2010 Kia Soul

The new Kia Soul is a small stylish boxy street-cruiser that will compete directly with Scion’s trendsetting xB. Both vehicles exude a hip and youthful vibe. It’s another example of Hyundai proving itself as a maker of higher-quality cutting-edge fuel-efficient automobiles. The Kia Soul’s tag line is, “A new way to roll…50+ accessories, 31 mpg/hwy, starting under $14k.”

Compare the Soul!

If you’re thinking about buying a Kia Soul, you might also consider a Scion xB or a Mini Cooper. Compare these vehicles.

Built on the Kia Rio’s subcompact platform, the Soul offers a lot in terms of affordability, practicality, and efficiency. It’s powered by a choice of two small four-cylinder engines. One is a 1.6-liter powerplant yielding a modest 122 horsepower, and the other is a peppier 142-horsepower 2.0-liter. The 1.6 has government fuel economy ratings of 26 in the city and 31 on the highway—while the 2.0-liter rates at 24 in the city and 30 on the highway. The MSRP starts at $13,300.

We put the EPA’s mileage numbers to the test by taking our 2.0-liter Soul out on our regular 114-mile test loop. The first time, we applied harder acceleration and a heavier foot. On this run, we achieved a respectable 25.7 miles per gallon. We were expecting less given the more spirited driving, but the Soul kept a comfortable margin over its city number. On our more passive run, again the Soul out-did its ratings—achieving 33.1 miles per gallon. Sure, the driving style was subdued, and even the heat was turned off, but the final result was encouraging.

From a handling standpoint, the Soul is a fun little car to drive. But due to a higher center of gravity, you have to watch taking corners too fast. There’s more body roll here then the typical subcompact. Electronic Stability Control helps, but the driver still needs to be aware of the vehicle’s limits. Its ride is comfortable and fairly smooth, making it a natural commuter. The only real complaint is the buzziness of the engine. It can get a little loud and annoying on the highway.

The cabin of the Soul is as stylish as the exterior. Its use of color and curved lines give it a very modern appeal. Beyond aesthetics, the Soul has a level of fit and finish that is comparable to rivals from Honda or Toyota. Interior materials feel solid, not plastic-y, a direction Hyundai has been moving in for the last couple of model years. And there’s plenty of passenger room for five—more than the xB. Seats are firm and supportive, and the ones up front offer excellent visibility in all directions. The Soul, however, falls short on cargo room compared to the xB and the Fit. Not to say that it’s unusable—just limited. The overall interior packaging leans toward passenger space over cargo volume.

But the true essence of the Soul’s urban flavor is captured by its 315-watt upgraded stereo system with subwoofer and pulsating speaker lights. No doubt a novelty, but super cool nonetheless. And it delivers sound that’s similar to that of systems found in higher-end luxury automobiles.

In the end, the Kia Soul is a fun, little people carrier, with eye-catching looks, very good fuel economy, and Hyundai’s newfound reputation for quality. Add to that a 10 year/100,000 warranty—the best in the industry—and a base price around $15,000. It’s possible that we may have a cult hit on our hands.

Reviews

“The 2010 Soul is a game-changer for Kia, the first vehicle from the Korean automaker that has a chance of being remembered for more than its low price and long warranty. This Kia has actually got soul.”
Edmunds.com

“Those who were disappointed with the upsized and redesigned second-generation Scion xB may have a new vehicle to consider… The engine provides plenty of power for a vehicle this size, feels significantly quicker than the first-gen xB, and will probably outrun the Fit in a straight line. But it’s somewhat unrefined and noisy (which, considering the price point, isn’t a serious problem).”
MotorTrend

“Driving the Soul is bound to stir memories in those who drove an original VW Beetle in college. The seats sit upright and are fairly firm. The steering is light and the shifter has the same vague rubbery feel as the original Beetle’s. It’s kind of awkward, just like the first time you drove a Beetle, but you soon get used to the feel, clunking it in and out of gear without a second thought. Cruising at 70…feels fairly relaxed.”
TheTruthAboutCars

 


Pros
  • Color and curves give stylish appearance
  • Fun and funky dash
  • Great stereo, and accessories to add
Cons
  • Engine buzz at highway speeds
  • LImited cargo space
  • Bumpy ride with too much body roll

Price quote for Kia Soul

2010 Kia Soul
Base MSRP: $13,300
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  • Tony

    “The new Kia Soul is a small stylish boxy street-cruiser…”

    So, which is it — boxy, or is it stylish?

    “A new way to roll…50+ accessories, 31 mpg/hwy, starting under $14k.”

    OK, it’s a little on the cheap side. But is 31MPG anything to brag about? Especially for a small cheap car? My Elantra, for which I paid under $18k, gets considerably better than that, is apparently roomier, and is far less unattractive.

