By John Peige
Kia’s new Soul is dynamite! While it won’t blow you off the starting line, it is certainly a blast to drive.
The beauty of this Kia compact is not what lies under the hood, rather it’s the joy of driving it in the hood. It brings lots of Soul to the city as its diminutive size makes it a breeze to navigate narrow, traffic-clogged streets. And when you want to rest your Soul, it fits into the smallest of parking spaces.
Soul’s low, wide stance is paired with an angled window line, rounded nose and large flared headlamps highlighted by a chrome-accented grille. The rear is dominated by large vertical brake lights that are distinctively located high up on the quarter panel.
From rap to rock, from R&B to Rachmaninoff, an available sophisticated Infinity Premium Audio System this 10-speaker system features amazing acoustics that are as accurate as they are ear pleasing. Harmonic richness fills the car’s interior with moving instrumentals, expressive vocals and rousing bass that deliver a pure, responsive reproduction of the original performance.
There’s also lots of standard safety equipment designed to make you a Soul survivor in the event of a crash, including front seat active headrests, dual front advanced airbags, front seat-mounted and full-length side curtain airbags. Also featured are an Antilock Brake System, Electronic Stability Control, Traction Control System, Electronic Brake Distribution, Brake Assist System and a Tire Pressure Monitoring System.
Kia’s cute mini sports-ute offers a smooth and spirited ride. Its 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine is mated to a five-speed manual transmission, which produces 122 horsepower. For those looking for a bit more power, a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is available on upscale models with either the five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy for the 1.6-liter manual comes in at an impressive 26/31 mpg (city/highway) while the 2.0-liter offers a thrifty, fuel-sipping 24/30 mpg for both the automatic and manual transmissions.
Available in four trim levels, Soul, Soul+, Soul! and Soul sport, pricing for this versatile hatchback begins at $13,300 for the base trim, while Soul+ starts at $14,950 and tops out at $17,100 when all options are included. The enhanced Soul! starts at $16,950 and peaks at $17,900 with all available options included and the top-of-the-line Soul sport runs from $16,950 to $18,600.
“Soul offers the perfect combination of style, value and personalized options,” said Michael Sprague, Kia’s vice president of marketing. “It defies categorization and has a long list of features and available accessories that really speaks to today’s consumer.”
Soul is the first of a line of next-generation Kia vehicles set to launch during the next two years.