Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Review: 2013 Kia Soul Base

The 2013 Kia Soul is in a category of it's own. I have been a fan of the Soul since it was first introduced. The 2013 Kia Soul competes against the Nissan Cube, Scion xB, and just about every other sub-compact car on the market. The Soul comes in three models: Base, Soul+, and Soul!. I was finally happy to get the keys to the hot selling Kia Soul. My tester was a Kia Soul Base Automatic that had a price tag of $18,085.

The exterior of the Soul is definitely different than any other vehicle out there. The Soul did get a lot of looks from curious onlookers. There were a few exterior changes to the front and rear of the Soul to give it a cleaner look. I really like the addition of LED lights which makes the Soul standout even more. My tester's exterior color was Moss.

At this price range and for a base model, I think the interior is really nice. Anyone who is familiar with Kia's latest interiors will not be disappointed. There is a mix of good quality materials and hard texurized plastics throughout the cabin. The seats in the Soul are firm but comfortable. At 5'9" I had enough legroom and headroom in the backseats. From the position of the driver's seat the knobs and buttons were easy to reach. I was happy that Kia gave the Soul a tilt and telescoping steering wheel because I hate steering wheels that only tilt. When I first got in the Soul I was looking for the power buttons to move the side-view mirrors and realized they are manually adjusted (I'm so used to power everything).

My Soul came with an auxiliary audio input, Bluetooth connectivity, satellite radio, A/C, key-less entry, and steering wheel audio controls. If you're looking for more technology then you will have to step up to a Soul+ or Soul!.

The Soul's safety features include a Tire-Pressure Monitoring System, Side-Impact Door Beams, and 4-Wheel Anti-Lock Brakes. Other features include Child Safety Locks, Front Seat-Belt Pretensioners, Full-Length Side Curtain Airbags, and Lower Anchors & Tethers for Children (LATCH), Downhill Brake Control & Hill Assist Control, Traction Control System, and Electronic Brake-Force Distribution.

Behind the Wheel
The 2013 Kia Soul is powered by either a 1.6L 4-cylinder engine or a 2.0L 4-cylinder engine. The 1.6L engine produces 138 hp and 123 lb-ft of torque. The 2.0L engine produces 164 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque. You can only get a manual transmission on the base model, all other Souls can be paired to a 6-speed automatic transmission driving the front wheels.  I spent majority of my time in the Soul driving around the city which I assume most people with Souls will be doing. Kia's are known for their firm suspensions but I could not sense that in the Soul. The 1.6L engine produces adequate power but I would probably go for the bigger 2.0L engine. I found the Soul to be more lively when the transmission is manually shifted. The Soul has 19.3 cu.ft of storage in the back. My time spent in the Soul I averaged about 23 mpg around town.

The Kia Soul is a great vehicle for people who want something small and good on gas. This vehicle is for the buyer who likes to standout from the rest of the crowd. I am always a fan of quirky vehicles (I drive a Nissan Juke) because they offer styling that is far from boring. I didn't really have many complaints about the Soul. At this price range I felt the Soul offers a lot for the money.  The base Kia Soul starts at $14,400 and achieves 27 city and 35 hwy (1.6L), 26 city and 34 hwy (2.0L). I can see why the Soul has been so successful for Kia. The Soul is now on my list of favorite vehicles. If you are in the Eastern Carolina area please stop by and visit the wonderful people at Lee Kia of Greenville to check out the '13 Kia Soul.

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