The Entertainment Center
The 2009 Kia Soul isn’t exactly a box in the same vein as the Scion xB and Nissan Cube but the price point, target market and unconventional look make it a natural competitor to those more square in nature. It is technically a “two box” design like the xB and Cube but its design is the most sporty and aggressive of the bunch. It is also the most conventional of the three, which in this group isn’t that hard to do.
Don’t get me wrong, the Kia Soul is far from “normal” when it comes to affordable transportation. Like its competitors, its design and customization options allow owner’s to create their individual Soul but in my opinion, the shape, size and driving characteristics have more of a broad appeal than the Scion or Nissan.
The Soul is the only one with a choice of two engines; a 1.6-liter four-cylinder with 120 horsepower or a 2.0-liter four cylinder with 140 horsepower. The smaller engine is on the base Soul and only comes with a five-speed manual transmission. The 140-horse engine can be matched with either a 5-speed manual or four-speed automatic in the Soul+, Soul! and Soul sport. Kia estimates MPG for both engines at 30 on the highway.
I spent a day in the Soul driving around Miami, FL and from that short amount of seat time I was very impressed with overall quality and design of the Soul. It rides like a sedan and while not a sports car by any means, it has enough pep to merge onto the highway and dart around the city. There was some criticism of the 5-speed manual being sloppy but in my opinion, for the price point and target customer, it is just fine. The ride is considerably more composed than the xB but not as comfort-oriented as the Cube. I’ll have to pass final judgment after spending a week with it but first impressions are positive.
Of the three, I’m referring to the Soul as the box that the entertainment center came in. You can’t help but smile when you approach the car and with color choices like “Alien” and “Motlen” it is evident that the designers and product planners had fun creating it. Once you get behind the wheel you notice that the fun continues on the inside as well. The design is cohesive and entertaining without trying too hard. Even the seat fabric and patterns are fun with designs ranging from black with glow-in-the-dark “Soul” inserts to an available houndstooth pattern
Available in four trims (Soul, Soul+, Soul! and Soul sport). The base Soul starts at $13,300, the Soul+, which includes standard keyless entry remote, solar glass and 16-inch alloy wheels, will start at $14,9501 and top out at $17,100 when options including the Audio Package and power moonroof are included. Enhancing to the Soul! will add the power moonroof, fog lights and 18-inch alloy wheels and will be priced beginning at $16,9501 and peak at $17,900 with all available options included. The Soul sport, includes side sills, a rear spoiler, 18-inch alloy wheels and unique front and rear fascias, and will start at $16,9501 and end at $18,600 with all available options included.
2009 Scion xB
2009 Nissan Cube
Kia is not a gay-friendly company.
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- 2010 Kia Soul
- N/A mpg | MSRP from $13,300
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