Road Test: 2010 Kia Soul  “4u+”

Road Test: 2010 Kia Soul “4u+”

04.03.2010: Text & Images: Iain Shankland When my wife first laid her eyes on the Kia Soul at the auto show, right then and there she wanted one. I was intrigued, but not overly thrilled at owning one (I don’t

Text & Images: Iain Shankland





When my wife first laid her eyes on the Kia Soul at the auto show, right then and there she wanted one. I was intrigued, but not overly thrilled at owning one (I don’t have a vehicle of my own – that’s what road test vehicles are for). To stop my ears from bleeding because of my wife’s incessant nagging, I asked the Kia PR department for one to test at the earliest possible moment. That time has now arrived.

I wasn’t enamored with the Soul’s mediocre 142 horsepower (106 Kw) and the look is certainly “different.” I am however, interested in any vehicle that can be purchased at such a reasonable price and wanted to know how useful it could be. Within just a few minutes of driving it, my whole attitude towards it changed. The only “cheap” part of this vehicle is its price – everything else is better than you’d expect from a vehicle with a base price of just $15,495 Cdn.


First Impressions


I don’t dislike the look, but it’s completely different from anything else on the road except perhaps the Scion. In the bright green – “Mint” in Kia parlance (“Pee green” and “Booger green” was what my wife called it), it’s a pretty cool vehicle. The color brought out a lot of comments – both positive and negative. I didn’t mind it at all and several other people thought it matched the car perfectly. My wife and mother-in-law were pretty vocal in their dislike for the color.

Putting the color aside, the car brought smiles to the faces of just about everyone. I’m sure it’s partly because there are very few of them on the road, but every comment I got was positive. Even my very opinionated and negative sister-in-law was almost smitten by it. She sat in the back seat for a short trip and was actually quite impressed by it. This speaks volumes about how good a car this is!! If she can’t find fault with a budget car it HAS to be good!




The seats are comfortable, with the driver getting a six-way seat that is height- adjustable. There is no lumbar adjustment, but overall the seat doesn’t really miss it too much, and entry is effortless. The steering tilts (even on the base model), something I wasn’t expecting. The instrument cluster is very clear and easy to see exactly what you want – no guessing or wondering which button you should push to execute which function. Oh, if all other cars were this simple!!!

On the highway the Soul is surprisingly quiet, even though the test vehicle had the 4-speed automatic. I was expecting a labored and slow rise to 100 km/h, but it was quite brisk! Staying in the 100-110 km/h range was not an issue and still the cabin remained quite quiet. Around town this is all one really needs for urban travel. Forget the Smart Fortwo – this is the ultimate runabout.




The audio system is simply incredible from a car in this price bracket, in fact even in $40,000 vehicles this stereo system would be something to talk about. You get an AM/FM/MP3 CD radio with Auxiliary and USB ports (BMW charge you $450 for the USB alone), a subwoofer, center speaker, 315-watt amplifier and speaker lights. The lights are more of a gimmick than anything else but they kept my wife amused.


Rear Seat/Cargo


Entry is easy because the door opens well out of the way, but the area for your feet is a little tight. Once seated however it is quite comfortable and there’s plenty of room for two people – three would really be a pinch. Knee, hip and shoulder space is better than you’d expect based on the overall size of the Soul. Headroom is more than anyone would ever need (unless you’re an NBA star).

The seats fold 60/40 and are almost flat, so you can get the maximum cargo use. I measured 635mm x 1168mm x 775mm (25” x 46” x 30.5”) with the seats up and 1460 mm x 1321mm x 851mm (57.5”x 52” x 33.5”) with the rear seats folded. Unfortunately the front passenger seat doesn’t fold forward for more storage/longer items. Under the cargo floor is a large and very useful storage tray for keeping things away from prying eyes.




As for standard features, the list is long and impressive. All but the very base model get Sport Tuned suspension, Cruise control, Keyless entry, Air, ABS, ESC (Stability Control), Traction Control, 4-wheel disc brakes, 16” Alloy wheels, Crash Auto Door unlockand deep tint privacy glass. Options are slim, but stepping up to the next model usually includes them and adds some more.





Even the base models get six airbags, heated seats, power window and locks, AM/FM/MP3 CD radio with Auxiliary and USB ports, Anti-theft Immobilizer and a tilt steering wheel.


