2010 Kia Soul Sport new car reviews

Was Huey Lewis right all along? Is it, in fact, hip to be square? With the Soul, Kia has joined the boxy bandwagon pioneered by the Scion xB and Honda Element, creating a squared-off people mover aimed squarely at today's hipster youth.

While people in this market segment probably wouldn't know Huey Lewis from Huey, Dewey and Louie, they're likely to appreciate Kia's efforts to integrate the Soul into a plugged-in lifestyle. Every Soul comes with an MP3-ready stereo and satellite radio subscription plus USB and auxiliary input jacks. All but the base model come with Bluetooth connectivity, too.

Kia is offering these high-tech goodies for a bargain-basement price: The base Soul comes with a 1.6-liter inline four for $13,300, while the rest of the lineup gets a 2.0-liter powerplant starting at $14,950, a steal in today's world.

Other staff views

David S. Wallens David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

I have now driven two of these Souls, and I really dig them. No, it's not going to win at the Solo Nats, but they're great people movers: big, roomy cockpit; excellent visibility; good power; and really nice details. Just about everything you'd touch inside--the radio switches, steering wheel, etc.--have a really nice feel to them.

We drove this second one during our visit to Monterey for the Historics, and it was perfect. It could swallow all of our gear, was easy to park, didn't use much fuel and comfortably carried us around.

Oh, and the price is attractive, too.

Tom Suddard Tom Suddard
Digital Experience Director

I loved this little car, and thought it would make a great little daily driver, especially for the price. Its roomy, it looks pretty good, and it has a good stereo. The trunk is decent, too. I drove an automatic and a manual version, and I wouldn't buy the automatic. It was just too slow. With the manual, though, it was quick enough, and could almost be called entertaining. It reminded me of rowing, in a good way. In fact, the only thing that really bothered me about this car (besides the glowing speakers) was the exhaust note. I know its a lot to ask from an econobox, but it sounded like a dying hamster was under the hood.

Joe Gearin Joe Gearin
Associate Publisher

Chalk me up to another staffer won over by the Soul. Sure the pulsating stereo lights are goofy, but they are also so ridiculous that they had Rennie and I blasting "house" music and giggling like schoolgirls. It is nearly impossible not to dance like the "Night at the Roxbury" guys in this car. The Soul is full of whimsy, and although that may not sound important, it invites you into the fun in an endearing way that is hard to resist.

Fortunately the Soul's playful nature isn't just skin deep. Sure it is underpowered, and not intended for track use, but it goes about it's business in a pleasant, even frisky way. As stated, the 5spd is the better choice for any kind of entertaining driving. The linkage is a bit ropey, but it works acceptably well. What really surprised me was how adept this box is when the road begins to turn.

We had a 5spd Soul during our recent Monterey trip. After the magical but grueling festivities that make up the Monterey Historic extravaganza, we traditionally head 45min South along PCH to Big Sur for a wrap up dinner. PCH is maybe the most beautiful drive in the U.S. The road twists and turns, hugging mountains on one side, and dropping 1000ft into the ocean on the other. Understanding the Soul's purpose in life, I wasn't pushing it very hard to begin with, but with each turn my confidence grew. It turns out the little Kia is actually a pretty lively handler. Soon I was clipping along at a pace brisk enough to make my passengers nervous, although the Soul still had plenty of grip, and chassis left. It looks like Kia did it's homework with this lovable little box.

If I had a need for a cheap, utilitarian box the Soul would be on my shortlist. The Soul is more proof that Kia is a carmaker to watch.

J.G. Pasterjak JG Pasterjak
Production/Art Director

It's the current minibox vehicle that reminds me the most of the original Scion xB, which is my personal paradigm of what that class is all about. It feels like a lot of car for the money.

Join Free Join our community to easily find more articles.
Comments
View comments on the GRM forums
MadScientistMatt
MadScientistMatt UberDork
11/20/09 9:02 a.m.

...although wasn't there a commercial with a hamster driving a Soul?

miwifri
miwifri New Reader
11/23/09 9:11 p.m.

It's funny how seemingly silly little cars can appeal to hard core motor heads when they are efficient, handy and well made.

DoctorBlade
DoctorBlade UltraDork
9/27/11 10:56 p.m.

Canoes!

Tim Baxter
Tim Baxter PowerDork
12/10/13 12:00 a.m.

Was Huey Lewis right all along? Is it, in fact, hip to be square? With the Soul, Kia has joined the boxy bandwagon pioneered by the Scion xB and Honda Element, creating a squared-off people mover aimed squarely at today's hipster youth.

While people in this market segment probably wouldn't know Huey Lewis from Huey, Dewey and Louie, they're likely to appreciate Kia's efforts to integrate the Soul into a plugged-in lifestyle. Every Soul comes with an MP3-ready stereo and satellite radio subscription plus USB and auxiliary input jacks. All but the base model come with Bluetooth connectivity, too.

Kia is offering these high-tech goodies for a bargain-basement price: The base Soul comes with a 1.6-liter inline four for $13,300, while the rest of the lineup gets a 2.0-liter powerplant starting at $14,950, a steal in today's world.

Our Preferred Partners
tUPpP3PtPc2Pty8NW4uxhY2OHzQL21jbS1WNiqNxWzSLeTOuHle6WLXy9Xbvf0SD