The 2016 Kia Soul remains offered in three different trim levels: base Soul, Soul Plus (+), and Soul Exclaim (!). (Kia uses these punctuation marks to denote the names of the higher trims, but we find it easier to write them out in plain English.) While the Soul has inched up in price to around the $16,500 mark for 2016, for one with the 1.6-liter engine and 6-speed manual gearbox, even the base model now includes alloy wheels.
Buyers opting for the Soul Exclaim can now choose an Umber Color Package, which adds umber (it's like a peanut-butter brown) leather seats and door trim as well as gloss black wheel-pocket detailing; the Umber pack for 2016 also includes HID headlamps. Finally, there's a new $500 Designer Collection Package that brings two-tone exterior paint, 18-inch black-spoke alloy wheels, and leather-trimmed shift knob and steering wheel.
It's still possible to drive the price of the Soul into the upper 20s, but you'll have to work at it. Even then the value isn't bad, as you can add a number of items that are almost unheard-of in this segment—things like heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, and heated and ventilated front chairs. You'll also find infotainment systems that give those in some premium brands a serious challenge on features and usefulness.
At the base level, the Soul includes power locks, windows, and mirrors; heated side mirrors; a tilt/telescopic steering wheel; Bluetooth hands-free connectivity; and a six-speaker sound system with USB and auxiliary inputs as well as SiriusXM satellite radio.
Next up is the Soul Plus, and it adds 17-inch alloys, turn-signal indicators integrated into the side mirrors, automatic headlamps, and a number of minor cosmetic upgrades, plus a rear-seat center armrest, and a floor-console storage box with integrated armrest in front.
You can option the Plus with a UVO eServices infotainment setup, and there's another package that adds an 8.0-inch center touchscreen for the UVO-connected sound system and a bundled rearview camera system.
We like the latest UVO system, which is based on an Android Linux operating system instead of the Microsoft backend of previous versions. It's refreshingly quick, with intuitive menus as well for the most part.
At the top of the lineup, with the Soul Exclaim, you get 18-inch alloys, fog lamps, projector headlamps, and LED running lamps. Glossy piano black trim, a cooled glove box, a 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob are part of the interior upgrades. The UVO eServices suite and the rearview camera are standard here, but you still have to pay extra for navigation on the 8.0-inch screen.
Other options on both the Plus and Exclaim models include upgraded a panoramic sunroof, Infinity audio, and speaker-mounted LED mood lighting that can be set to pulse with your music. The premium infotainment system can now also be optioned on the base model.
There's a Whole Shebang Package that doesn't waste itemizing; here you get the leather seats, ventilated front seats, heated front and rear seats, heated steering wheel, keyless ignition, HID low-beam headlamps, and Supervision gauge cluster with integral high-definition color display. But it's quite the upgrade, as you first need the Sun and Sound Package, including navigation, Infinity audio, speaker lights, auto climate control, and the panoramic roof. In all, it's a $5,000 upgrade.