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STYLING | 8 out of 10
brassy, look-at-me exterior
Car and Driver
We have no problem claiming this is the best-designed Kia because, for the first time, it looks like someone has actually taken the time to design one.
Though it may remind you of a giant roller skate, the Soul's odd stance grows on you
Most people will probably find the Soul either irrepressibly cool or simply fail to "get" its style altogether – there's no middle ground to be had.
cute and instantly likeable
In a class of quirky, boxlike cars, the Kia Soul stands out--mostly, because the quirks work in its favor, and give it a funky flair that's pretty absent in the Scion xB, Nissan Cube, and the like.
The urban-wagon concept wins on styling, hands-down. The bullnosed front end wears Kia's new corporate theme between big, alert headlamps (LED-lit on the top model). The angular roofline starts high, and boomerangs down the rear end in a way that reminds us equally of European hatchbacks and the In-N-Out logo. It's a rakish, crisp shape that doesn't depend on a lot of dazzling details to sell it, though it does have a lot of detail across the front. Over time, the rear end's started to look a lot thicker, especially in lighter colors like "alien green", but the square taillamps frame a nearly vertically aligned hatchback that draws the shape to a tight close. It's sharp piece of design punctuation to the Soul's more casual stance.The interior isn't quite as groundbreaking, but it's well organized and clutter-free. The blend of round shapes and embossed plastics seems more refined than the pricetag, a lesson right out of Target's hipster-cachet appeal, without reading like a novelty act, like the old VW New Beetle. Kia even lets owners customize the cabin with color and texture, from red plastic dash trim to houndstooth-check upholstery for the seats.
Anonymity is gone forever once you buckle into the kicky, bullnosed 2012 Kia Soul.