2010 Kia Soul ! A/T

Sorry, folks -- I think I'm more of a Cubist than a Soul Man. That's nothing to do with the styling -- admittedly, I like the Soul's roller-skate shape more than I do the Cube's form -- but dynamically, this car does nothing for me. As others have noted, the body control is surprisingly good, but the suspension is subsequently rather stiff (perhaps exacerbated by the 18-inch wheels). This isn't a huge issue on smooth pavement, but in pothole-ridden Ann Arbor, it made me pine for the relaxed, smooth(er) nature of the Cube.

Still, I do like how Kia is working to inject design into its value-priced lineup. I'm not the biggest fan of houndstooth cloth, but draping the tops of the seatbacks in the fabric in something other than a '69 Camaro is rather brave. If that's not your taste, Kia has other ways you can add a splash of color to an interior that would otherwise be rather bland.

Evan McCausland, Web Producer

Rented one from Hertz in Florida this summer. Surprised about how well it's built, no longer the sardine-can feel of cheap cars, interior is nice and even the hard plastic does not look cheap as in other cars. Engine noise above 65 is a weakness. Surprised of its handling being an econobox, in expressway exits felt like in rails...well at least at econobox speeds.Would be nice to see a smoother 200 HP DI engine with a sweet 6 speed, without going much over the current price. Would make a great second car or a car for young families. Still concerned about long-term reliability, though.When I was young no body cared when the Japanese came, I'm concerned that now the Koreans are showing up in our shores and Ford and Chevy are still selling the old Focus and the Cobalt.Missed to say this car won 5 star rating in the latest more difficult Insurance Institute tests, when other well know and more expensive cars were not able to reach the top rating.

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