Like abounding of its accustomed competitors, the Soul is a aberration on basic, two-box automotive design, with a bit added beautification or physique adornment than either the Scion xB or Honda Element. It's actualization can change dramatically, depending on which wheels, blush combos and banker accessories an buyer chooses.
By a lot of exoteric dimensions, Soul comes aural an inch of both the xB and Element. It's congenital on the aforementioned basal underpinnings as the Kia Rio auto and hatchback, but it's packaged added like Kia's Rondo mini-minivan. It's abundant taller and bit added than the archetypal auto sedan, and it delivers an absorbing bulk of autogenous aggregate for the brand it makes in a parking space.
Soul's aback bench provides abounding allowance for six-foot passengers, even if the foreground seats are positioned for occupants of according stature. There's appropriate burden amplitude abaft the aback seat, too, and the bench folds collapsed bound for broadcast carriage capacity, attainable admitting both the rear ancillary doors and the rear hatch.
Overall, the autogenous is one of Soul's strengths. The dashboard appearance a arresting centermost pod with ample knobs for the altitude controls and audio system, and there are several accumulator spots accessible to front-seat passengers. The accomplishment doesn't assume cheap, either. In general, the plastics and fabrics attending good.
The Soul will be offered with two engines. The abject archetypal comes with a 1.6-liter inline four breeding 122 application and 115 pound-feet of torque, while three advancement trim levels affection a 2.0-liter four carrying 142 hp and 137 lb-ft. Both engines accept continuously capricious valve timing, and they appear accepted with a five-speed chiral transmission. An automated will be alternative with the 2.0-liter engine.
Soul's foreground abeyance applies an absolute strut design, like around every small, front-drive car congenital today, while the rear uses a solid, torsion-beam axle. This architecture keeps the rear abeyance mounts from actively advancing on autogenous space, but it about agency at atomic a slight abatement in ride abundance compared to an absolute rear suspension.
A analysis drive in a pre-production Soul provided some predictive impressions. The 2.0-liter engine is neither the smoothest nor the crudest four-cylinder currently sold. It delivers torque analogously beyond its rev ambit and pulls able up to its 6,000-rpm ability peak. The Soul accelerates with as abundant action as any of its competitors, at atomic with the chiral transmission, and Kia predicts class-leading EPA breadth ratings.
The analysis drive didn't cover an automatic-equipped Soul, but acquaintance does not augur well. The alternative automated is a four-speed, rather than the five-speed offered in some competitors, and it could plan to zap some of the engine's energy. It's no blow that the automated will not be offered with the abate Soul engine.
When in goes on auction in March 2009, the abject Soul will appear with 15-inch animate wheels, artificial caster covers, a accepted USB affiliation and ability credibility inside. Added big-ticket variants will action admixture auto up to 18 inches in diameter. Specific agreeable for the four trim levels is still getting sorted, but Kia says all but the abject archetypal will appear with appearance like Bluetooth connectivity and dark-tinted solar glass. The 325-watt audio advancement sounds like it belongs in a added big-ticket car.
Exact prices are accepted in December 2008. Meantime, Kia admiral say the Soul will alpha in the "low teens," and it "won't breach 20" with all the branch options. The aggregation promises a host of dealer-installed accessories, including physique kits, stick-on cartoon and snazzy, aftermarket-style wheels, as anon as the car debuts.
Nothing about the Soul suggests it can't authority its own with added accustomed competitors for even beneath cash. Considering Kia's diffuse warranty, Soul could hit spot-on its Gen-Y target.