By on March 5, 2009

Sitting between two highly conventional Rios on the Kia lot, the Soul Sport looks like a visitor from another planet. The Kia’s European styling not only refutes the bland mediocrity of its fellow Kias, but also challenges the toaster-oven aesthetics of its boxy competitors. At the same time, it offers a more unique approach than Honda’s low-slung Fit hatchback. That said, the Soul is more the product of a careful compromise between its competitors rather than a genuine automotive oddity. So what happens when you pick the least-compromising trim level, the Soul Sport with manual transmission? You develop a new level of appreciation for the art of compromise.

Inside, the Soul’s split-the-difference positioning really shines. Interior space won’t draw astonished comment (à la the first generation Scion xB), but the Soul’s interior creates a distinctly spacious feel. Up front it’s business as usual: plenty of room and great forward vision afforded by a commanding seating position. From the driver’s seat, you feel like you are part of traffic rather than a minor nuisance to “real cars.”

The Kia Soul’s packaging shines in the second row. Head, knee, leg and waist room abound in the Soul’s slightly elevated rear passenger area, even if you’re over six feet or 200 lbs.

Unfortunately, the Soul’s extra width does little to improve a fairly compromised rear cargo area. Pert packaging means that the Soul falls a few feet short of the Fit’s seat-up 20.9 cubic feet of cargo area. An underfloor storage compartment helps keep smaller cargo organized and out of sight (which is handy in a hatch). But if you plan on taking a road trip for five and their luggage, you’re going to need a roof box.

Interior quality is good (i.e great for a Kia), with restrained style and eminent function. The Soul’s far from the typical monochromatic penalty box, but styling trumps materials. Paradoxically, in base-model black, the Soul looks clean and classy for the price point. In contrast, the Sport model’s mandatory red-and-black scheme demands… recognition. 

If you’re excited about the Soul’s red-glowing speakers which pulse to the beat of your tunes, chances are you’ll love the Sport’s loud interior scheme. Otherwise, you’ll probably be a bit embarrassed about it all. If you want the Sport’s “performance suspension” you’ll have to live with the attention-seeking aesthetics, whether you like it or not.

Which begs the question: how much fun is the sportiest Soul to drive?

Kia’s 2.0-liter four-banger is standard on all Souls save for the base model, which makes do with a 1.6-liter mill. There’s little to differentiate the Sport’s performance from the other Soul trim levels. With 142 hp at 6,000 rpm and 137 pound-feet of torque at 4,600 rpm, the larger of the two mills has no problem bringing the Kia’s 2,800 pounds to speed. If you’re expecting some eponymous soul from the engine room, don’t.

While the Soul’s fat torque band makes for lazy, grunty fun around town and in the passing lane, there’s nothing makes you want keep the thing at a boil. Which is fine, since the smooth-but-vague shifter and novocained clutch pedal are hardly a call to arms.

The Soul’s handling is extremely competent in the real world, but lacks the verve that the model’s moniker implies. At least in comparison to the Fit and its low-slung ilk. Tossing the Kia into a corner, you can’t ignore the un-car-like dimensions of the thing. Thankfully, thanks to extra track width and the Sport’s sharper suspension, the expected body roll never shows up. Understeer is a constantly lurking presence, but sharp, feelsome disc brakes keep things manageable between applications of grunt.

Tragically, both the Soul’s handling and the ride are compromised by Kia’s decision to shod the Soul Sport with 18 inch wheels. What appears to be an otherwise stable, quiet vehicle at cruising speed is hamstrung by the shudders and road noise; it’s the inevtiable price of bling-rim fashion.

Ultimately, the Soul’s appeal is born of compromise not passion. It’s big and substantial for a small car, but lithe and efficient for an MPV or crossover (or even a second-gen xB). It doesn’t perform the same handling and cargo miracles as the Fit, but it has more individuality and power. More importantly for compact-wary Americans though, the Kia Soul has a far more substantial presence in traffic.

