Review 2010 Kia Soul Sport: a bigger mousetrap at a smaller price


That's perhaps the best way to sum up the 2010 Kia Soul's size.

If you could have only one car for the rest of your life the Soul would be perhaps your best choice for a vehicle that manages to meet all of your ever changing needs in a car under 20K.

Of course that's not to say the Soul is perfect.

So let's get the bad news out of the way first:

Soull5 – The Soul's Sport suspension seems to have been tuned by a committee of Communist era Soviet tractor mechanics. Instead of adsorbing bumps and road irregularities, the car's suspension transmits harsh jolts into the car's cabin like it was riding on wooden wheels.

– The Soul's initial throttle response is so eager that it brings to mind a light on and off switch. Just touch the throttle and the 142-horsepower 2.0-liter engine explodes with lots of noise and excitement, but with surprising little acceleration and performance.

– While the car's interior design is perhaps the funkiest and most creative use of colors and textures on the market today in a sub 20K car, the actually plastic shinny bits of colorful trim were looking decidedly well worn and somewhat tatty in my tester—which had just over 13K on the clock.

But that's pretty much it when it comes to the bad news. The rest of the car is as unique and fresh as the first summer's breeze after a Minnesota winter.

The car's urban and perhaps hip (and certainly bold) styling always manages to turn heads.

This is one funky car that stands out in the big box mall parking lot of bland late model sedans, SUV's and pick-ups.


That's probably the best word used to describe the vibe that Soul's emits from every possible angle.

From the rakish shape of the front windscreen to the tall taillamps and a light and lofty rump that's nearly vertical like a modern office building.

If you could bottle youth, the Soul would be hauling it to that endless party that "hot" looking models in techno car commercials seem to inhabit.

But unlike many pretenders in this urban chick car market segment the Soul backs up all of those commercial (and let's face facts) unrealistic promises of never-ending-coolness with clever and extremely useful interior packaging.

In other words, not only is the Soul bigger on the inside than on the outside, (but being extremely tall) it feels and hauls your stuff like a much bigger and more practical car. And it does all that with a unique style that's tasteful, fresh and here's that word again—fun.

This is probably the kiss of death for the Soul, but it is one of those car's that will certainly appeal to the AARP crowd.

Once they figure out just how much value they get for their hard-fought retirement money in the Soul, the senior crowd will be all over it like an early bird steak special in Miami.

That is if the red throbbing music mood lighting in the door speakers doesn't cause an immediate sensory overload.

Here are just some of the goodies that you get standard when you purchase the Soul:

– six advanced airbags

– anti-lock brakes

– Front Active headrest

– traction and stability control

– tire pressure monitors

Plus for a very exceptional sticker of just $18,345. my car also came with all of the big boy toys like:

– 225/45R 18 inch tires

– SIRIUS sat radio

– USB and Aux input jacks

– Bluetooth Hands Free Connectivity

– Power everything and even a leather wrapped steering wheel to name just a few of the more premium features.

That's a lot of toys that you may not get in many cars priced at substantially more money.

So let's recap.

If you are in the market for a small front wheel drive car that will put a smile on your face when you head home from work, you might just want to give the Kia Soul a test drive.

Sure, it's not as refined as the Scion xB with which it competes with head to head, but in terms of useful space, jazzy styling, and that fun factor, the Soul maybe just the perfect fit for you.

2010 Kia Sport Soul

Price as Tested: $18,345.00

Engine, Transmission:  2.0 Liter 16-valve DOHC engine with 5-speed manual transmission

Horsepower: 142

G-Tac Test as tested Data at 5420 feet above sea level

1/4 Mile: 20.81 second at 71 mph

0-60 mph: 14.99 sec

60-0 stopping: 127 feet

Max Acceleration: 0.49 g's

EPA Fuel Economy Estimates

City: 24 mpg

Highway: 30 mpg

Combined: 26.0 mpg

As tested: 25.9 mpg

CO2 per year: 8,385 lbs

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Roman Roman Mica is a columnist, journalist, and author, who spent his early
years driving fast on the German autobahn. When he's not reviewing cars
for the active set, you can find him training for triathlons and
writing about endurance sports for,