It’s a funny thing about the endearingly oddball Kia Soul: Until you drive one, you don’t realize how popular they truly are. But then you begin spotting them everywhere, happily darting around like squirrels at the park. Chances are that it’s a result of the Soul’s position as market leader in the subcompact segment, far outpacing the second-place entry Nissan Versa in sales volume. It’s also Kia’s top-selling model. And for its 2018 Turbo model, they chose not to mess with a good thing. They just made it better. So read on to see why you should consider it for your next practical purchase. And if you’re jonesin’ for something with serious power, don’t miss the 10 New Rides Car Buffs Are Drooling Over.
It’s Packed with Features Found in Premium Cars, All for Under $30,000
Coming in at $27,620, the Soul Turbo is a bit pricier than the standard model, but it boasts an impressive amount of standard goodies starting with 18-inch rims, Android Auto/Apple Car Play, panoramic sunroof, blind-spot detection, lane departure warning system, forward collision warning, backup camera, HID headlights/LED taillights, navigation, satellite radio, Bluetooth, keyless entry, a rockin’ Harman/Kardon audio system, and more. Yes, it’s all wrapped in a smartly-styled body and a top-notch interior. The Soul isn’t the only car with a lot of tech behind it: Meet the First All-Electric “Sport Utility Truck” (and Other Big News).
It Surrounds You in Style and Flair
Get inside and the geeky exterior pretense gives way to cool, European-style packaging built for spirited driving. You’ll love how easy it syncs up with your mobile Android or Apple phone. All your music is instantly available, and incoming texts are displayed on the big, bright, 8-inch screen. Voice-activation works seamlessly, responding readily to your text reply without distracting your eyes from the road or taking your hands off the wheel. And for car buffs who really want to fly, these 6 Flying Cars Could Really Take Off.
It’s Racked Up the Highest Honors for Quality, Value, and Safety
The Soul has received more than its share of industry, consumer, and government accolades, including Highest Ranked Compact Multi-Purpose Vehicle In Initial Quality, three years running by J.D. Power’s Initial Quality survey. That, in addition to Kelly Blue Book’s 10 Best, and NHTSA’s Overall 5-Star Crash Safety Rating, among others. The bottom line: It’s a perfect first car for the college-bound student in your household. Or a great second or third family car.
It Loves to Sprint, Dart, and Dash
The new turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder motor pumps out a stout 201 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque. That’s decent thrust for a car weighing only a bit over 3,000 pounds. While not quite in the same league, the Soul Turbo, with its precise seven-speed dual-clutch transmission is a capable understudy to hot-hatch champs Volkswagen Golf GTI and Ford Fiesta ST, with more than adequate performance for all but the most exacting enthusiasts.
It Inspires a Break from Boredom
Look around, and most cars today are tough to distinguish from one another, even to the trained eye. There’s no mistaking the Kia Soul for anything else (a wallflower it is not). With its pugnacious countenance and boxy proportions, the geeky Soul is not for everyone. It’s got personality, And that’s more than OK.
It Puts the Fun in Functional. Everything You Want in One Package
Though the Soul’s form-factor qualifies it as a crossover, it enjoys the scale and advantages of a small hatchback car. Which makes parking and maneuvering super-easy. The Soul is nimble and fun to drive, with plenty of zip to squirt through openings in traffic (just leave it in Sport Mode). At the same time, it offers what we value most in crossovers: the higher, upright seating position, excellent visibility, and generous passenger and cargo space. The perfect brew.
It’s Got the Beats!
One of the singular pleasures of driving is blasting your favorite music. The Harman/Kardon Audio System comes ready to play with a center speaker, subwoofer, and external amplifier for a fully-dimensional sound experience. Its four dynamic speakers are matched to a pair of crisp, clear tweeters cleverly integrated atop the side air vents for a stylish look that completes the well-appointed interior. And for a touch that leaves no doubt the Soul was designed with hip-hop hamsters in mind, the door-mounted speakers are ringed with an adjustable color light that pulsates to the beats. It’s like having your personal, rolling disco!
Pack It Up! Get Your Gear and Go
Besides being a hauler, the little Soul can haul lots of your stuff too. With the rear seat upright you’ve got 24.2 cubic feet of cargo space. Fold it down, and there are a whopping 61.3 cubes to fill up. And with the Soul’s low, car-like ground clearance and wide hatch opening, loading and unloading is a breeze.
It Thinks for You
The Soul comes packed with the latest tech and safety features, including Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), which anticipates critical situations or an imminent collision by applying the brakes to help prevent or lessen the impact of a frontal collision. It’s an extra margin of safety in the event the driver is distracted or slow to respond to a potential danger ahead.
It’s Got You Covered
With one of the industry’s leading warranties, Kia’s got your back with 60-month/60,000 mile basic coverage. For added peace of mind, the powertrain (engine and transmission) warranty extends to 10-years or 100,000 miles, pretty decent assuming you drive no more than 12,000 miles a year, which is about average for most folks.
Kia also includes a 5-year/100,000 mile anti-corrosion warranty. All told, the Kia Soul Turbo is a well-thought-out package and a terrific value proposition. With leading-edge safety and infotainment technology, the Soul Turbo is future-proof, at least for the near term. Until, of course, the next generation. If you want to take a look towards the past, 10 Cool Car Museums for Cruising Down Memory Lane is a can’t miss.
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