Shopping for a new Kia Soul?
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PERFORMANCE | 7 out of 10
Soul exhibited reasonable pep
Wish the clutch felt a bit less spongy
Some may not like the amount of bumps and road irregularities transmitted into the cabin
The 2010 Kia Soul is, first and foremost, a practical and stylish economy car. As such, performance doesn't rank high up on the priority list, but reviews read by TheCarConnection.com still manage to uncover some redeeming performance qualities on this boxlike Kia 2010 model.
According to reviewers at Automobile Magazine, the base Soul Kia "gets a 122-hp, 1.6-liter in-line four and a five-speed manual; the rest of the range gets a 142-hp, 2.0-liter four with the stick shift or a four-speed automatic." If you're dying to get your hands on the 1.6-liter version of the 2010 Kia Soul, prepare for a lengthy search, as Kia expects only 5 percent of Kia 2010 Soul models to be so equipped. Reviews of the 1.6-liter are unavailable, since Kia didn't make any accessible to the press, but the Soul Kia's 2.0-liter "provides plenty of power for a vehicle this size," according to Motor Trend. For those of you who want some acceleration numbers to put the power in perspective, Jalopnik says that, "with the five-speed, 2.0-liter fourbanger and a little luck or skill you can achieve a 0-to-60 mph time in the low eight-second range." While the Kia Soul's engine numbers are perfectly adequate for typical city driving, reviewers don't recommend you push the engine too hard, since Car and Driver warns you'll find significant "engine thrash," and Automobile Magazine reports that "all you really get is noise" if you try and "rev it to the moon."
While reviewers were only available to test the larger engine on the 2010 Kia Soul, Kia did make both transmissions available for the press, though neither left a very positive impression. Automobile Magazine reports that "the five-speed manual gearbox has [a] vague feel," while Car and Driver laments the "recalcitrant shifter" available on the Soul Kia. Although Motor Trend reviewers "expect the automatic transmission to be perfectly acceptable," reviewers at Autoblog simply "can't recommend it, as its lack of a manumatic override and reluctance to let the engine rev puts the kibosh on fun." However, given the engine's poor high-rev performance, you might not be missing much.
With its rather light curb weight and smallish engines, the 2010 Kia Soul is able to return class-competitive gas mileage. According to the official EPA estimates, Kia 2010 Soul drivers can expect to see 24 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway—not world-class figures, but certainly not anything that would upset the Sierra Club.
Professional reviews of the 2010 Kia Soul's road manners are quite mixed, with the exception of ride quality, which is universally panned. Motor Trend says that the firm suspension leads to better handling, but "some may not like the amount of bumps and road irregularities transmitted into the cabin." Automobile Magazine lodges similar comments, noting "the Soul's cost-saving conception inflicts it with road manners that aren't too far removed from those of the fairly uncouth Rio," which means that the Kia Soul's "ride can verge on cruel over imperfect pavement." When it comes to navigating city streets and mountain switchbacks, Jalopnik finds that the Kia Soul boasts "quicker-than-expected steering and less-than-expected lean." However, Edmunds points out that the Kia Soul suffers from a "darty freeway ride," while Motor Trend adds they "did notice that, in turns, the Soul exhibited a bit more body roll than expected." On the positive side, Edmunds praises the "solid braking numbers," observing that the 2010 Kia Soul stopped "from 60 mph in 128 feet."
The 2010 Kia Soul's engine can provide a bit of fun, but the ride on Sport models is unduly harsh.