The Conclusion


The Kia Soul can be summed up in one word: Surprising! Kia has done a remarkable job with the Soul. It boggles the mind that a car this cheap to buy, can feel so much more expensive. From the buttons and switches, to the higher than expected quality of plastics on the door and dashboard - the Soul feels so much more expensive than cars costing many thousands of dollars than this.

From a little 2.0 litre, 142 hp engine, Kia has given us a car that is… surprisingly agile and definitely not sluggish! I’m a fiend for horsepower and torque, but this little car really did exceed any expectation I had with those low numbers. I got this car expecting it to be rubbish and I came away amazed at just how good it is.. and did I mention the price?






+ PLUSES:


Way better than you’d expect in this price range
Killer standard stereo system
Loads of room in a small package
Have you seen the warranty?
Coming Soon!  An Electric/Hybrid version


- MINUSES:


Another gear in the automatic transmission would be nice – not a deal-breaker though
The mega-moonroof from the Auto show’s prototype isn’t available and might never be


Immediate Competition:

Dodge Caliber, Hyundai Elantra Touring, Kia Rio5, Mazda3, Suzuki SX4, Toyota Matrix, VW Golf 






By The Numbers…


Please visit your local dealer for the latest prices and incentives.
For more information visit: www.Kia.ca

Pricing for the 2010 Kia Soul 4u+
Base price: $21,195 Cdn
As tested: $21,195 Cdn
Destination & Delivery: $1,650

Powertrain:            2.0 Litre 4-cylinder 16-valve DOHC with CVVT; 4-speed automatic transmission; FWD
Horsepower: (Kw)     142 (106) @ 6,000 rpm
Torque: lb-ft (N.m.)     137 (186) @ 4,600 rpm
0-100 km/h:         9.4 seconds

Curb Weight:         1,295 -1,355 kg
Cargo Capacity:     Behind Front Seats: 53.4 cu.ft (1,511 litres)  //  Behind Rear Seats: 19.3 cu.ft  (546 litres)


Fuel Consumption:

City: 8.6 L/100 kms  //  Highway: 6.5 L/100 kms 
I averaged 9.8 L/100 kms during mostly highway driving

Warranty and Roadside Assistance
CANADA:  1-year/20,000 km First-year adjustments; 5-year/100,000 km Worry-free comprehensive warranty; 5-year/100,000 km Powertrain Warranty & 5-year/100,000 km Roadside Assistance.



Copyright © 2010 by Iain Shankland – www.twitter.com/Road_Test  

This original, copyrighted material may NOT be copied, used in whole or in part in any way, cut and pasted, published or otherwise reproduced in any form or in any medium - which means DO NOT post this on another website or BBS. If you want somebody else to see this, send them a link or post a link to this page.



Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/road-test-kia-soul-4u-2010-iain-shankland---76722.html

