2016 Kia Soul Comfort & Quality

9.0
Comfort & Quality

Who knew you could package this much space and utility—enough for four adults, or five in a pinch—into such a small footprint? The 2016 Kia Soul is a surprising grand slam in packaging, allowing so much space efficiency, all within a stylish exterior.

In front, shorter drivers are going to be set up well, as the low-set instrument panel gives the sense of a lofty driving position. Taller drivers probably won't be able to lower the seat as much as they'd like, or get enough thigh support—and the available panoramic sunroof should be avoided by the tall—but the seats themselves are firmer and more supportive than in the past, which should help longer-range comfort.

The 2016 Soul manages an astounding level of space and versatiliry, all in the parking footprint of a subcompact car.

Moving to the back seat, there's plenty of head room and leg room for all but the tallest adults—even our 6-foot-6-inch tester would be comfortable enough for several hours back there. Yes, the cabin is subcompact-car-narrow, and you'll be challenged to fit three across comfortably, but the Soul’s sides don’t appreciably narrow up to the roof.

Luckily, in Plus and Exclaim versions, there’s a fold-down center armrest that could serve as a useful dividing line for at-odds siblings. And across the lineup, getting in and out is easy, whether you’re talking about the front seats or the back ones.

There's one thing that serves as a reminder of the Soul's economy-car origins, and that's engine noise. While the current models are so much better-isolated from road and wind noise than before, they seem to have missed the firewall; you'll hear the engine's coarse note throughout the cabin when accelerating, climbing highway grades, and maybe even in between.

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