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2013 Kia Soul! Review By John Heilig

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2013 Kia Soul

By John Heilig

Model: 2013 Kia Soul!

Engine: 2.0-liter I4

Horsepower/Torque: 164 hp @ 6,200 rpm/151 lb.-ft. @ 4,000 rpm

Transmission: 6-speed automatic

Wheelbase: 101.2 in.

Length x Width x Height: 163.0x 70.9 x 63.4 in.

Tires: P235/45R18

Cargo: 24.2 cu. ft.

Economy: 23 mpg city/28 mpg highway/25.3 mpg test

Fuel capacity: 14.2 gal.

Curb Weight: 2,714-2,879 lbs.

Sticker: $23,575 (includes $775 inland freight charge and $2,900 in options)

The Bottom Line: The Kia Soul! (the ! makes it an “Exclaim” option model) is a surprisingly well-equipped box car. Like the others in the segment, it is practical and versatile, even if the shape is not the most aerodynamic on the highway.

The “box car” segment arguably began with the Scion xB and has seen new entries from Nisan and Kia. I’m frankly surprised that there haven’t been more, because despite their somewhat odd shape, the box cars are incredibly practical. I recall meeting one man in a hotel parking lot who had filled his xB with most of his earthly belongings after his wife took the Lexus and almost everything else in the breakup.

The Kia Soul ! (the exclamation point is sort of important) certainly has personality. From the rapper hamster ads down to the more mundane practical aspects of the Soul, it does set itself apart. The styling is reminiscent of the Range Rover Evoque with its tapering rear end that is accentuated by rear windows that decrease in height as you get to the rear of the car.

Even with this shape, the Soul carries almost everything you’d want. One exception was when we wanted to take a garbage can full of tree clippings to our local recycling center and it couldn’t fit because of the low roof line. We also had to lower one of the rear seat backs in order to get a golf bag loaded.

Still, the Soul is roomy. One of the critical areas as far as I’m concerned is rear leg room, and the Soul has that in abundance. With a 101.2-inch wheelbase and a compact 163.0-inch overall length the Soul makes good use of e very inch.

Under the hood is a 2.0-liter inline four that’s rated at 164 horsepower. There is good power from this engine, even though it tends to be somewhat noisy. Also, it isn’t as economical as I would have hoped, with a 25.3 mpg test mileage. Blame it on the boxy shape or what, I still would have liked to see higher numbers.

With the rapper hamster spokesanimals, you’d expect a good sound system and it’s there. All the standard options are included, with the USB and AUX plug-ins located at the base of the center stack in a cubby that’s also good for the keys that aren’t needed thanks to a remote stop/start.

There is a clear navigation/audio screen. The navigation side of the equation is easy to set a destination with logical controls.

The front seats have some side support. They are firm, but comfortable. The front seat shoulder belts adjust for height. The rear seats, as mentioned before, have good legroom. We often have difficulty finding the rear seat belt receivers when there are child seats installed, but this wasn’t a problem with the Soul, as it is with other small cars. There are four assist handles. With the boxy shape, there is also very good rear head room.

I felt the suspension was firm, but with the relatively short wheelbase and light weight you would expect to feel every bump. On the positive side, handling is pretty good, despite the shape.

Overall, the Kia Soul (with or without the exclamation point) is a good representative of the box car segment. Like its segment-mates, it is designed to be functional and it fulfills that function well.

2013 The Auto Page