Because of its essentially compromising nature, the Sport is not the Soul to choose. Firmer suspension and anti-roll bars are the headline attraction. Oversized wheels make the ride harsher and raise the MSRP, without offering the, well, soul of a performance car. Plus you have to put up with the extroverted interior.

Embracing compromise doesn’t necessarily come naturally to the Soul’s 18-30 year-old male demographic, but then compromises are rarely this desirable.

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61 Comments on “Review: 2010 Kia Soul Sport...”


  • avatar
    walksatnight

    “Embracing compromise doesn’t necessarily come naturally to the Soul’s 18-30 year-old male demographic”

    Wow. I must be getting old. When I was in that age range I wanted a Grand National or maybe even a Supra. I settled for less but I wouldn’t have been caught dead in a box that looks like it was drawn up by a kindergartner.

    Time has passed I’ve turned into my Father I guess.

  • avatar

    The aptly named Soul is the first Korean car that leads the class in character. As noted in the review, the styling puts others to shame, especially the current xB. Very nicely done.

    You’ll actually find nicer materials in other Kia’s–which IMO have about the best materials in their price classes. The plastics here are hard, but somehow in character with the car.

    Too bad there’s little fun to be had behind the wheel. I still need to drive one myself.

    TrueDelta hopes to have reliability info on the Soul ASAP. Please send owners here:

    http://www.truedelta.com/car-reliability.php

    It’s also possible to perform price and feature comparisons at the site.

  • avatar
    Martin Schwoerer

    Yay! A first car review by Edward N. And a good one, to boot.

    Just back from a European car show where I had the opportunity to sit myself, back to back as it were, in the new breed of people carriers. Kia Soul, Daihatsu Materia, Citroen C3 Picasso, Nissan Cube: these are all fairly new and pretty attractive. Do they have USPs?

    The C3 for one is incredibly airy and pleasant to sit in, the Cube is an almost perfect design statement, the Materia however shot its wad too early, but the Soul: there is something vaguely agressive and intelligent about it.

    Something that makes me think, despite its uninspriring interior, that this car will get around the stigma of Old Person’s Car that attaches itself to so many vertical-layout vehicles.

  • avatar
    AWD-03

    This is the kind of reviews TTAC should be doing. Objective and factual first, but with opinions as well. Well written!

    On the actual matter of the write-up, I want this car. Maybe not the sport per se, but I want this car!

  • avatar

    Great review! I saw a “Korean Market” version (the salesman stated this) in Tucson, and I really liked it. I like how the review compares it to a Fit, which is a vehicle I already have. I would like to trade in a Subaru Impreza sedan for this, the Nissan Cube, or a new Fit as the Fit we have is well received by both myself and my wife. It’s nice being able to put a lot of people/stuff in a car and still get 28-32mpg around town. Does the Soul cruise at 75mph OK? With our winds, I usually drop the Fit down to 70 or a little less as the car is fighting too much with my mountain bike on the hitch rack.

    Oh, and I have a 2008 Honda Fit, that’s 109hp and not the “hopped up” 2009 version. I am sure the new one cruises a bit better around here, but I still love my 2008.

  • avatar
    ConejoZing

    Nice car, Kia (: Huh… my parents mentioned this after seeing it at the car show. Initially, I scoffed. However, it seems this article confirms that well… this is a very nice Kia.

    It is weird. It is different. Being a Kia, it’s also going to be cheap. Cool.

    These box like city cars have some merit. They also add diversity to the traffic.

  • avatar
    no_slushbox

    So, if you know how to shift and can put up with the 1.6 engine:

    Anti Lock Brakes

    4 Wheel Disk Brakes

    Electronic Stability Control

    Front, Side and Curtain Airbags

    Power Windows

    Power Door Locks

    Remote Mirrors

    Air Conditioning

    AM/FM/CD/MP3 With Aux and USB Input

    All standard for $13,300.

