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Kia Soul



  • stephen987stephen987 Posts: 1,994
    Hi, y'all. I finally got a chance to drive the Soul+ today. I came away mostly very impressed.

    First of all, though, I have to say that there is one negative--the car I drove had less than 30 miles on it, and some of the plastic surfaces were already showing marks from careless feet, hands, etc. So the quality of the interior bits does raise some concerns.

    In the cabin, the seats are easy enough to adjust. They're firm, more Honda than Toyota in feel. They seem well made, but I don't really know how they'd feel after three or four hours on the road. One minor weirdness--the salesman tells me the word "soul" on the seatbacks is made to glow in the dark. I don't know--maybe they're going after a younger buyer than me with that one. I was surprised, and a little disappointed, that the cargo area floor seems very high. The car seems a good bit taller than a Fit, but the cargo area doesn't reflect that. With the seats up, there's not much cargo space--with them down, I'd say subjectively it seems about as roomy as the Fit, maybe slightly wider, but I'm a little disappointed with the space utilization. I can't say the same for the front cabin area--it's very wide and spacious, much more so than the Fit, and there didn't seem to be a lot of wasted space.

    Now, on to the drive. The salesman was inexperienced, because the dealership has only had the Kia franchise for about three weeks (used to be a Saturn dealer, and they're still redecorating the building to suit). But I had very little difficulty figuring out the controls. Everything was right where it should be, and worked exactly as expected. Having made a few quick adjustments (seat, wheel, mirrors) without being told where to find the controls, I was on the road.

    First impression I noticed is the car's "handshake"--how the wheel, pedals, and shifter feel to the touch. In this case, I found the car very easy to get to know. Several published reports complain about the shift linkage being difficult to master. I think it's because the gate for first is so close to the gate for third. Fifth, on the other hand, is pretty much in the glovebox. So I guess it would be easy to miss first and grab third by mistake. I made that mistake once during the drive, but soon figured out that it's easy to compensate. The reverse lockout is pretty strong--there's no way you'd accidentally hit reverse instead of first. So just go hard left and you're in first, just like that. The shifter effort is very light. The throws don't seem unnaturally long, the way they did in early Accents, but it's definitely not as tight and sporty a gearbox as you find in a Fit. But it's better than either the Corolla or the Civic gearbox. The clutch takeup is light and smooth, and the throttle tip-in is very linear. I could teach my 73 year old mother to drive stick on this thing in about five minutes.

    On the road, the car is noticeably more powerful, quieter, and less manic than the Fit. It doesn't feel quite as sure-footed, but that might just be because I'm more accustomed to the feel of Honda steering, and because I'm used to sitting a lot closer to the ground in our '99 Civic. The Fit's a blast to drive, and it's brilliantly packaged and nicely made, but for the daily slog, or for any sort of longer trip, I'm pretty sure the Soul would be more pleasant, comfortable, livable, etc. But would I still be in love five years down the road?

    I'm still undecided as to which of the two I would buy. I am pretty sure, though, that I like both of them more than anything else I have looked at.
  • :) I have had my soul for one week and its fun to drive. I am getting 26mpg. The soul is tight and all I can say is WOW on all the extras you get over the Fit and the Cube.There was no BS from the dealer who did a great job in getting me on the road. The Soul had a great price point and is a lot of car for the money over the Cube and the Fit.
  • stephen987stephen987 Posts: 1,994
    I liked the Soul+ a lot, and probably would've bought one if my dealer had held out any hope of getting one. As it was, the one they had was sold before I was in a position to buy. I drove the Soul!, but my wife hated the ride on the 18" wheels--she became physically ill within sixty seconds. And the ! would've cost $2k more than the +, mostly for stuff I didn't need (stereo upgrade and sunroof) or stuff I actively disliked (18" wheels, weird houndstooth upholstery on only the upper part of the seatbacks).

    So we bought a Fit Sport instead. The Fit doesn't have quite as much hip and shoulder room, and lacks Bluetooth, but it compensates with somewhat sportier handling and feel, sitting a bit closer to earth, and it rides better than the Soul with 18" wheels--if not quite as smooth as the Soul+ with 16s. And the Fit Sport split the difference in price between the unavailable + and the unpleasantly harsh !.

    I would've been happy with either the + or the Fit Sport. They both have their pluses and minuses. I'm a four-time Honda buyer (the Fit makes five), so I was expecting there to be a noticeable difference in the build quality. But if there is an edge in fit and finish, it belongs to the Kia. It seems more "finished" inside and less likely to rattle.

