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2012 Kia Soul Comfort & Quality

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With its tall roof and its boxy shape, the Kia Soul promises a roomy, versatile, almost minivan-like cabin. It delivers, too--the Soul has enough room for five passengers or, when the back seats are folded down, a sizable amount of cargo.

Overall, the 2012 Soul is 161.6 inches long, 70.3 inches wide, 63.4 inches high, and it rides on a 100.4-inch wheelbase. The compact dimensions cloak excellent interior space, especially head room. Front-seat passengers get comfortable bucket seats with a half-foot of head room above, and just a little knee room trimmed out for the wide center console and its knobby, easy-to-use controls. Even the Scion xB can't seem to match the Soul's spacious, airy feel.

Versatile and spacious, thanks to its tall roof, the 2012 Kia Soul excels at urban flexibility.

The space for second-row passengers is just as good, and the same high seating position is applied to the back bench. It's wide enough for two adults and one child, or a couple of car seats, and in front and back, the Soul's tall roof and doors make entry and exit considerably easier than in competitive hatchbacks.

The Soul's rear seats flip forward to boost cargo area to more than 53 cubic feet. The cargo floor also has a lift-up panel that hides a small amount of precious cargo, and Kia also offers an optional cargo organizer that's pretty handy for weekend errands. The Soul also has a double-decker glove box than can stow a 15-inch laptop, to go with armrest storage in the center console, and an iPod-sized bin atop its center stack, not to mention lots of cupholders and molded-in bottle holders.

For its base price of under $15,000, the Soul has fit and finish far above what you'd expect. Even the hard plastics are nicely surfaced, and trim and panels all fit tightly.

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