    Notably missing are remote entry, cruise and a sunroof, but getting those greatly reduces the bargain. But this is hardly a no A/C, no anti lock brakes, manual windows, manual locks stripper like the base Versa.

  • avatar
    italianstallion

    Great review.

    At highway speed, is the Soul a high-rpm buzz factory like the first gen Xb and current Fit manuals?

  • avatar
    hwyhobo

    Good review.

    I love the looks of the new Kia. However, having been a Kia owner, I would like to see Honda come up with such a design.

    At highway speed, is the Soul a high-rpm buzz factory like the first gen Xb and current Fit manuals?

    I would like to know that, too.

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    “Putney Swope says the Borman Six girl has got to have Soul”

    Great review, son. Ya make yar Pappy proud!

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    Interesting car. Cheap and cheerful in a good way. Though this will be just like the Honda Element – targeted at 18-30yo males (who can’t afford any new car), bought 90%+ by retirees who think it is “cute”.

  • avatar
    Edward Niedermeyer

    Martin: my second, actually.

    Michael Karesh: Driving fun is based on taste and expectation. If you love small, light, revvy go-karts, the Soul ain’t that. Which is why I don’t give it particularly high marks for fun. The first-gen xB is “more fun” in my book because it is smaller,has a revvier engine and lower gearing. Compared to a PT or Matrix or current xB though, it’s a hoot and a holler.

    The way I see it, if the Fit is too much of a small car for your tastes (low seating, power) but you still care about handling and efficiency, the Soul is the compromise for you. Trim levels are slightly annoying/confusing, as is the lack of wheel size choice (16 or 18, 18s stock on sport and exclaim). All the Kia folks are incredibly jazzed about it though. I’m curious to see how it sells.

  • avatar
    minion444

    I put 30k a year on my vehicles. If the soul has some chops and can handle my abuse, this could be the vehicle to replace my Element.

  • avatar
    Edward Niedermeyer

    At highway speed, is the Soul a high-rpm buzz factory like the first gen Xb and current Fit manuals?

    Nope. The worst thing about speed is road noise through the rims. Torque and taller gearing help in this respect, but take away from the fun. Hence the compromise.

  • avatar
    hwyhobo

    Torque and taller gearing help in this respect

    Ed, can you tell how high the revs are at 85 mph with a stick?

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    hwyhobo, Edmunds quoted 3500rpm @80mph.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    My Gen 1 xB was getting nervous as I read this review. Highway fatigue is my only complaint about the xB.

    The old xB achieves a real 29-31 mpg in city driving, but the Soul is only good for 24-26, so maybe I’ll hold off….

    BTW – fix the “Kial” typo in the headline. Good review!

  • avatar
    Old Guy Ben

    You know, I have never considered a Kia before. Thanks to this review, I’ll at least go by and look at (and maybe drive) one.

    My civic won’t last forever. Darn near, but not forever.

  • avatar
    BobJava

    This is a neat entry in an under-served niche. But as far as younger buyers, walksatnight …

    I think many young folks still want cars like Supra, WRXs, etc. However, price, practicality and reliability often rules the day.

    Which makes me wonder why so many car makers make such a fuss about targeting the very young buyers. It was comical to watch Toyota’s adverse reaction to Scion buyers (read: original xB buyers), which skewed much older than they intended. You mean when you offer a car that is, above all, cheap, reliable, and practical that people of all ages will want it? Go figure.

    Of course, cheap is relative. $15k is a ton of money to a 21-year-old with little/no employment, and little/no credit. Your market is very limited in the first place, especially in a down economy. So why would they go through the “young buyer” contortions and machinations in the first place? Kia would probably sell more Souls if the styling, which overall is neat, wasn’t intentionally divisive, as it seems to be. It’s such a heavy-handed attempt at being “hip.”

  • avatar
    carguy

    Great review Edward. This is my favorite style of TTAC car review – the type that is focused on useful information.

