Inside, the Soul isn't nearly as groundbreaking. It's a refined blend of round shapes and embossed plastics—a slightly hipper version of the small-car standard, but not stooping to novelty like a VW Beetle—and a variety of colors and textures if you like, from red plastic covering the dash to houndstooth-check material swathing the seats.
While a number of boxy, small vehicles show restraint in their designs, the Kia Soul brings, at least from the outside, some of the quirkiness of a concept car to the driveway. The 2011 Soul is a fun take on the now-popular "urban wagon" theme; it 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.