The KIA Soul was first revealed at the Paris Motor Show in 2008. It began production the same year for the Asian market but it wasn’t until the 2010 model year that the global community got a taste of the KIA Soul. Conceptualized in KIA’s California design center, the Soul is a five-door hatchback compact MPV designed by Mike Torpey to bring KIA Automobile Designs to a new level. The sloping roof line and the “trunk” on the Soul was a result of Torpey taking inspiration from a powerful boar with big and wide shoulders in front and a back that slopes to its hind legs. The boar is wearing a backpack as well for purposes of utility. Peter Schreyer, the new Corporate Design Chief for KIA, is responsible, on the other hand, for the finishing touches on the concept car that was unveiled at the Paris Motor Show.
Because it is tall and cut to a square, the KIA Soul offers more interior space while taking on an appearance like that of an SUV though it follows the same footprint as many oversized superminis today. There’s also a fashion and personalization factor built into the Soul because it comes in a range of colours and accessories that will allow anyone to come up with a vehicle that is strictly theirs. But more than just looking pretty, the Soul touts of being current since special-edition models are launched every year.
As for design, there is still debate whether or not the Soul was able to pull off a good one. However, it does offer visible toughness thanks to the high body sides, the way side windows are sectioned with blacked-in screen pillars, and its thick roof with corrugated reinforcements. There are also hints of SUV tendencies because of the Soul’s rear lights and fake skid plates at the front and back valances.
Inside, the KIA Soul is able to provide a fully dramatic cabin experience only if you are getting one of the special editions for the car. But whatever kind of Soul you have, you can expect high-quality textures and top-notch plastics that are made well and fitted well. Smaller compartments and displays also follow the same theme as the rest of the interiors for continuity.
In terms of space, there’s a lot inside the Soul. For starters, there’s plenty of headroom because of its high roof and there’s more than enough legroom at the back to keep passengers comfortable. Get a top-spec model and you’ll enjoy a removable false floor that can match how high folded seats can go.
The Soul has also improved in the engine department, now offering keener response for throttle and intense thrusts from coming from low-rev mode although torque is high. With smoother engine performance, going through fast bends on a hilly terrain should also be more pleasurable. And if it can do that on hilly terrain, then the Soul is more than capable of taking on flatter surfaces. Official figures show the Soul can go from 0 to 62mph within 11 seconds. Reviews have to disagree though—it can achieve than in a significantly better 9.7 seconds.
Technically speaking, none. Most faults found tend to be biases for certain personal preferences.
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