  • avatar
    Edward Niedermeyer

    hwyhobo Couldn’t say exactly. Peak torque comes at 4600, and Edmunds says 80mph comes at 3500, so do the math. Subjectively, it wasn’t your typical peaky compact engine so it doesn’t boom as much or require low gearing. It doesn’t come on particularly strong low down, but the midrange torque is plentiful and well distributed. Ultimately, you never want to rev it to redline (this might improve with break-in) but the gearing never forces you to.

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    Anybody know what it’s crash ratings are?

  • avatar
    don1967

    Good review. It seems that the Soul’s shortcomings are minor enough that they won’t deter anyone who is attracted to its whimsical nature.

    Isn’t it true, however, that many of these funkmobiles which target the 18-30 market have been finding their way into the hands of older farts?

  • avatar
    Detroit Todd

    Put me down as another who really enjoyed this review, Ed. Hope to see more of ‘em from you in the future!

    I really like this car, and my lease on my Saturn Aura comes due in a few months. I want to buy my next vehicle, and I want a hatchback.

    But, given that I live in UAW country and numerous members of my family would que up to kill me if I bought a foreign car, I probably won’t be getting a Soul. So, I’m leaning toward a Pontiac Vibe, or maybe leasing something again until the new Ford Focus arrives in 2011 (I’m told there will be a hatch).

    Hopefully, though, someone can answer a question for me regarding both the Soul and the Vibe.

    All the interior shots I’ve seen of the Soul show bright red IP lights. That would be a deal killer right there. My eyes would start bleeding after about 100 miles of nighttime driving.

    Pontiac (along with Mazda, but I digress) is (in)famous for red intrumentation, but I’m told the new Vibe — dependent upon trim level — can be had with blue lighting on the speedo and tach.

    Anyone know?

    Sorry to veer off on a tangent. And, again, I really did enjoy this review!

  • avatar
    Detroit Todd

    Isn’t it true, however, that many of these funkmobiles which target the 18-30 market have been finding their way into the hands of older farts?

    I’m 38 and I like the Soul. Hopefully I’m just a “previously enjoyed fart” and not an old one.

  • avatar
    seanx37

    Upon seeing the Soul today for the first time, I thought “My goddaughter(14 years old)would love that car.” Then I thought “what is wrong with that?” A car for teenage girls. Not for me, but at least it has a purpose. To take teenage girls to the mall before the malls go out of business. OR to see crappy movies. Nothing wrong with that at all.

  • avatar
    Ferrygeist

    Good review!

    I like the way this thing looks. The Korean manufacturers are starting to turn out some interesting designs.

    I keep going back and forth: the Teutonic driver in me really wants an Audi or BMW sedan/wagon or whatever as our next “family” car. My wife would like nothing more than a…a…mi…mi [cough, hack] miniv..va..van. With a six month old son, and probably a couple more kids on the way in the next few years, I can’t help but think that something cheap and full of plastic you won’t cry about if the kids barf on it or scuff to death with their shoes might actually be smart. Like this Kia. And it looks neat, and is light to boot! Spend less than $20k, and still have a big down payment left for something sensible. Like a Cayman S. Or Lotus Exige.

    Anyone who likes their fancy fast cars and who’s mostly finished raising their kids care to opine on the sensibility–or lack thereof–of having a plastic family “beater” vs. the car you’d drive even if you had no kids as cars for the whole messy family?

    Thanks Edward. You’ve got me thinking outside of my silly little 100hp/per liter German box.

  • avatar
    don1967

    I’m 38 and I like the Soul. Hopefully I’m just a “previously enjoyed fart” and not an old one.

    Actually it was a trick question. I’m 42 and was worried because I like the Soul too!

    PS: I consider myself “previously enjoyed”, although not often enough.

  • avatar
    walksatnight

    Detroit Todd and don1967 –

    ROFL

    “Hopefully I’m just a “previously enjoyed fart” and not an old one.”

