When Kia unveiled the Soul Concept at the 2006 auto show in Detroit, it got polite but generally blasé reviews from the motoring press. Gas was still cheap and it looked like just another compact-crossover utility looking for a market.

Boy, have times changed. The production 2010 Kia Soul is now charging into a reality where timing looks perfect for a hip, versatile, urban cruiser with good economy, and even better prices.

If anything, the Soul’s urban lines look better now than as a concept. The stance is more aggressive, and the roofline is tidier, with a new rakish crease along the flanks.  Soul form follows function too. The 5-passenger is roomier than Scion’s xB, despite the xB having two extra inches of wheelbase.

Fold the 60/40 rear bench, and pop the hatch open, and it becomes a compact van.

Interior styling is Kia’s best yet. The bold use of colors keys off a unique dash design with a boogie-board like center stack that is both ergonomically correct and cool to look at. Oh, and except from some hard plastics, fit and finish are very good.

Power windows and locks, MP3 input, and air conditioning are standard, with a wide array of factory and dealer options available, including light pulsating speakers.

The heart of the Soul is either a 1.6- or 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. Front drive only, the 1.6 couples to a 5-speed manual gearbox, while an automatic transmission is optional with the 2.0. Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the 2.0 automatic are 24 city and 30 highway.

We found the Soul to be the perfect vehicle to checkout Miami’s always leading edge South Beach. The Soul moved through the tight confines with ease, while feeling more substantial than it’s size would indicate. That solidity paid off as speeds rose in not being blown around when passed by a big rig.

So, with a dash of youthful hipness and a combo-platter of add-ons, this Kia does indeed have a secret ingredient:  SOUL!

And, it can spice up your lifestyle now. Prices start at under $14,000, and top out under $19,000 for Sport trim. All with Kia’s 10-year, 100,000-mile power train warranty.


"With the XC60, Volvo puts its unique spin on small luxury crossovers. While its eye catching styling may be unexpected, the brand's renowned comfort, safety, and attention to detail all remain intact." – Shamit Choksey


  • 1.6 or 2.0 liter four-cylinder :
  • MPG: 24 city30 highway:
  • Starting at under $14,000: