The Kia Soul is a testament to the fact that a vehicle doesn't have to have a giant footprint to be a useful cargo hauler. Sure, the Soul won't swallow as much junk as a Chevy Suburban, but I managed to fit in two upholstered easy chairs and a bunch of other assorted objects that I purchased during a spur-of-the-moment trip to Ikea. When the warehouse workers first wheeled the chairs out of the storeroom and I saw how large the boxes were, I had doubts that they'd fit in the Soul. However, with the back seats folded down, the bulky boxes fit -- with room to spare.
I find the Soul's design particularly charming, with its rising beltline tempering the box-on-wheels theme that is becoming increasingly popular among Asian carmakers. The interior is also nicely put together - not lavish, but definitely not downmarket considering the Soul's sub-$20,000 price tag. I was pleasantly surprised by the four-cylinder engine paired with a four-speed automatic transmission - it certainly doesn't make the Soul a racehorse, but at only 2820 pounds, the Soul doesn't need a lot of power to help it move right along. I was able to quickly bring the Soul up to highway speeds while merging onto I-94, and it happily cruised with traffic at 80 mph.
Amy Skogstrom, Managing Editor