    I like that….. Can I use that line sometime?

    All the box mobiles still look like they were drawings that a 5 year old made of an International Scout or the Jeep mail trucks of old.

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    i kinda like this car too but i doubt i am ‘trendy’ enough to actually own one

    i wonder if they will give the 1.6 litre turbo diesel in some markets like America?

    in the UK and Euro you have the 1.6 petrol or diesel

    in the US only the 1.6 or 2.0 petrol

    the diesel is apparently the star choice with 255Nm and more than adequate horsepower

    i fear i will never be able to own a car with a red interior and pulsating speakers though

  • avatar
    romanjetfighter

    Will fail to attract young people like the Honda Element, I believe.

    Comfortable lounge seating for “larger” people, affordable, small, averagely-efficient = old people.

    Btw, if I’m not mistaken, 2 reviews today!! Some good reading ahead for me this weekend. Keep up the hard and good work TTAC! :)

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    Ferrygeist, Good that you’re thinking ahead. After the first time my son (I’m looking at you, Edward) peed on the leather back seat of my brand new “nice” car, we generally kept the kids in the family hauler. Kids are hard on cars.

  • avatar
    V6

    it makes me sad that the Fit is considered ‘low slung’.

    i miss the cars of the 90′s, they were so much lower and sleeker. everything is so tall and upright these days, we now have 4 door coupes (CLS, Passat CC etc) to try and bring some sleekness back

  • avatar
    Paul W

    Props for not trying to make any Seoul – Soul jokes!

  • avatar
    shaker

    I’d rather be an “old fart” than a fresh, stinky one…

    Nice review, Ed.

    How does the Soul compare (size wise) to the Elantra Touring? I was always under the impression that the Soul’s underpinnings were based on a smaller, newer platform, but this thing sounds like it’s nearly as big as the Touring.

    If this is the case, why would Hyundai cannibalize the sales of the soon-to-be-released Touring with the Soul?

    I think that the “old farts” would gravitate towards the Touring (though it will be more expensive), because of its more conservative styling.

  • avatar
    fallout11

    This ‘old fart’ (38) has been watching and waiting for this one, glad to see it gets a good review. I considered the Element last year, but am glad I waited. KIA has certainly come a long way.

  • avatar
    JMII

    18″ rims on this thing? I’m one of those people that thinks almost every vehicle benefits from larger wheels to fill up the wells and lay down more rubber for grip, but 18″ seems like overkill for a Fit/xB sized ride with a NA 4 pot engine. A cut tire and all of sudden your economy ride is putting a large dent in your wallet for replacement shoes.

    • 0 avatar
      bodyartfreak28

      Yeah I wish I would have thought about that before I bought this car. I was in a pinch after hitting something on the Freeway, I put on my spare and drove to the nearest Tire spot. $245 later I had a new tire that lasted 6 months before it shred on me. Now I have to replace 2 of the 4 tires due to wear and I can’t find anything less than $500. What a complete waste!!!! I wish they would have put 16′s on it instead!!!

  • avatar
    KayakerNC

    Congratulations Ed on a great review.
    What kind of MPG does this beast get?

  • avatar
    NickR

    If you’re excited about the Soul’s red-glowing speakers which pulse to the beat of your tunes

    God no.

  • avatar
    Orian

    The Soul at a Columbus area Kia dealership showroom has the 1.6 diesel in it. The salesman I was talking too laments the fact that particular engine is not available for sale in the US right now, even with the higher price of diesel fuel.

    Sitting beside it was a new Borrego with the 4.6l 32v V8. I don’t usually care much for SUVs, but that one was a very nice vehicle inside and out.

