Ace of Base: 2019 Kia Soul Base

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
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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2 of 40 comments
  • Sub-600 Sub-600 on Jul 19, 2018

    FWIW they sold 1.5 million Pet Rocks.

  • ZCD2.7T ZCD2.7T on Jul 20, 2018

    My daughter drives a 2012 Exclaim that we purchased new. I still enjoy driving it whenever it's around. It's an honest car that does pretty much everything well (except for 80+ mph freeway cruising, because aerodynamics) and is actually fun to drive. The bells and whistles are all nice, too, and the infotainment is dead-easy to use. I'd happily daily drive one, and my usual DD is an Audi S6...

  • Denis Jeep have other cars?!?
  • Darren Mertz In 2000, after reading the glowing reviews from c/d in 1998, I decided that was the car for me (yep, it took me 2 years to make up my mind). I found a 1999 with 24k on the clock at a local Volvo dealership. I think the salesman was more impressed with it than I was. It was everything I had hoped for. Comfortable, stylish, roomy, refined, efficient, flexible, ... I can't think of more superlatives right now but there are likely more. I had that car until just last year at this time. A red light runner t-boned me and my partner who was in the passenger seat. The cops estimate the other driver hit us at about 50 mph - on a city street. My partner wasn't visibly injured (when the seat air bag went off it shoved him out of the way of the intruding car) but his hip was rather tweaked. My car, though, was gone. I cried like a baby when they towed it away. I ruminated for months trying to decide how to replace it. Luckily, we had my 1998 SAAB 9000 as a spare car to use. I decided early on that there would be no new car considered. I loathe touch screens. I'm also not a fan of climate control. Months went by. I decided to keep looking for another B5 Passat. As the author wrote, the B5.5 just looked 'over done'. October this past year I found my Cinderella slipper - an early 2001. Same silver color. Same black leather interior. Same 1.8T engine. Same 5 speed manual transmission. I was happier than a pig in sh!t. But a little sad also. I had replaced my baby. But life goes on. I drive it every day to work which takes me over some rather twisty freeway ramps. I love the light snarel as I charge up some steep hills on my way home. So, I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Passat guy.
  • Paul Mezhir As awful as the styling was on these cars, they were beautifully assembled and extremely well finished for the day. The doors closed solidly, the ride was extremely quiet and the absence of squeaks and rattles was commendable. As for styling? Everything's beautiful in it's own way.....except for the VI's proportions were just odd: the passenger compartment and wheelbase seemed to be way too short, especially compared to the VI sedan. Even the short-lived Town Coupe had much better proportions. None of the fox-body Lincolns could compare to the beautiful proportions of the Mark was the epitome of long, low, sleek and elegant. The proportions were just about perfect from every angle.
  • ToolGuy Silhouetting yourself on a ridge like that is an excellent way to get yourself shot ( Skylining)."Don't you know there's a special military operation on?"
  • ToolGuy When Farley says “like the Millennium Falcon” he means "fully updatable" and "constantly improving" -- it's right there in the Car and Driver article (and makes perfect sense).