The 2010 Kia Soul brings a new attitude to the Korean automaker's lineup. A far cry from the likes of the stuffy Amanti sedan, the Soul is a five-door urban wagon that neatly outsmarts the likes of the Scion xB and the Nissan Cube with a catchy style; a sharp, roomy, and well-fitted cabin; and a comprehensive list of safety and fun features.
The 2010 Soul wins on styling, hands-down. The reverse boomerang of the rear end reminds some of the In-N-Out burger logo; to others, it's simply a crisp, rakish shape with a little bit of busy detailing up front. The front wears the new Kia corporate grille and friendly-feeling headlamps; the rear is less tidy, but the square, tall taillamps frame a light and lofty hatchback that's nearly vertical—a nice punctuation to the Soul's casual leaning stance. Inside, it's a refined blend of round shapes and embossed plastics—and a variety of colors and textures if you like, from red plastic covering the dash to houndstooth-check material swathing the seats.
Two engines and two transmissions give Soulsters agreeable choices for city driving, if not much beyond that. The base Soul comes with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder making 122 horsepower and 115 pound-feet of torque. With the sole transmission, a five-speed manual, it's rated at 26/31 mpg. TheCarConnection.com did not have the opportunity to drive this model; Kia estimates only 5 percent of shoppers will order it, anyway.