The 2010 Kia Soul represented a bold new direction for Kia Motors . The Kia Soul marked the departure of bland cars for Kia. Today Kia is the fastest growing car line in the US. Now in its third year the boxy upright Soul continues to sell well .
Kia received a bit of refreshing for 2012 the headlights are larger and led lights were added to the higher level models . An infotaiment systems is also new for the model year. The big news are two new engines and two new transmissions a six speed automatic and a six speed manual. The base engine is the 1.6 liter 4 cylinder with 138 horsepower and 123 pound feet of torque and the optional engine is a 2.0 liter with 168 horsepower and 148 pound feet of torque. Mileage is 27/35 and 26/34.
The advertising ambassadors for the Soul are four chunky Hip Hop Hamsters and those boys may be on to something. Last fall my son rented a Kia Soul . Being a big man, I was preparing for the worse and to my surprise I fit. All 6.4 and 300 plus pounds fit comfortably. With the front seat in its most rearmost position, my 5.9 daughter had ample room .
IT’S THE INTERIOR DESIGN..
Most drivers over six feet tall can tell you, it’s the size of the car, its the design. European cars seem to be more accommodating for taller drivers, on the other end of this scale are the Japanese cars. This big man has difficulty getting in Cadillac Escalade’s and other GM Full Size Trucks, and larger cars Ford Taurus, Volvo 60, Buick LaCrosse and a host of other cars and trucks.
And the 2700 pound Soul didn’t turn over as I was entering the vehicle. Impressive!
Two Days in the Soul
The wow factor continue, this supersize body was just fine in the drivers seat. I drove a mid level Soul with the 2.0 amd the 6 speed automatic transmission.
The dash was fine, however after driving newer vehicles like the Ford Focus ,Hyundai Elantra (Kia is owned by Hyundai) Buick Verano, they didn’t go far enough with the update., The surfaces were rock hard plastic compared to the soft touch dash of the other models. The Soul is a tall car with views similar to an SUV. Outward the views are excellent, to the rear with its superwide pillars is poor (get the optional back up camera). My Soul had bluetooth, it connected to my android on the first try. Hyundai and Chrysler builds the best intuitive systems in the industry. Every Soul is equipped with a tilt telescoping steering wheel.
Merging onto I-80 was effortless with the A/C on. The Soul’s ride was firm but not punishing , over expansion joints in the road the ride become a bit rough. Wind noise was noticeable in notorious corridor between Fairfield and Vallejo and the transmission seemed to hunt for gears going up the hill. Going up California Street in San Francisco, the 2.0 liter didn’t embarres itself, but with a full load a few more pony’s wouldn’t hurt. Handling was fun and sporty in town and parking was a breeze. The Soul storage isn’t for families with a lot of gear with the seats up, it will hold two medium bags .
Pricing, Warranty and Reliability
Base Soul’s start at 14,000 with the mid level 17,000 an the top of the line 20,000 . Being the old car on the lot, deep discounts are available. The 2012 Kia Soul comes with a five-year/60,000-mile basic warranty and a competitive 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. Kia also provides a five-year/100,000-mile warranty against rust damage and five years or 60,000 miles of 24-hour roadside assistance.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety give the Soul a good rating. The Soul averages a four out of five star rating. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Consumer Reports says the Soul rates average in reliability.
Big Man Ride
When the auto industry designs a vehicle they’re not designing for a man who is 6.4 and over 300 pounds. From the pictures I fit and well, front and back . The 2012 Soul isnt as fun to drive than a Mazda 3, Ford Focus or Chevy Cruze, and it’s MPG is lower than the Honda Civic ,Toyota Corolla and Hyundai Elantra. The Kia Soul is my top pick for the person or couple who needs ample room in a small package, after a couple hours in the rear seat your friends wont curse you under their breath.
Special Thanks to Sacramento Kia