  • avatar

    I know that the 18″ wheels sound weird, but they do look completely correct on the vehicle. The steelies, on the other hand, look so out of place when compared to the shape and design of the vehicle. I first saw a “black” (looked like a dark coffee color, maybe) one outside the dealership, and it looked awful with the steel wheel/hubcap combo. The “upscale” version inside with the 18″ wheels looked much more “balanced.” I do agree that the wheel size is a bit out of place in our market, but it’s nice seeing this kind of wheel at this price. If I do get one, I would probably get the sport, but I didn’t see the speakers in action, and didn’t know about any glowing lights; that could be a big problem if you can’t disable them. :-(

  • avatar
    Edward Niedermeyer

    Shaker: The Touring probably has more cargo room and less rear seat room. That’s just a guess though.

    KayakerNC: 24/30 with the manual or automatic 2.0 liter. 26/31 for the 1.6 which is manual only and gives up 20 hp.

    Full specs available at the Kia site.

    Student Driver: Yes, there is a knob with which to control your pulsing speaker lights.

  • avatar
    SpacemanSpiff

    I was just checking out the specs on the Kia site and noticed that jumping from the Base 1.6 to the +2.0L takes the weight from 2560 to 2800. That’s almost a 10% increase! I wonder how the Base drives…? Is the 1.6 engine revvier I wonder…

  • avatar
    Orian

    From what I understand the Soul is based off the Rio/Accent platform while the Elantra touring would most certainly be off the Elantra or perhaps the Rondo platform since both vehicles are so similar in dimensions.

    In other words the Elantra touring *should* have both more passenger space and cargo space.

    I hope the speaker lights are easy to disable because I sure as heck would not want them on all the time (or at all for that matter)…nothing a quick disconnect wouldn’t fix, but you shouldn’t have to take them out to turn them off.

  • avatar
    BEAT

    Hyundai and Kia is the replacement for GENERAL MOTORS.

    I predict by next month GM will be gone.
    They killed the electric car, they killed their own company.

  • avatar
    jmo

    “targeted at 18-30yo males (who can’t afford any new car)”

    Huh? Any marginally educated 24 yo old can easily afford a new car. How hard is it to come up with $400 a month?

  • avatar
    frizzlefry

    I don’t know…I can’t get over how it looks. Not counting the snot color on the model in the picture, I just think its ugly. A good part of the reason why is the way they have that line dissecting the headlights, that looks just odd.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    jmo – you’re kidding, right?

    $400 a month is a TON of money these days for a young kid. The ones right out of college have student loans to pay, if they can even find a job. The ones who didn’t go to college are unemployed or making $12/hr at some menial job. And good luck getting financing in the current climate. The ones who Mummy and Daddy will buy a car for would not be seen dead in a KIA, they will get VWs and BMWs just like they always have. The lucky few who didn’t go to college AND have decent jobs probably drive pickup trucks.

    I mean, I’m a 39yo well-paid computer engineer and “I” don’t fancy a $400/month car payment. I certainly COULD, easily, but I won’t. I’d rather spend the money on my mottly yet interesting fleet of Euro-toys. For what the KIA costs, I could about buy my current Volvo 965, Saab 900SET, Saab Sonnet, and Triumph Spitfire, with some parts money left over.

  • avatar
    jmo

    krhodes1,

    By marginally educated I was thinking of State School student who majored in something usefull.

    http://www.vw.com/myvw/vwcredit/firsttimebuyers/en/us/

    That’s the plan I used back in ’98 and it’s still bbeing offered. It’s far more generous than any financing deal you could get on a used car.

  • avatar
    FromBrazil

    meh!

    Down here we have some other options in terms of boxy cars. Would much rather get a Fiat Doblò Adventure or Renault Kangoo (and in fact would love to. Think they fit my moment in time much better than that overpriced Fiat thingy).

    Nice write-up. Though I think many are overlooking how Mr. Nierdermeyer said the ride is onone too great. If in US I’d look at the Nissan Cube 1st if i were in market for this kind of car.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    My wife would like nothing more than a…a…mi…mi [cough, hack] miniv..va..van. With a six month old son, and probably a couple more kids on the way in the next few years, I can’t help but think that something cheap and full of plastic you won’t cry about if the kids barf on it or scuff to death with their shoes might actually be smart. Like this Kia.

