Ace of Base: 2019 Kia Soul Base
Annual sales of this upright little Kia regularly crest 100,000 units, despite casting roughly the same shadow since its introduction 10 model years ago — though it did grow slightly in wheelbase and width during its 2014 restyle.
Its early marketing efforts, featuring life-sized animated hamsters that frequently haunt my dreams, were actually inducted into the Madison Avenue Walk of Fame. The people who decide such things deemed the hamsters such a hit they now reside along the Aflac Duck and Tony the Tiger as advertising superstars. Hmm.
With robust sales, the Soul is doing anything but spinning on a stationary hamster wheel, particularly in base trim.
Entry-level models of the Soul (refreshingly titled Base, by the way) are powered by Kia’s 1.6-liter inline-four, making 130 horsepower and hooked to a six-speed manual as standard equipment. New drivers should appreciate the Hill Start Assist Control, preventing them from introducing their car to the vehicle astern while they’re still learning the finer points of a manual ‘box. The automatic is a $1,600 option, a hundred more bones than last year.
A rear camera is hardly worth mentioning these days, given that it appears on just about every car and soon will be required to appear on every car. Still, it is a feature enjoyed by your humble author, allowing him to avoid flattening wayward debris and line up the rear bumper just-so with painted parking lot lines. Yes, I could do the same by deploying the line-up-the-sideview-mirrors-with-your-neighbour trick, but parking lots around here are not often packed to the gunwales, allowing one to park their new ride in a secluded part of the lot.
One needn’t be concerned with flat-black mirrors and steelies announcing their frugality to fellow motorists; color-keyed power units and natty sixteen-inch alloys are standard equipment. The rubber is sized 205/60, zoomier than most base cars but should still bear a price tag within good reason at replacement time. Inside, one finds touchscreens and USB plugger-inners, plus the all-important air conditioning.
Speaking of color, the typical shades of grey are available, along with a jaunty hue called Alien Green. Your author would definitely select the bold and obnoxious color but, in a fit of practicality, realizes that a more muted shade would likely make the thing easier to sell at trade-in time. Shadow Black hides the base car’s funereal bumper inserts quite nicely.
Incentives are rarely mentioned in this series given they are a fickle thing, dependent on region and time of year. It is worth noting, though, that Kia is offering a not-insignificant $2220 lease cash in some markets on a 24-month term, carving a significant chunk off its $16,490 price tag for the 2019 model year. Given its standard level of kit, that’s a pretty good value play.
[Image: Kia Motors]
Not every base model has aced it. The ones that have? They help make the automotive landscape a lot better. Any others you can think of, B&B? Let us know in the comments. Naturally, feel free to eviscerate our selections.
The model above is shown with American options and is priced in American Dollars. As always, your dealer may sell for less.
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