04.03.2010 / MaP

More News

Road Test: 2010 Toyota Prius
28.02.2010
Text & Images: Iain Shankland Well it had to happen… sooner or later I had to get a Prius to test drive for a week. I’ve driven all kinds of hybrids over the years, but I’ve always managed to avoid the mother of all pretentious-tree-huggi more >>
Ford Edge Sport AWD Road Test: 2010
10.02.2010
Text & Images: Iain Shankland   I last drove the Edge back in April of 2007 and I quite liked it. I wasn’t really setting out to request another road test with it, but Ford suggested I give the Edge Sport a try. It had that one thing going for it … the designation &l more >>
Road Test: 2010 Ford F-150 4x4 SuperCrew Lariat
04.02.2010
Text & Images: Iain Shankland  It’s been a year or two since I’ve taken a full-size pickup truck for a road test. With the Ford F-150 being all-new in 2009 and having major improvements over the 2008, I thought it would be a good time to test one. S more >>
2010 Mitsubishi Evolution X (MR)
21.01.2010
Road Tes by Iain Shankland / Images: Mitsubishi / Iain Shankland Sweaty palms, shortness of breath and a racing heartbeat. I didn’t know it yet but I had fallen in love.  That was the first few seconds of my experience behind the wheel of the 20 more >>
Mitsubishi Lancer GTS Road Test
13.01.2010
Road Test: 2010 by Iain Shankland / Images: Mitsubishi & Iain Shankland While the base Lancer without the lower body kit and rear wing is no dog, the GTS adds enough looks and pizzazz to make it a far more attractive car. But it’s not just different in the looks department - for 2009 the GTS got a bigger engine and therefore becomes a completely differen more >>
Ford Flex SEL AWD
06.01.2010
Road Test 2010 Text & Images: Iain Shankland The first time I actually got to see the Flex in person was at the 2008 Canadian International Auto Show. Superstar designer Chip Foose was introducing his version of the Flex along with the Foose F-150 more >>
Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara
29.12.2009
Road Test: 2009 Text & Images: Iain ShanklandThe last time I drove a Jeep Wrangler was many years ago – back when they were called either a TJ or a YJ. They were bouncy and a little primitive to say the least. Other adjectives you could use to describe the more >>
2009 Mitsubishi iCar
22.12.2009
Road Test by Iain Shankland / Images: Mitsubishi / Gail & Iain Shankland I first saw the iCar at the Toronto Auto Show in February 2009. At the time the president of Mitsubishi Canada was telling the auto journalist crowd that he was rooting f more >>
FORD Makes Parallel Parking A Breeze & Shows Us Some Very Useful Safety Features
17.12.2009
Road Test Special: Text: Iain Shankland / Images: Iain Shankland & Ford While Ford was encouraging us to put the Fiesta through its paces, they took the opportunity to showcase a couple of their new safety items.  Last week we covered the ingenio more >>
FORD Shows Us Some Very Useful Safety Features – MyKey And Other Safety Innovations
09.12.2009
Road Test Special by Iain Shankland / Images: Ford While Ford were encouraging us to put the Fiesta through its paces, they also took the opportunity to demonstrate a couple of their “exciting” new features that when I first heard abou more >>
2009 Dodge Nitro R/T
02.12.2009
Road Test Text & Images: Iain Shankland This review is almost a part 2, and more of an up-date - as opposed to a full-blown Road Test. Last week I covered the mid-range Nitro SLT and I loved it. This review is based on the top level R/T which has a bigg more >>
2009 Dodge Nitro SLT
26.11.2009
Road Test Text Iain Shankland / Images: Iain & Gail Shankland When I saw the Dodge Nitro at the Toronto International Auto Show a couple of years ago, and I thought it was a great-looking truck in a manly sort of way. I knew right away it would be the kind of more >>
We Drive The European Ford Fiesta A Year Before Arriving In North America
19.11.2009
Road Test Special by Iain Shankland / Images: Iain & Gail Shankland and Ford Ford is the only one of the “Big Three” that didn’t declare bankruptcy and they didn’t go crawling to the U.S. and Cana more >>
2009 Toyota Tacoma Access Cab
12.11.2009
Road Test:  Text / Images: Iain Shankland Toyota trucks have been known worldwide for years as being indestructible. If you’ve ever seen the BBC TV show Top Gear, then you’ll know how much abuse the Toyota can take and still live to drive home. They& more >>
Road Test Special Report: Is It Worth Buying A Hybrid To Save Money On Fuel?
05.11.2009
We Take the 2009 Toyota Camry Hybrid On A Summer Holiday To Get The AnswerText & Images: Iain Shankland A couple of years ago I drove a Toyota Camry hybrid on an extended run of a whirl-wind trip from Niagara Falls to the Road America Racetrack  in more >>
Volvo C30 VER 2.0 / T5 Automatic
29.10.2009
Road Test:Text & Images: Iain ShanklandHaving driven the C30 T5 a couple of years ago and loved it, I couldn’t pass up the unique opportunity to drive another while on a business trip/vacation in California. The manual transmission in the C30 T5 is one of the sweetest and slickest gearboxes available; however, since probably 90% of these car more >>
2009 Dodge Charger SRT8
22.10.2009
Road Test Text & Images: Iain Shankland A couple of years  ago I had the opportunity to drive the Daytona Charger. It was bright Orange and turned out to be a head-turner for people of all ages – men and women, kids and dogs. When Chrys more >>
Road Test & Beyond: Dream Garage
17.10.2009
Transform a Dingy Garage into Dual-Purpose Space - For a Car and a Portrait StudioRecently my wife and I faced the daunting task of finding a more appropriate space to call home for our portrait photography business.  Needing to keep overhead to a minim more >>
2009 MINI Cooper S Clubman
16.10.2009
Road Test: 2009 MINI Cooper S ClubmanText & Images: Iain ShanklandHaving grown up in the UK, the Mini has always been an integral part of the roadscape to me. From the familiar and traditional 2-door version to a station wagon (Clubm more >>
2001-2021 copyright automobilsport.com