  • Jeddy

    Oh boy, more gasoline powered engines…

    Kia doesn’t get it. CO2 emissions aren’t the whole story. There are also so nitrous oxide NOX emissions to consider.

    Fossil fuel powered vehicles have got to go.

  • Dom

    Yeah for small cars with manual transmissions (see side pictures)!!

  • Roger

    Until we get serious and all demand to our representatives in congress and the whitehouse that they raise CAFE standards to 50+ MPG, we will continue to send hundreds of Billions of our hard earned money to Islamic countries that breed the terrorists whose life’s purpose is to destroy us.

    Can we please put fees on vehicles that get under 20mpg and use those funds to provide a $10,000-$15,000 credit for each new vehicle that get’s the equivalent of 60+MPG.

    That will bring a boon to new Hybrid and electric vehicles and will dry up the terrorist’s money supply in a heartbeat.

  • cferger

    Raising CAFE standards is NOT the answer. Congress should raise taxes on fuel. The more you use, the more you pay. Higher fuel costs will lower demand.

  • qqRockyBeans

    agree with chuck

    phase in tax increase
    1c per week
    over 2 years
    $1.04 tax increase to gasoline (petrol) only

    Straight petro-diesel and B5 would be taxed at a rate of
    half the gasoline tax, or 52c per gallon
    B20 tax increased at 40c per gallon
    B50 taxed at 25c per gallon extra
    and B99 would not have any tax increase

    E85 would be increased tax by 52c
    [I know it's controversial, but I know it's not the end-all be-all solution, but it does have its place, even if it's very small place, every little bit helps!]

    87-octane petrol would no longer be sold
    93-octane only

    The only fuels sold, besides electricity, would be
    93 octane petrol
    100-octane street-legal race gas (eg. Sunoco 260GT)
    B20, B50, and B99 biodiesel
    E85
    CNG

  • qqRockyBeans

    I looked on Kia’s website about the Soul…

    WHY CAN’T YOU GET A SUNROOF WITH THE SMALL ENGINE??? [1.6L]

  • Danielle

    yes lets raise gas prices when we have almost no public transportation or affordable alternatives!! That’s just the thing to do! Unless you guys want to start taking me to school and work, I suggest you do some research on just what it would take to get the people that cant afford a hybrid car, or something much more fuel efficient, to and from their jobs and anywhere else we need to get. Im all for a cleaner environment, but there is only so much that can happen in a short period of time.

  • Dylan

    Congress truly sucks in the respect that they won’t raise the CAFE standards to at least 40 mpg for all cars! Congress should really get their asses moving and stop doing nothing, even though that is what they are best at, as we all know!

    Really lets stop supporting these forign countries; we really need to do something about it. I don’t know about the rest of the U.S. majority population but personaly we need to focus on our own intrests. Congress needs to put a lot more pressure on the auto companies like: Ford, Chevy, Chrysler Mopar, Mazda, Lincoln, and Dodge just to name a few. There is no excuse that congress has to allow such low mpg standards. This problem needs to change now, not later because it will take a while to make the whole country to adapt. There is a lot to be done in the next year and I say that in NEEDS TO START NOW!!!!! It has to because of the length that it will take to adapt. So, hears a note to congress lets get moving now or let all of the competing contries beat us out of this race. Support the U.S but its kind of hard when the forgin countries are making thinks better than us. I thought that the U.S. was a leader apalently not!!!

  • Nicole

    Totally agrees with Dylan.

  • Garvey Kia

    I got the opportunity to drive the new Kia forte with the economy package and was astonished. Roomy, comfortable and peppy. They really nailed this one. I have heard that the silica tires are expensive to replace, is it true?

  • kia warranty price

    I love this car :-)

  • Nikko

    lovely car, thanks for this review
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  • Nikko

    lovely car, thanks for this review
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  • tapra1

    ut the driver still needs to be aware of the vehicle’s limits. Its ride is comfortable and fairly smooth, making it a natural commuter. The only real complaint is the buzziness of the engine.LLA Tech

  • DRJJJ

    Lower the National speed limit to 100-kilometers that is, 62.5 mph 50 state max and we’d leap frog a few years in emission reductions and reduced oil use!! Doubt what I’m saying?? Read any/all mpg forum for most vehicles-mpg drops fast over 60 and emissions spike! Spread the word-it’s instant, cheap, fair, proven, saves lives, oil and it’s fair!

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  • albertmathews

    The new model of Kia Sou has various distinctive features. Low cost and long warranty is one of the main features of this car.
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  • jones boulstridge

    The tires are low-rolling resistance tires, but they can be changed anyway. If Continental has the tires for this vehicle for the rims, then it would ride better with good grip and better braking distance. christian forums

  • rudyshweitzer

    I have pleased with our little green alien color! Good gas mileage, performance and ride. A lot of people stop us to see how we like ridding this car.

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