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2012 Kia Soul Styling

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On Styling

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.

Anonymity is gone forever once you buckle into the kicky, bullnosed 2012 Kia Soul.
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.

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