When the Soul showed up on the scene in 2010, it definitely made waves. Thanks in part to a successful Super Bowl television ad, the Soul secured its spot in the boxy-car trifecta along with the Nissan Cube and the Scion xB. Nifty, funky, and quirky are all words that can describe this car's styling. Big, buggy headlights and a squared-off, swept-back design give the Soul a sportier look than its competition. Bold exterior looks are only accented by wacky-but-appealing paint options, including moss, a new color this year. Inside, an all-new 350-watt seven-speaker Infinity audio system is optional on Soul+ models and standard on Soul! models. As before, there are lights in the door-mounted speakers that can flash in time with the music. The Soul! has a voice-activated infotainment system with a 4.3-inch color touch screen and a rear camera display. The two four-cylinder engines now make more power. The 1.6-liter, paired with a six-speed manual, produces 138 hp, a thirteen-percent increase over the previous engine. Not enough? A new 2.0-liter pumps out 164 hp, a sixteen-percent increase over the previous engine, and 148 lb-ft of torque. It's available with either the six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic. The larger engine is standard on Soul+ and Soul! models. If flower power is more appealing to you than horsepower, there is an available eco package, which features Intelligent Stop and Go technology and an Active Eco system for optimal fuel-efficient driving.
Trim levels: Soul, Soul+, Soul!
Body style: Hatchback, 5-passenger
Engines: 1.6L I-4, 135 hp, 121 lb-ft
2.0L I-4, 160 hp, 143 lb-ft
Transmissions: 6-speed manual, 6-speed automatic
Passenger volume: 102.3 cu ft
Cargo space: (rear seats up/down) 19.3/53.4 cu ft
The Soul has undergone a fairly comprehensive midcycle refresh. New, more efficient transmissions boast six forward speeds and, together with more efficient -- and more powerful -- engines, help boost highway fuel economy by 4 mpg. Other added touches are LED lighting and an Infinity audio system. The Uvo voice-activated infotainment system, powered by Microsoft, is a new option.
ABS; stability and traction control; dual front, side, and side curtain air bags; a tire-pressure monitoring system; and hill-start assist are standard.
EPA Fuel Economy
All: 26-27 mpg city/34-35 mpg highway
- Much-improved fuel economy
Robust engine output
Boxy outside, roomy inside
You Won't Like
- Interior materials are a bit of a letdown
Sport model not available
Kia's square compact works to stay cool.
If You Like This Vehicle
- Nissan Cube