The 2013 Kia Soul doesn't take up any more space than a subcompact car, yet its tall roof and boxy shape promise a lot more usefulness. Inside you'll find a roomy, versatile, almost minivan-like layout; there's enough room for up to five, or plenty of cargo if you fold the rear seats forward.
With very compact dimensions (161.6 inches long, 70.3 inches wide, 63.4 inches high, and on a 100.4-inch wheelbase), the Soul is smartly packaged and manages to offer excellent interior space, especially head room. In front, you get short but quite comfortable bucket seats and about a half a foot of headroom above, for even taller adults—with comfort perhaps limited somewhat by the wide center console. In back you sit higher up in the bench seat—closer to the ceiling—and it's only really wide enough for two adults and a child—but the tall roof and doors do make entry and exit easier than lower cars. The feel inside is spacious and airy, and even the Scion xB can't match the Soul's space efficiency.
Cargo space and versatility are impressive, too. The Soul's rear seats flip forward to boost cargo area to more than 53 cubic feet; you can also stash precious cargo under a lift-up panel on the cargo floor, and an available cargo organizer helps in carrying smaller items.
Inside, the Soul also has a double-decker glove box than can stow a 15-inch laptop. 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.
Fit and finish aren't in any way premium, but for the Soul's base price of around $15,000, it's quite impressive. Trims and panels are well-coordinated, and it all fits tightly.
Road noise can be an issue in the Soul; for that reason you should think twice about the big 18-inch wheel and tire package.