    I tried to do the same. We’re expecting more children—we have one already, another due in two months and we’ll likely try for a third two or so years from now—and I tried so very hard to avoid a minivan not because they’re uncool but because they’re just so damn big.

    At the time, I owned a Saab 9-3 (the first iteration, with the hatch) and it works for one or two kids assuming they’re both in front-facing carseats. As soon as you have one rear-facing (and most people will and should, as it’s a safer position) you lose front-seat room for any but the shortest drivers. I looked at cars like this, such used xBs that are available in Canada, the Element, small crossovers, wagons, and such as a solution to the rear-facing problem and tall cars like the Soul and Element do work.

    The problem is people and stuff: a stroller is large, and you’ll likely be taking it around a lot in the first year or so. And then there’s the stuff that children require you pack, especially for more than a day’s trip. The token, little space in the back of something like the Soul or Fit will not cut it. I stuffed the Saab to the rafters on trips to see relatives (40cu.ft). The Soul? No chance.

    So I looked at a Sienna and said, effectively, screw it, it may be big, it may be dramamine on wheels, but as a parent it works so well on so many levels that it’s just not worth compromising on. I picked up a used one last week, and it’s brilliant. Little touches like sliding doors, space for friends, four sets of childseat anchors, zillions of storage nooks, tons of space. If you have three or so kids on the way, there’s a reason why minivans just work.

    My suggestion. If you’re expecting two or three kids, get a real van at best or a Rondo/5 if you must (the cargo space in either microvan is problematic). The Soul will just piss you off as a multiperson carrier.

    I figured I’ll get through parenthood and buy myself something nice when everyone starts moving out. My neighbour subscribed to that, and I think he likes his Miata all the more for having driven Caravans and Astros for the last twenty years.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    i miss the cars of the 90’s, they were so much lower and sleeker. everything is so tall and upright these days, we now have 4 door coupes (CLS, Passat CC etc) to try and bring some sleekness back

    I’m ok with ‘low slung’ in a sports car or sedan, but there’s nothing sillier and less pleasant than the ass-on-the-road seating position of a late-nineties Civic or Corolla.

    A Corolla. Think about it. Why the hell should a Corolla be low and sleek? Low and sleek translates to cramped and uncomfortable for most people.

    I’m ok with high-roofers like this, but what I don’t like is when manufacturers raise the ride height and floor to give the sensation of butchness. Compare the useless interior space of lifted wagons liked the Outback or high-floor crossovers like the CRV next to the 5, Rondo, this Kia or the upcoming Cube. Tall roofs are great. Eight inches of ground clearance on a car that’ll tackle nothing more serious than a lump of snow at the end of the driveway is not.

  • avatar

    Well, this review convinced me to drive one, and I bought it today. As a Fit owner, I do like how this vehicle feels. I bought the Soul + model with the 16″ alloy wheels, and the ride is quite nice. The one thing I am not too crazy about, but getting used to, is the white lighting of the gauges. They get quite bright, but they’re very clear and easy to read. The sound system is great, as it the voice recognition (yeah, it has that) for placing calls. Very cool stuff. Actually, this had a strong impact on not buying another Fit as Honda hasn’t done much to update the sound system and gadget integration in the 2009 model. It’s also nicer sitting a bit higher up, but knowing you’re not burning a ridiculous amount of gas to get that (like a really, really nice Samurai).

  • avatar
    unleashed

    The one thing I am not too crazy about, but getting used to, is the white lighting of the gauges.

    Aren’t they dimmable?

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    Even for a safety oriented guy like me, I think y’all are taking it a bit too far.

    My neighbor has an old Volvo wagon, an older Saab, and a spring chicken Nissan truck that has to be around 13 years old.

