Review: 2012 Kia Soul+ (6-Speed Manual)

Posted on 24. Oct, 2011 by in Auto News

"You know," editor Ed told me, "that would be about, like, a Take Four to the soul, we are not going to do that." I had a 2011-vintage Kia Soul rented for a LeMons race in Houston and was pretty impressed. Although the drivetrain (the traditional two-liter Hyundai / Kia four-banger and a lackluster four-speed automatic) had not stellar, the rest of the car was just awful useful and pleasant addition. Nevertheless, Ed would not let me check the cause. Oh well. If you know what we thought about the soul, want to talk together, (zing), you can read Ed 2010 Sport review and Frank Williams' Take Two.

To ensure that I have a chance to talk about this very interesting little car, but Kia went through the trouble of thoroughly revise the soul just a few months after my first ride … and they were nice enough to simply a Six-speed manual version is available at the press launch. I grabbed the manual-transmission Soul with wildness and am willing to give all the details to you. For those of you too timid to make the leap to, here is the sum-up: Great car, shot in the foot when it was launched from a rather unfortunate decision on Kia part …

Although the soul is not in production for a long time, dictated the "reverse halo" position at Kia, along with his most recent (and unexpected) domination of American small car sales charts that some of the weak points up sooner rather than later are supported. However welcome a new nose, tail and revised dashboard. LED daytime running lights and taillights an appearance on the top-line "" model, is the new Microsoft UVO infotainment system is an option, and the lineup has been streamlined to eliminate the top-shelf "sport" with its individual suspension settings.

More importantly, the old 1.6 and 2.0 by direct injection of the latest generation efforts have been replaced. The 1.6 is the same engine as in the Veloster, Accent and Rio found that 2.0 is a 164-hp Elantra transplantation. Fuel consumption has been substantially raised the two-liter automatic is now at 26/34 city / highway rated. The choice of the "eco" package with start / stop technology bumps that. On 27/35 The base Soul comes with a 1.6 and a manual transmission to $ 13,900 or $ 15,700, and aim for the automatic. The "+" trim adds the two-liter, partly shiny stuff inside and out, and retails at $ 16,900 for the manual transmission. This is the car I drove. The top-end "!" Trim is an automatic only for $ 19,600. Leather is also an option. It is possible to spend more than 20 grand on a soul, if you're so inclined.

At seventeen great or anything, but the six-speed "+" makes a solid case for himself. The interior is high quality, the metal trim convinced, and the "soul"-logoed cloth seats look durable. Despite the soul Barn Door aerodynamic profile, it is remarkably quiet inside and rides very well. There is no fatigue or annoy you, Frank Williams' suggestion that the soul was meant for middle-aged men do not get no opposition from me. Both rows of seats still roomy and comfortable. The doors shut with precision. If your last experience of a cheap Korean car was a 2001 Elantra or something like that, you'll be amazed.

Unlike his cousin Rio, the soul has a perfectly adequate sound system and Bluetooth integration is very easy to use. I made some calls and had no trouble understanding or being understood. Although the temperatures at the press event in Austin TX the 98-104 degree range were (F, not C!) The soul had no trouble cooling the cabin. It has to help, just not that it that. Much glass in the car

Dynamically, the soul is a real pleasure. A few of my colleagues journos complained that the aluminum top was shifter "long throw". Maybe compared to a Grand-Am BMW. Regardless, it is fast to use and secure. Clutch effort is nil, the first few times I engaged the pedal I was afraid something was wrong with the car. Once underway, the two-liter direct injection pulls with authority. The ratios are wide, and the sixth gear is large enough to effectively prevent speeding up even a slight hill, but let's keep things in perspective here: The inexpensive Korean box is still about as fast as Tom Selleck Ferrari 308GTSi. It will not encourage any highg Antics, but surely that's not the point of this boxy small cars. The engine note is more educated than thrash, and it does not work sound terribly direct. At idle, the soul is not subjectively much louder than a Lexus ES.

For the first time in my life, I feel sorry for the American Toyota dealers. Scion had the market pretty much sewn with the original xB, but the successor to this car is simply not compelling enough, or bring to the buyer focused. Instead, they are. Souls flocking with a rate of about ten thousand new owner per month (Last month, sales fell by about 7,000 units; Kia PR people assured me that this was due to reduced 2011-model inventory.) The soul has true multi-generational appeal. Fifty-year-olds appreciate the high ride seats and quiet highway. Twenty-five-year-olds, such as the functions, appearance, and the hamster marketing. Everyone likes the price.

What's not like? Well, there is not much real cargo space. Four friends are rolling in a soul, but only allows two amigos travel a. Parking is a bit harder than you think, the rear corners are not easy to detect. I would also some concerns about the durability and needs of these initial efforts, direct-injection engine from the Hyundai / Kia group.

We have space in this article to the left, an Eldridge Cleaver to make jokes? Yes we do. This new Kia is so hot … that the dealers will be forced to keep their souls on ice. (Oooooooh.) Unfortunately for traders, but there is a tiny problem with the manual gearbox models. Many of the people who ordered 2012 souls, or took early delivery from dealer stock, were under the impression that they are. Getting a car with cruise control This was because, Kia marketing materials seemed to indicate that the manual transmission Souls, like their colleagues had automatic transmission cruise control as standard. According to Kia owners forums, many souls have been delivered to the dealer and from there to their new owners, listed with cruise control on the Monroney sticker. The official line from Kia is that it was a "last minute" change. This owner thread details a lot of frustration and anger on the part of early adopters – and Kia does not do much to make things right.

It is difficult to imagine Toyota or Honda makes a mistake of this magnitude, but they had a few decades more experience in controlling the specifications of imported vehicles, the communication with dealers and solve problems with the end users. This is not good news. As a former car salesman, I can confirm that it is not a promising sign when buyers feel that check every feature on the window sticker. Although it affects a small percentage of Soul owners, it is a problem that Kia needs to address pronto.

It is also ridiculous that Kia does not feel that it can or should include cruise control on a manual transmission vehicle. The buyers want it, was the technology for a very long time is available, and the actual cost of such a function in a modern direct-injection engine is almost zero. If you can live without cruise control, manual transmission Soul is a fun, useful vehicle. For those who can not, perhaps, the Scion xB is not such a ridiculous choice, after all.