2011 Kia Soul

The 2011 Kia Soul is only the second generation with the model debuting in 2010. During that time frame, Kia did little to change the Soul’s appearance. Of course, some features have been modified, making it more desirable than contemporaries like the Nissan Cube (MSRP $14,740; 25 city / 30 hwy).

Specifications

General Info
Vehicle Type: Hatchback Base Price: $13,900.00
Fuel Tank Capacity: 12.7 gallons (48 liters) MPG: 27 city / 35 hwy
Dimensions
Length: 162.2 in. (412 cm) Width: 70.3 in. (178.5 cm)
Height: 63.4 in. (161 cm) Wheel Base: 100.4 in. (255 cm)
Curb Weight: 2615 lbs (1186 kg) Ground Clearance: 6.5 in. (16.5 cm)
Luggage Capacity: 19.3 cu ft Maximum Seating: 5 people
Performance
Engine: 1.6L 16-Valve DOHC Inline-4 Displacement: 1591 cc
Horsepower: 138 HP Max RPM: 6300 RPM
Torque: 123 lb-ft @ 4850 rpm Transmission: 6-Speed Manual,O/D
0-60 mph: 8.6 seconds 1/4 Mile: 16.6 seconds
Available Trims & Engine
Option:Soul + 2.0L MSRP: $15,495; MPG: 26 city / 34 hwy
Option:Soul ! 2.0L MSRP: $18,495; MPG: 26 city / 34 hwy
Option:Soul Sport MSRP: $18,495; MPG: 24 city / 30 hwy

Exterior & Interior

Speaking of the Nissan Cube, the Soul actually shares the same innovative shape. From the side, the product has more angles than curves with Kia’s grille and headlamps to finish off the design. The curve of the back adds that necessary “oomph” to the abundance of angles in this generation.

The interior of the Soul may be disappointing for those who are expecting something innovative based on the exterior. The design actually combines an array of colors, steering it far from the norm. Textures are pretty good and the level of comfort inside makes up for the not-so imaginative interior.

Performance

Those considering the Soul, you have two engine choices and can opt for automatic or manual transmissions. Most people claim that the model has less than stellar-manual transmission, making it very sloppy to handle. As for the engine, most models come with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder displacement totaling to about 142 horsepower. The other choice boasts of around 122 horsepower with a 1.6-liter four cylinder. The Soul base and mid-line comes with either 16 or 15 inch wheels respectively.

Compared to its contemporaries, the Soul really doesn’t perform well in the speed stakes. The low horsepower makes it ideal for city driving but not much else. Those who are thinking about bringing their Soul’s to the highway can do so, but be prepared for some thrumming down under. Suffice to say, Kia’s Soul is best used in the city.

Handling is something owners can get used to over time despite some potential transmission problems. The car is also fuel efficient although compared to its performance, not really an economic breakthrough.

Safety & Reliability

Considering how small it is, it’s actually surprising how well equipped the Soul is against any accidents. For one thing, it has been awarded four starts by Federal tests not to mention praised by the insurance industry. The vehicle comes with airbags on the front and side, anti-lock disc brakes, head restraints and electronic stability control. The design of the Soul itself facilitates safety as most drivers find themselves getting a clearer view of the road ahead.

Pros & Cons

One of the best things about the Kia Soul is the fact that it comes with excellent seating arrangements. The level of comfort one gets from the car makes it ideal for long trips. Aside from the standard accessories, owners will also have fun with all the extras included in the design. Unfortunately, a navigation system has been left out of the design, peculiar since this addition is practically a standard.

The interior itself is well planned and looks good to the eye. The fact that it also comes in multiple color options only makes the Soul ideal for people who want to get more than just a car.

Of course, the 2011 Kia Soul isn’t perfect. For one thing, its available cargo space leaves a lot to be desired with contemporaries easily topping it. The acceleration is also pretty weak and the manual transmission is adequate at best.

For those who don’t know it yet, the 2011 Kia Soul is actually one of the most affordable small cars out today. The less than classic design and low price makes it ideal for the younger set of car buyers.

Overall Rating
75 out of 100

What others say:

“The 2011 Kia Soul is fashion-forward and fun-to-drive—and unlike most of its urban-wagon rivals, it's just as practical as it looks.”Car Connection

“This subcompact is reasonably nimble, with some noticeable body lean in turns.”Consumer Guide

“It has very easy access, abundant headroom, and a surprisingly spacious rear seat.”MSN Auto-ConsumerReports

“Loads of available features; highly customizable; user-friendly controls; ample passenger space; surprisingly fun to drive; low price; long warranty.”Edmunds

“For 2011, Kia will offer two Special Edition Soul models featuring automatic climate control and unique paint and trim.”KBB