    So congrats on your new Soul. Anyone who thinks it's not competitive with the best in its price range just hasn't looked closely.
  • I just bought a Sport model with the sun roof in black (shadow). I love the car, I love the red and black interior. What a deal with everything extra in the car, you got to love it. The ride is great with the sport tuned suppension and the 18 inch rims ride great.
  • jaxs1jaxs1 Posts: 2,697
    Is the A/C good enough for Las Vegas or Phoenix summers?
  • stephen987stephen987 Posts: 1,994
    The Soul's AC does a very good job in Georgia (95 degrees and high humidity).
  • jayriderjayrider Posts: 3,602
    Just drove one today. Roomy for a subcompact and fun to drive. Back seat is amazing with easy access. Only issue was jolting when crossing expansion joints on the highway but with the short wheelbase not surprising. Salesman said the optioanal bigger tires made ride a little rougher? Overall favorably impressed but msrp was about 20k so would have to consider what a few grand more would buy.
  • stephen987stephen987 Posts: 1,994
    Jayrider, I found that the cheaper Soul Plus with the 16" wheels rode a lot better than the Exclaim model with the 18" wheels. So maybe you ought to see what kind of ride $17k will buy.
  • jayriderjayrider Posts: 3,602
    Thanks for the heads up -- didn't research anything about them. Was killing time at the Kia dealer near where my murano was being serviced. Offered a test drive for kicks -- not one customer to be found - I was impressed. would be a great 2nd car for city/half day highway trips. Not sure about cross country [63 yrs old] but the seats were better than the jetta,golf and even the passat. I really liked the look -- seems more balanced than the cube. Not in the market now but at 17k may be a player in the future.
  • stephen987stephen987 Posts: 1,994
    I really liked the Soul--the interior quality was better than the Honda Fit, and the interior is roomier too. I wound up with a Fit instead, but I have a lot of respect for the Soul. It's not a bad choice at all.
  • conwelpicconwelpic Ontario, CanadaPosts: 600
    I was over at the dealers getting my 48,000 km service done on my Rondo and picked up a copy of "Inside Kia" for October and saw this announcement:

    "Kia Canada is pleased to announce that due to the overwhelmingly positive response regarding the 2010MY Soul Special Edition, this vehicle will now become a regular addition to the Kia line-up, badged as the Soul 4u SX.

    The Soul 4u SX adds the following features to the Soul 2.0L 4u:

    - body kit (body coloured)
    - sport spoiler (body coloured)
    - headlamp eyeliner (glossy)
    - PIAA H4 Xtreme White Plus Bulbs
    - LED side repeater
    - high gloss tusk bumper
    - 18" black machine-finished wheels
    - sporty metal pedals
    - centre console armrest
    - rear view camera
    - SX badge

    MSRP base price - $21,895, with std 5 spd manual or available automatic. Only available in three colours: Onyx (pearl) +$200, Polar or Molten (n/c).
  • conwelpicconwelpic Ontario, CanadaPosts: 600
    Just returned from a visit to the Toronto Auto Show and they indicated there that the Soul'ster will be a production model for 2011.
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Manson, WAPosts: 7,243
    edited February 2010
    we've got a picture of that new Kia Soulster, too. Here y'all go!


    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • conwelpicconwelpic Ontario, CanadaPosts: 600
    Thanks, that's the picture I took at the show.
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Manson, WAPosts: 7,243
    edited February 2010
    lot of promise as a small, stylish pick-em-up truck. It looks great! I could see it being popular in Florida or California at their beaches.

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • robmerzrobmerz Posts: 1
    edited February 2010
    I want a small, hatchback, in the $15k-19k range, and have narrowed it down to the Soul and the Suzuki SX4. I like the look of both, love the SX4 AWD option, but like the "EXTRAS" that come with the Soul. I know resale is bad on both, but not considering selling till way down the line.
    I had a suzuki many years ago, sidekick, and it was very reliable and versitile. Haven't had experience with Kia, but the rep is growing..seems like the Hyundia when they entered the market.
    ANYWAYS, I'm torn between the 2, and they both come out to the same price range and options...any suggestions? :confuse:
  • stephen987stephen987 Posts: 1,994
    The Soul is a lot peppier. I also like the choice of interior designs and other extras--especially Bluetooth. I would also expect the Soul to get better MPG--Edmunds got really lousy mileage with their SX4.
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Manson, WAPosts: 7,243
    an AWD vehicle and so it's mpg is going to be lower. The Soul doesn't have AWD, but is a quirky new design that appears to be selling quite well for Kia Motors of South Korea.

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • extech2extech2 Posts: 120
    edited February 2010
    I bought a Soul Plus automatic last week. Traded in my 07 VW GTI for it. Our other cars are a Toyota Tacoma and a V6 Honda Accord. I like the Kia more than any of the others. It has amazing room inside but it is shorter than a Honda Civic. I love the high seating position and the superb visibility. Acceleration is more than enough for our traffic in the Los Angeles/ Orange County metro area. This morning I had it on the freeway and it got up to 85 effortlessly. It felt quiet and secure at that speed. The sound system is very good, and it has Sirius Satellite radio. The engine room is well designed, it will be easy to work on, and it has 10 year warranty. Parking is a snap, getting in and out is much easier than my VW was, and it should get at least 22 mpg in the city on regular fuel. When you drive it the feeling is that you are driving a much bigger, and a very comfortable SUV. My only regret is that I should have got it sooner.
  • I am on the verge of buying a Kia Soul; it seems like a great car for the $$$. Unfortunately, I have no data on reliability or how well Kia follows through on its warranty. While I hear talk of the Toyotas/Hondas that went to 300K, I haven't seen anything like this about a Kia. Suggestions on getting data? At this point, I'll take anecdotal data; however, I'd much prefer something like "The Kia Soul is really just the engine from the Kia Foo and chassis from the Kia Bar, both of which have been around for years and, according to Consumer Reports, never, ever break down."

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