cargo and equipment racks, and much more.
The premium stereo found in the Soul ! is available on the Soul +, as is the 2.0L ECO Package, which adds low rolling resistance tires and a special stop-and-go idling system to improve efficiency. The Premium Package, available only in the Soul !, adds navigation with Sirius/XM Traffic, push-button start, leather seat trim, heated front seats, and automatic climate control.
Standard safety equipment across the Soul lineup includes six airbags, active front headrests, traction control, electronic stability control, a tire pressure monitor, and 4-wheel anti-lock brakes.
Model Changes:After major revisions to the powertrain in 2012, Kia has left the Soul mostly unchanged for 2013. A revised grill with chrome accents is new, as are the various Kia badges that adorn the vehicle. Inside, audio controls are now located on the steering wheel and Bluetooth is standard even on base manual transmission equipped cars. Soul ! variants now come with power folding mirrors and several new colors are available across all model ranges.
Pricing starts at $14,400 for a manual-equipped Soul.
Model Value:The 2013 Kia Soul is aimed squarely at the Scion crowd with its funky styling, wild colors and personalized interior and exterior treatments. Improvements in performance and efficiency add tremendous value to the Soul, especially with base prices about $3,000 less than a comparable Scion.