    The first two are very safe unless you crash into a Renault Modus or some other modern ‘very high strength steel’ structure traveling at 35+ mph speed.

    The later is a truck. ‘Nuff said.

    If you must have safety, buy an old Volvo wagon. Preferably one with the turbo. Save your money for vacations and diapers.

  • avatar

    Yep, you can dim the gauges but I am bit too used to the Fit; they have a nice blue glow to them. :-)

  • avatar
    AWD-03

    I sat in one fo these a couple days ago. They had ONE for display in the showroom. I was hearing this as a replacement for the old XB, but when I saw it and got in it, it was as big as an elemment. Don’t get me wrong though, it looked and made a lot more sense than an element.

  • avatar

    Demographics.. I do love the errors in Demographic Advertising Hopes.

    Jan 2003 I bought the Honda Element, (a 33 year old woman)
    April 2010 I bought the Kia Soul.. then a 40 year old woman.

    Hum.. I do not fit the male or 20 something demographic!

    Honda’s error..they killed off their 20 something male perfect cars.. like the CRX.. they at least still have the Civic.
    And they killed off the Integra, which was another perfect 20 something male car.

    Kia.. just does not ring as a 20 something male brand period. Female maybe.. or seniors sure.. but not 20 something males.

    Oh well!

    I saw the other Kia Soul article.. which I also commented to, but just to state again..

    I have been a long time Honda owner, I converted to Kia last year after not wishing to deal with any more of the dealer crap when it came to trying tp buy a car.

    When I bought my Element I lived on the opposite side of the country, I contacted dealers in 3 states and only one dealer was not arrogant & nasty.

    A few years after I moved across the country I was looking to buy the Honda Fit (last year).. and had such a rididulous hassle with dealers up to and well over an hour away from where I live now.. I just was sickened by it. There were alot of games going on with the dealers, and the arrogance was ridiculous. Yes Honda makes great cars, but they have horrible dealers!

    The Honda Fit is a great car, they made alot of great improvements. Sadly they do still seem to believe that the only beverages people drink are slim bottled water, while they have what a dozen cup holders not one holds anything more then a thin water bottle, it is ridiculous. They offer navigation system, but they hardly make any cars with it, so it was nearly impossible to get. (I found the same issue when I was looking at the Toyota Matrix, to the point the toyota dealers did not even know it was an option). I loved so much about the Honda Fit, I was looking forward to it.. but well over a month of waiting (what was supposed to be 2 weeks) plus the interim hassle.. sadly not worth it!

    I many never buy a Honda again. I still have my Honda Element.. and I love my New Kia Soul!

  • avatar
    zenith

    I wanted to like this thing, but can’t.Aztek is in the shop for hood replacement/paintless removal of all the other hail damage.
    Enterprise got me this.
    It’s “book week” when we do our run of 130+ outlets for Wheels4You.
    Just barely got 115 bundles in the back. NO EXTRA ROOM for cooler, recycling tote-ANYTHING.
    Under a full load, the little underhood hamsters howl in pain as the inappropriately shift-pointed transmission lurches from gear to gear.
    The Aztek swallows up the books and the discards tote leaving us with enough room to properly buckle in a grandkid. And the cooler is built in.
    Seats are too narrow, center stack too wide.Nice, clear radio and HVAC controls, though.
    We picked this up yesterday during First Snow and thought that because the dash lights came on at startup, we had automatic lights. WRONG! Not even DRLs.
    This thing booms and crashes over bad pavement.
    When I got gas, I went to set trip odometer, which hadn’t been reset in 6400 mi. The avg gas mileage function said 26.5 for that period.
    The Aztek gets 22 in town and 26 on the highway. The mediocre gas mileage improvement of this Kia doesn’t compensate for no room, no power, uncomfortable seats, uncomfortable ride, etc.
    Love the style. Hate the execution.Pity.


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